Working from home has not only become a necessity during the last year and a half as we battled to keep Coronavirus under control, but it feels like across social media it has become somewhat of a trend too. If you search #WFH on Instagram, you will be met with 3.4 million posts (as of the date this blog went live). But there has been a lot of research and articles into working from home that show the good, the bad and the ugly. It’s agreed that it’s not for everyone and some have even compared it to Marmite, you love it or hate it, but for some there is no choice but to get on with it. So, I’ve written some tips on what I have found works for me to help making working from home a success and even a pleasure!
Get ready for the day – Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to still have a morning routine including getting washed and dressed, having breakfast, and getting prepared for what lies ahead in your day. Even if you’re putting on some comfy lounge wear, getting changed out of your pyjamas and washing your face makes you feel more prepared to face the day and it’s really important to eat a balanced breakfast (not last nights left over pizza) so your body is properly fuelled. Get everything you need together ready for the day and make sure any computers, laptops, and systems you need are up and running before you’re due to start work to avoid a panicked rush that could make you late. If you have a busy day ahead then try making a ‘To do’ list to make sure you get everything done and can plan effectively. All of this will set you up for a strong and calm start to the day, ready for anything that might crop up last minute.
Don’t waste your commute – Use your old commuting time to your advantage rather than oversleeping. Make it your new exercise time, have a slow and mindful breakfast, or take the time to go for a walk so that you are prepared to start your day. Having something in place like this can help you mentally prepared for work just as your commute would have so get creative and do something that fulfils you and brings you joy.
Have a dedicated workspace – Build up some boundaries and separation between home and work by having a dedicated working space. Staying comfy and warm in bed might seem like a good idea at the time but it can affect your productivity and motivation so it’s a good idea to have a desk or a table so you can separate your mind when you are working and relaxing.
Stay in touch – Humans are social creatures. Even introverts need some human contact from time to time so it’s important to keep in touch with people. Either chatting to your co-workers throughout the day via online chat or phone or calling a friend or family member on your breaks. Working from home can feel lonely sometimes especially if you live alone as well so make effort to include socialising into your daily routine and make sure the office banter continues. Virtual lunches with a friend or a catch up with a family member over the phone will all give your wellbeing a boost. Also investigate what your company has in the way of wellbeing if you feel like you need to open up to someone about a personal or work problem to avoid it getting too bad.
Set boundaries – This is important! Setting boundaries should be key in any aspect of your life, including work. Make sure you work the hours you need to, overtime if you have to but don’t turn on your computer late in the evening to ‘catch up’ when you’re relaxing or watching the telly. You wouldn’t pop back into the office during the night to read some emails so don’t do it just because you’re working from home. It’s important as well to take your scheduled breaks, holidays, and sick days when you need them and speak to a manager if you feel like you’re struggling to set boundaries and talk about what you can do together to keep your work life balance in check.
Stay safe and healthy – It’s very easy being at home all day to eat your whole house out of food and snacks (I speak from experience) but try to resist! If you’re sitting at a desk all day, then overeating and snacking can result in weight gain and feeling tired and sluggish. Be sure to eat healthy and balanced meals and swap cakes and biscuits for fruit, vegetables, and nuts if you get peckish mid-afternoon. Try to stand up and maybe do a couple of laps of your house once an hour so you are moving around throughout the day and take a walk during your lunch or breaks, even if just for ten minutes. Keep a bottle of water on your desk so you stay hydrated and throw open the windows (weather permitting) for some wonderful fresh air and sunlight! As well as all of this to stay healthy, it’s important to stay safe. Keep any important information and data secure and out of the way of anyone who shouldn’t see it, invest in a shredder for disposing of any confidential documents and keep your passwords up to date and secure. I would also add that it’s as much as #WFH is quite popular in Instagram, you should ‘think before your selfie’. What is in the background of your picture? Is there anything that could put your or your company at risk? Depending on your job, scammers and hackers could pick up on this in your pictures and try to compromise your information so be careful so you don’t put yourself at risk.
Remember you’re still at work – Just because you’re at home, that doesn’t mean you can just pop your feet up and relax. Imagine your manager could still see everything that you’re doing while you’re at home. How would they feel if you were nipping off for unscheduled breaks to watch videos on YouTube or catching up on Instagram? If it helps, keep your phone away from your desk or in another room and always think “What would my manager think about this?” Keep on top of your work and emails and don’t let things pile up as this will only cause you more stress and concern.
I hope my tips help to make working from home easier, less stressful, and even enjoyable. Let me know in the comments if there has been anything else you have tried that makes home working better.