Hundreds of thousands of people have set up their work offices in their lounge/ bedroom/ kitchen table for the first time due to the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some top tips to stay efficient and keep your spirits up.
1. Get dressed
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 for many others, the point of getting dressed is being forced to shower and change out of clothes they associate with sleep and rest, even if that means just changing into a T-shirt and jeans.
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.
2. Establish boundaries
If you’re employed by a company, you’ll 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.
The NHS advice is that you should adjust your chair so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor.
3. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)
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.
4. Pick up the phone
If you’re working from home, the chances are you’ll be alone, so you won’t get distracted by colleagues’ conversations and other office noise.
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.
5. 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.
Source: (BBC, 2020)