As we find ourselves in another national lockdown, many of us are in the familiar position of having to work remotely or from home on a daily basis.
We recently conducted a survey on LinkedIn, to gauge how people feel about working from home. Overall, respondents felt positive about home working, however the majority preferred having the flexibility to work from home and the office. Although there are definite positives to home working (no endless rows of traffic on the daily commute or swapping the shirt and trousers for a jumper and jogging bottoms), with it comes a host of distractions and temptations, and also an impact on our mental wellbeing.
To help deal with these feelings and adjust to the new balance of living and working, Proman has compiled a few handy hints and tips to enable you to maximise your time, work more effectively from home and get through these strange times that we are all living through together!
1. Adopt a daily routine
- Start work at the same time and finish on time every day. When you are at home there’s no commuting time or a need to get home, so the temptation is there to ‘just finish something off’ which almost always leads to another hour of work. By sticking to your hours, you will be able to switch off from work without it dragging on into your evening.
- Get dressed as you would normally and don’t spend all day in your pyjamas. Obviously at home you don’t need to put on your formal office wear but getting out of the lazing around clothes will put you in the right frame of mind to be productive.
- Include commuting time in your morning. Go for a quick walk before the start of your working day to put your mind into a calm space, or alternatively try to do so some stretches to get the body moving and wake up and energise your brain.
- Try to keep to a dedicated set routine by planning your day with a checklist of tasks.
- To focus fully on your work and get things done, avoid the TV and other digital distractions. Instead, stream music that complements your work style.
2. Create a dedicated workspace
- Designate an area of your home, specifically for getting work done, this could be an empty or spare bedroom repurposed into a home office, or if you are limited for space you can set up a desk for your computer and office supplies.
- Be sure your workspace is quiet and free of clutter so you can focus on the task at hand. Keep both your work and personal area separate if possible as this will create the feeling that you are going to and leaving work daily.
- Set boundaries for your family so there are less distractions and you can adopt a calmer mindset. Ask them to avoid your workspace as much as possible – you can engage with them when you’re taking a breather. The last thing you need is someone pottering about you while you’re trying to concentrate!
3. Ensure that you take regular breaks
- Get up and walk around to keep active. Stretch, shake yourself off, do a couple of laps of the house, just get your blood circulating!
- Schedule video calls and pick up the phone to your colleagues. It doesn’t always have to be about work – have a chat like you’d usually have in the office environment and check that everyone is keeping well, and that you are supporting each other.
4. Don’t forget to drink water
- At work, you see other people drinking or filling up bottles, and it triggers your desire for it. You won’t get that at home, so set a reminder on your phone to refill your bottle and top up your hydration levels.
5. Ask to take your office furniture home
- A lot of home furniture won’t be good for your posture, for example standard office chairs. If you have a good one at work, ask if you can take this home with you, as this will help to ensure that you are working in a comfortable environment. Make sure to let your manager know if there is any special equipment that you require.
6. Don’t be hard on yourself
- You won’t be 100% as efficient as in the office. Networks can be slower, and distractions are inevitable, so try to remain calm and relaxed.
- Take pride in one achievement every day and tick off this accomplishment, as this will make all the difference. It could take the form of a work-based task, or it could be a task around the home, like cutting the hedge or even just tidying up.
7. Let your manager know if you are struggling
- They will be there to help you and monitor your wellbeing, productivity plans can be made, and they will also be able to offer guidance on best practice.
By setting specific work hours and sticking to them, taking breaks, keeping in touch with colleagues and realising your situation, you will increase performance and develop a healthy work schedule.
So, at the end of the working day, shut down your laptop, relax, and spend this new found extra time with your loved ones. And above all else, stay safe!