Published on March 16th, 2020 | by Raychel O'Connell
12 Ideas to Help While You Work From Home
With the closure of most public places and offices many of us are facing the possibility of working from home for a prolonged period. This comes with unique challenges so we’ve pulled together these 12 tips for you to get the best out of your working day, while keeping your sanity.
1. There might be a temptation to stay in bed until the final moments before the work day starts but it’s best to set your alarm for the normal time you get up. Take your regular commute time to have a nice breakfast and coffee to set yourself up for the day.
2. Take a shower! It will give you a great boost.
3. Don’t forget to get dressed! Again, it might be tempting to lounge around in pyjamas but getting dressed into your normal work clothes will help you create an office environment at home. Plus, it reduces the risk of colleagues getting a glance of your PJs during a video conference.
4. If possible try to use a dedicated space or room for your home office. Don’t use the couch in the living room. There are too many distractions and you’ll be paying for it with a sore neck and shoulders after a couple of days. Try to get a space with good natural light too – it really does help.
5. Make sure you have all the right equipment and set-up for your temporary office. That’s a laptop stand, keyboard, proper desk and chair. If you have a spare monitor, hook it up to the laptop too.
6. If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated home office try to have a coffee maker or kettle there and if possible, a mini fridge for milk, yoghurt etc. Going to the kitchen for snacks/beverages can and will lead you to doing things while you’re there, like emptying the washing machine and other chores. It also means access to your stash of biscuits, chocolate, cake and so on which will be too readily available.
7. Try to explain to family, friends or housemates that while you may be at home, you are still working so you will need some space. They need to realise that you aren’t at their beck and call (family emergencies notwithstanding). Some might expect that you will be available to chat all day without realising.
8. Take small breaks. Do not fall into the trap of sitting for hours. You will notice a difference from being in the office in this respect. Get up every now and again for a couple of minutes to stretch. This will help with your posture, as well as give you some more energy.
9. As David Attenborough would say: We are social animals. You WILL miss human interaction. If you have no video call meetings, try to talk to somebody on the phone or on WhatsApp video a couple of times a day. Slack and emails don’t give the fix so its always nice to meeting someone face-to-face, even if that is done virtually for the time being.
10. Take your full lunch-break away from the laptop. And as per number 9 above, if you haven’t had any contact with anybody, maybe pop out for a short walk.
11. Keep to your normal daily office routine and structure. If you normally go to the gym at lunch then do an online workout video at that time instead. There are many great and free ones on YouTube.
12. Log off at the end of the day and walk away from the laptop. For those with longer commutes when in the office, take the extra time working from home gives you and use it! If your work laptop is not in a dedicated room/space, put it in its bag and out of sight until the next morning.
Of course, if you have kids then many of these steps will be much harder and trying to stick to a regular routine will be an impossible task. Just keep up good communication lines with your colleagues and they will understand. Obviously this period of time comes with many challenges but if we all shift our mindset and try to stay disciplined we’ll all get through the next couple of weeks much easier. If you have any more tips please share them below. We’d love to hear how you are getting on.