Amid the coronovirus crisis and in light of recent government restrictions, we found ourselves working from home.
No thanks pants, I am working from home today!
As I’ve worked from home for many years, I thought I’d put together a few tips and share them with you. I appreciate that working from home might seem like a luxury to some right now as not everyone’s situation is the same, but for those that do, I thought this might be of help.
1. Start as you mean to go on! Having a structured day is perhaps the most crucial thing when working from home. Setup the alarm and wake up the same time as you’d normally do when going in the office, have set hours of work and allow yourself to have no more than one coffee break.
2. Perhaps the most valuable lesson that freelancing has taught me is to keep getting dressed and putting on your perfume. Even though everyone’s idea for working at home is wearing pjs and having their laptop in bed, this is dangerous for your mental health and confidence. Dressing up and putting in the effort to be presentable is crucial for your work performance. At the end of your working hours, you can take off your work clothes and go back to your pjs – this draws a line between your work time and free time! Try it and see how it impacts your life.
3. Use FaceTime, Skype for business and any other apps you have available to get in touch with your colleagues and feel less isolated. Emails are good but there’s nothing better to make things clear and give a straight answer than one’s voice.
4. Set a regular lunch break time and step away from your desk. This is your chance to go for a walk to get some air or sit in the garden.
5. Set up a certain corner in your house as your workspace. My flat has a designated office area but in my old flat, we set my desk in the room with the most daylight to help me focus and work with some natural light – it made things so much better! Other areas that you could use are your living room table set by a window and a corner in your bedroom, my friend uses her alcove shelves and it works fine for her.
6. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by the TV. Watching or listening to TV shows while working can make you really unproductive and at the end of the day you will feel miserable and that you haven’t accomplished much, so avoid turning it on at all costs.
7. Be careful with the number of snack breaks you have. There is a real danger for your waistline when you work from home, I know that feeling very well. Another piece of chocolate can make you feel better and take the stress away So be mindful about your decisions
8. Retain a sense of normality by taking this working from home mode as seriously as you take a regular day in the office. This is not the time to do the laundry or bake a cake no matter the temptation.
9. Allow yourself to do mistakes and be patient. Not everything will go according to plan when you switch from your office to your home office. Outlook is not working on my laptop so I found myself answering all of my emails through my phone. Similarly, it took me an hour yesterday to declutter my desk and get it back to a workable state. Be patient and you’ll get there!
10. Make your desk inviting. Buy some flowers, gather all the necessary stationery or things you might need to use from your work office, make yourself a good cup of coffee and roll your sleeves up. This is a challenging but also exciting time! If everything else fails, use the Pomodoro Technique to get things done. I used it during the most difficult periods of my PhD thesis writeup and it totally helped me overcome the writer’s block and lack of enthusiasm I had for particular chapters.
Let me know if there is anything else I have missed! How do you guys stay productive when working from home, any tips?