The world has seen an unprecedented shift towards a work from home culture in-line with government advice, with more businesses to follow in the coming days and weeks.
For many, this will be nothing new but for others’ this may be their first time working from home, and for a lot of people it will be the first time of doing full weeks away from the office which will no doubt present new challenges and difficulties.
We have compiled some top tips and rules to abide on how to get the most out of your days working from home.
Dress your mindset
Without a commute, you can usually squeeze a bit more of a lie-in, and if you don’t have to see people, the temptation to stay in loungewear for the day might be tempting too…
We advise holding on to your usual routine as much as possible, and ensure you spend time getting dressed for your days’ work. Some advice even suggests that you get dressed as if you’re going to a meeting.
Doing this ensures your mind can recognise the switch from resting and lounging to work and prepares your mindset to attack the day and be productive.
Create a workspace which is conducive to working
As the line between your home and work blur, its’ important to ensure you can make distinctions between your work and home self and this is a key step.
Creating a space in your home which is well lit, comfortable, away from noise and distractions such as your to-do list is essential.
If your family are a distraction, politely make them aware that you require space to focus and let them know of any planned breaks where you will be able to speak.
At the end of each day, prepare your workplace for the following day so that clothes airers or final bits of decorating don’t lead you to a full spring clean or home renovation when you’re supposed to be getting through a project and staying connected to the office.
Similarly to the previous point, it may be tempting to open your laptop and work from bed or the sofa but make a conscious choice to switch to a desk or table. If you're used to working from a desktop and not looking down at a laptop screen, it could be worth investing in a laptop stand which raises your screen to eye-level.
Plan your day
Plan your day to ensure you maximise what you get out of it. Set out a to-do list for your week, and a subsequent broken-down to-do list for each day.
A visual reminder of your progress will help to keep you focused and can be proactive in ensuring you have all the tools you need to tackle any upcoming tasks.
Take breaks – safely
Our attention span is around 14 minutes, so anything we can achieve beyond that deserves minor rewards to keep ourselves going for a full working day. Sticking to a plan can keep you focused, productive and prevent you from unnecessarily multi-tasking.
Workplaces have many healthy distractions, such as tea breaks, socialising and purpose-built break-out areas, but working from home can be lacking in variety.
Try to plan in tea and coffee breaks, or menial easy to accomplish tasks to allow your mind the chance to refresh and re-approach your ongoing workload and challenges. If it is safe to do so, pop to your local coffee shop or phone a friend.
At the very least, it's good to break away from your desk and walk around!
Prepare what you need
Working from home might mean you don’t have the usual ease of access to required information and technology so be sure to get set up as soon as possible. Planning your week and day is the best way to avoid disruption, particularly when third-party IT support are likely to be overloaded with support requests and may be potentially experiencing a lower capacity than usual.
There is nothing worse than sitting down for a planned video conference to discover you webcam isn't working, or you didn't realise Skype wasn't installed on your machine or you can't access a file you need saved on your work machine.
Ensure your team keep in regular contact as without face-to-face working with colleagues, its’ easy for an autonomous mindset to kick-in, but keeping regular updates with colleagues ensures accountability, and focuses the purpose and direction of your work.
Its’ a great way to learn about difficulties colleagues have overcome, so that you can prepare and keep your productivity levels high.
Take advantage of the YOU time
Without distraction and working in a new environment it can be astonishing what you may manage to achieve, and how quickly you can pummel through your to-do list. Think of some tasks you might usually neglect that will add value to your working day in future such as re-organising your files into a system, or cleansing your database so that it can be more effective in future.
Have any of your own tips for working from home? Get in touch!