Working from home: how it’s done
You need to have as much as possible to hand to work effectively at home
Whether you just got a freelance or working from home position, or you’re starting to temporarily work from home for whatever reason, it’s likely you can’t wait to avoid that Monday morning commute and spend the day in your PJ’s! This is a great novelty, and something to be looked fondly upon for the first couple of days. However, after this, it is crucial that you are still productive at work whilst enjoying the perks.
Your ideal working set-up will be specific to you. Over a few days or weeks you will understand what works best for your role and for you as a person.The top line is, stay focused, and do whatever it takes to ensure you succeed in that. Especially if that involves separating your work life from your home life.
By having a workspace that’s just for work, this doesn’t mean you need an ‘office’ with a closed door policy. It just means having an area which allows you to get into the zone as it were and puts you into a work frame of mind. Whether you are lucky enough to have a separate room or not, a desk in your front room placed out of the way or a laptop on the dining room table can prove just as effective when correctly set up.
Ideally this area is not your bedroom or where you sleep, this could hinder you as you may associate this area with relaxing. It is also important your family members or whoever you live with know this is a space dedicated to work. Finding your workspace can take a bit of trial and error, so give it time and try a few different places.
Creating a routine.
This is often the most difficult aspect of working from home. With technology today it makes it possible for your manager and other colleagues to contact you at any time of the day, only adding to the daily pressure of the role.
It is beneficial to start and finish working at the same time everyday so your colleagues and yourself have cut off points for tasks. Making a set lunchtime and having dedicated times for breaks is also advantageous to your working day. It is also important to note, on said breaks, step away from your desk. Try and get some time outdoors, even if it’s just for 10 minutes.
Also, make sure you connect with your colleagues, if only once a day, the interaction ensures you stay in the loop and avoid feeling lonely. Finally, it’s important to remember that the email you received at 10pm can 9/10 wait until the following day.
One of the main benefits working for home gives you is that you can avoid a ‘smart casual’ dress code and wear whatever you want. The weather is miserable and you want to indulge in some snacks, what’s the harm in doing so in your sweats? This is ok now and again as a treat or when you’re feeling under the weather but be sure to keep a sense of routine in getting dressed everyday, into whatever that may be.
For most people getting dressed into outerwear such as jeans and shoes often promotes productivity rather than comfy clothes promoting relaxation.
Understanding your body.
Finding a comfortable chair to use for 8+ hours a day that is already in your home is a challenge to say the least. As humans we are not supposed to be seated for a continuous 8 hour period 5 days a week so finding a supportive chair makes this slightly easier. For most people it is a worthwhile investment buying a good desk chair when working from home. In addition to this, taking time away from your desk when your body calls for it is also important, even if just to stretch your legs.
On top of having the right chair and equipment, make sure your new working space is well lit. Be sure to take regular breaks so as to not strain your eyes. The 20-20-20 rule is recommended to office workers. This involves looking at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. Give it a go, see if your eyes feel more rested?
Work life balance.
When working amongst your family’s daily life, sometimes it can be hard to separate the two parties. However, it’s crucial the people you live with, particularly children, understand that work time is work time. Sometimes home life can get noisy, so we recommend finding an area which is isolated away from the kids. As well as this, noise cancelling headphones also don’t usually go a miss for home workers!
If you think that working and doing chores simultaneously will be a breeze, think again. Checking the post or putting the bins out is one thing and arguably a great way to stretch your legs, but household chores such as ironing and hovering and a completely different ball game! Don’t let large amounts of chores be expected of you because you’re ‘at home anyway’, set boundaries and stay focused!
Various books and learning materials will often advise a standing desk or maybe even a separate laptop for work and personal shenanigans. If budget allows, brilliant! These are great assets. However, most of the time the company you work for shouldn’t expect you to buy these things yourself. Find out if they’re willing to buy any of this essential equipment for you.
In addition to those essential noise-cancelling headphones, most home working spaces will only require a reliable computer or laptop, a trustworthy internet connection and a smartphone with basic functionality. If working from home becomes the long term norm, you will soon come to realise any other essential equipment missing from this list.