It’s a strange time for many of us at the moment, due to the Coronavirus threat and the restrictions laid down by the UK Government as a result. Social distancing matters to help prevent the spread of the disease, which means many office workers are wondering how to work from home effectively as the majority of ‘non-essential’ businesses all over the UK temporarily close their sites down and switch to remote working.
This may seem daunting to you, it may not. The first thing you will probably notice when working from home is the lack of background noise in the office. There is also a slightly relaxed structure, and you will no doubt miss your colleagues. Well, as a seasoned freelancer who has been working from home on and off for the last 15 years, I am here to offer some tried and tested advice to help you through! Read on for my tips on How to Work from Home. These can all be followed at any time, not just within the current situation, for example if you suddenly find yourself self employed, or your company want to continue these new ways of working after we all get back to normal.
Top 5 Tips on How to Work from Home
Get up at a regular time and get properly dressed
It may be tempting to lounge around in your pyjamas now you are at home, and get up when you are ready like you do at the weekends. However this can be very counter productive to your working day. Treat the day as you would if you were physically at work. This means getting up at a regular time, washing, and dressing appropriately (especially if you have any video conferences that day!). This will put you in the right psychological state of mind for work, and in turn, make you more productive. You don’t want to be working on at 11 pm catching up with any work you were meant to finish that day!
Dedicate a home working space and create boundaries
If you have a desk, or dedicated office to sit down at each day, this helps your brain switch into work mode and be more productive. Make sure you start and end work at the same time each day also, then this allows your mind to switch off properly when you have finished. If you have an office, tidy papers away and close the door to it at the end of the day. You should also tell the rest of your family members or the people you live with to try to respect the fact that you are working, and ask them not to disturb you whilst you are in that space.
Create a to do list and stick to it
In the absence of your line manager being in the same place as you each day, it may be hard to stay on track and keep motivated. To further give your day a proper structure, create a to do list for that day. When you tick off an item that will help you to feel you have achieved something. Any tasks that were not completed, just roll them over to the next day. As long as you are keeping a list, it will keep you motivated and give you something to work towards.
Stay connected with your manager and colleagues
We are very fortunate these days in that there are so many technological ways to keep in touch, with web video conferencing fast becoming the norm! Make use of these tools to connect with people you work with, enlisting the help of your IT department if necessary to make sure all remote working tools are available on your computer. You may be lucky and have regular online video meetings scheduled with your team, using platforms such as Zoom, or it could just be a case of texting a colleague, checking your emails regularly, or having a daily phone call. Any of these will ensure you don’t become isolated and keep human contact going, something which is essential for good mental health.
Take regular breaks away from your desk
The above tips all help to give you a structure to your working day at home, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a break every now and then! In fact its very important. Get out in the fresh air to do your allowed exercise per day (if you are not self-isolating of course), walk the dog, or even just have your morning coffee in the garden. Taking regular breaks from the screen also helps to protect your eyes, giving them a proper rest. Stretching after sitting in one position for too long, will also help your posture, especially if you don’t have ergonomic chairs at home like (hopefully!) they do in your office.
So there it is. I hope you enjoyed my tips on How to Work from Home. It can be just as fulfilling as working in the office, even making you more productive as there is no commute to do, its quieter and you can put some distance in between irritating colleagues if you need it! Any other suggestions or advice feel free to add to the comments below.
This post is written by Rachel Toy of Spirit Creative, a creative digital freelance based near Tring. If you would like to use effective web design and content marketing to help grow your business, or need more advice on How to Work from Home, call me on 01296 662172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.