At this incredibly difficult time, thousands of people are likely to be working from home, many for the first time.
We’ve had to adapt to a new normal, working from a home environment and usually with family members, children and pets around.
To help during this period, we’ve put together our top tips for working from home. What’s the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a video call.
But you don’t need to dress formally, simply slipping on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt can help. Wearing respectable clothes also increases motivation to leave the house. Likewise, changing out of work clothes when you clock off for the day helps your brain to understand that the working day is over.
Like many people, you probably have set hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace, and finish your day at the same time.
At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items. Space allowing, set aside a specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up – ideally with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace.
If there are other people in the house, finding a space where you’re not likely to be disturbed is essential. But we know that this isn’t always possible.
Get out and about
Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.
So get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.
If you can’t go outside, you could even bring the atmosphere of the office to you. There are website and apps available that play background sounds such as a train moving along tracks, or the chatter of a coffee shop. For some, this can help keep focus.
Pick up the phone
When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.
Take regular breaks
It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous.
And you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.
Research has also found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.
Many home workers recommend the Pomodoro Technique, a method of time management which breaks your working day into 25-minute chunks. Each chunk is followed by a five-minute break. Try it out.
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