With more and more people wanting work flexibility and better work/home balance, there are many benefits to working from home. The downside can include isolation and not feeling like a part of the office team. However, with proper planning and implementation, studies show increased productivity and performance and decreased stress from avoiding commuting and its costs.
We’ve compiled a list of seven tips to help make working from home a success for you.
1. A Workspace
Ideally, have a dedicated area in your home to use as your office or better still, a workroom. This will help send a clear message to family members that you’re at work and need to be left undisturbed. Ground rules will need to be established and you may have to hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your closed door. Children will need clear direction about what they can and can’t do while you’re “at work”.
2. Keep Office Hours
Set yourself working hours as you would in the office and stick to them. Use an app to help you keep track of your time, such as Rescue Time. Create a morning routine such as putting the kettle on and getting your desk set up and ready to begin. And when your workday is over, pack away all work-related equipment and get on with your evening, just as you would have, on leaving the office. That said, where you need to be flexible, this is now a possibility and you can adjust your schedule to fit around family events, for example.
3. Use technology to keep in touch
If you work as part of a team, ensure that you are proactive in communicating with the others. If possible, aim to keep similar hours to your colleagues so that you can get in touch with them. And ensure that you get face time with your employer and team, which will help you all stay connected and keep the human touch with your colleagues. Aim for facetime with your boss to t the end of each week, email your boss to let them know what you’ve accomplished and your plans for the following week.
4. Take Proper Breaks…
Using a method such as the “Pomodoro technique” will ensure you rest regularly and will help you to be more productive. Studies show that taking breaks helps you stay focused over a longer period of time, increases productivity and helps creativity. If you struggle to switch off from your computer for lunchtime, you can set up your device to be “locked out” for an hour using apps such Smart Break (which limits screen time and helps prevent eye strain) or Apple Time Out break reminders which will ensure you can’t sneak onto your computer during breaks to check in on Facebook or emails.
5. …and proper food
Make sure that you have nutritious high-energy snacks throughout the day. Eating a proper lunch will ensure that you return to your desk refreshed and ready to resume afternoon work. Make a batch of healthy lunches at the weekend and leave one ready in your fridge each evening. Having a ready supply of nuts and fruit to nibble on will ensure your glucose levels don’t fall and will help maintain your productivity. And make sure you have plenty of water nearby.
Ensure that you get daily exercise, which produces endorphins (the body’s “feel-good” natural chemicals), so schedule a time to work out. It’s not essential to get a full 30 minutes’ exercise in one go, as several short sessions will also do. If you have one, run or walk up and down your stairs a few times, which will help clear your head and get some oxygen pumping. If you can’t get out for a few minutes’ walk, there are lots of ways of getting indoor exercise without gym equipment, such as stretching or squatting at your desk or doing arm circles, to re-focus your attention.
7. Switch Off
A big problem with remote working is that the job can easily seep into your home life, also known as “work creep”. When your working day is over, you need to “go home”, physically and mentally switch off, relax for the evening and put work out of your mind. It’s tempting to check in on work emails after hours or even reply to them but this and other work-related activities need to be avoided. Your downtime is for you and your family. In order to make the mental switch, some people even keep a “work wardrobe” and change out of their office clothes at the end of the day.
Ensure that you get properly set up at home for remote working with space, food and breaks. But don’t forget to keep in touch with your remote work colleagues and let them know what you’re doing at home.