10 practical tips for working from home
As you may know, the Coronavirus pandemic is boosting the workplace trend of working from home to unprecedented levels. If your previous workplace didn’t allow you to work from home, they’ll surely be reconsidering this stance in the coming months or even as long as the rest of the year. It’s expected that in 2019, around 40% of employers are offering some version of working from home. We expect this number to rise dramatically when taking 2020’s figures into account.
In any event, now is a good time to set up a fool-proof working from home set-up. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the 10 most practical and useful tips that you should start implementing in order to get your remote working station set up for your success within your home.
- Turn your daily commute time into resting time
We typically calculate how long our daily commute to the office or workplace will be, no matter which kind of transportation you’re using. With the prospect of nobody needing to commute to work any time soon (save for essential workers), you’re going to find that you’ll end up with extra time during your work day. It’s advised that you turn this time into intentional rest and relaxation time, or start a ‘rest allowance’ for yourself. The purpose of this is to detach yourself from work, and create a better work-life balance so that you can properly switch off from work once you’ve clocked out. One of the benefits of commuting is that it is a set wind-down time for workers after their work day ends – so it’s become necessary to implement your own set resting time during the course of the working week. You don’t need to start your day by worrying about being late, since this time can now we spent on forming a routine or behaviour that allows you to calm down, clear your head and wind down from the work day in order to relax and get back to non-working activities, such as cooking, watching a movie, cleaning, reading a book or taking a bath. Of course, you should enjoy your resting activity, no matter what you decide to do!
- Create a set schedule
If your workplace is flexible with your hours, this point is going to be important for you. In order to succeed with remote working, you should definitely set your working hours and stick to it, regardless of when this might happen during the day. Now that your office doors are closed, it can feel tricky to live within a working routine. As you might also recognise, one of the many benefits of working from home is that you can change up your working hours from the traditional 9-5 if it suits you better – you might work later or earlier than this to match up with the timezones of colleagues or clients, or free up some time in the day to get chores done. The reason why keeping a set schedule is so important is because it can be easy to continually work throughout the day without a clear ending point – which could create burnout and work fatigue. However, you don’t need to suffer from this fate if you can create a working schedule that works for you! We advise keeping the same hours throughout the week. If you’re struggling to stick to your working hours, however, you could always download one of the many time-tracking apps available on your mobile device – such as RescueTime or Clockify. Using an app can help you see if you’re truly sticking to the correct time, and can send you alerts about your most and least productive hours. You can use this information to your advantage to reschedule your future working hours, too.
- Set ground rules with the other people in your household
We’re well aware of the challenges that remote working can bring to busy households. Just because you need to work from home, you aren’t suddenly alone in your house! For many people, you won’t have the same spatial separation that you receive while at work – through no fault of yours.
This is particularly true if you have children who are also at home while you’re working. You will need to establish clear boundaries with your children or other friends and family about what you need them to do or NOT do while you’re busy working. For instance, maybe you set up a rule that a closed door in the study means that nobody can come in unless it’s extremely necessary.
Maybe you can set up a designated ‘meeting zone’, where it is expected that noise will be quiet near that zone. You can even share this space with other remote workers in your household, provided you don’t have any meeting clashes.
The point is, it’s okay to set up some new ground rules within your household if it means you’ll be productive at work.
- Be smart about using break time
Firstly, you should use breaks during your workday. This could be your lunch break, tea break, or any personal time that is regularly allowed by your employer. If you’re more flexible with your time, you should schedule breaks for yourself to align with other typical break times – such as a 30 minute tea break that can be broken down into three 10-minute breaks.
If you feel yourself fading, or ogling over your next stack, take a short break. Taking a few minutes to grab food, drink or run to the toilet can be extremely beneficial and provide you with time to recharge your energy reserves. Don’t short-change yourself because you’re not taking your full break. Take the full hour for lunch, even if it takes you two minutes to put together a bowl of cereal.
- Set up a designated work space
In an ideal world, you’d have your own study or office where you can do your work remotely, while the rest of the house is free for others to roam. However, we’re aware that this is certainly not feasible for the majority of people.In order to set up a designated work space, you don’t need a whole room. All you need is a table/desk and chair in a specific room of the house. This could be your lounge, dining room or whatever else is available to you. If you use the same computer for both work and personal use, set up boundaries. For instance, if it’s at your working space, then it’s work time. If your laptop is in your lap, it’s time for leisurely activities. Regardless of how you choose to work this out, having a dedicated space can help create a physical entry point into working, which can help your mind ease into a productive mode.
- Be sociable!
You’re not going to be able to see your colleagues in person, but that doesn’t mean that you should suffer. Remote work is notorious for being lonely, isolating and causing disconnects between colleagues. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
If you don’t have these options already in place, you could:
- Create specific chat channels to speak about hobbies/interests
- Hosting virtual ‘events’ such as art classes, happy hours and more
- Share photos, gifs or simple thoughts with your colleagues
- Download a business communication app like Slack in order to feel connected
- Regularly check up on colleagues to make sure they’re doing alright
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help or increased socialisation if you’re struggling with loneliness
- Do some meal prep
The last thing you want to happen is wasting your lunch break because you’re cooking for the whole hour, or can’t decide what to eat with your remaining ingredients and pantry staples.
While your pre-COVID nutrition might not have been exemplary, now is the perfect time to step up and prepare healthy meals for yourself.
We recommend doing this after work, and doubling up your recipe so that you’ve got some leftovers for yourself for the next day or two. Keeping fresh fruit around is a healthier snack alternative to chocolate bars or chips. Nuts are a healthy source of fats, too. Be clever with your cooking and you’ll find your lunch break is a relaxing and nourishing time of day for you.
- Look for new training opportunities
While everyone is indoors watching tv, this is ironically a great opportunity to spend time upskilling yourself. This might be online courses you want to take, as well as consulting online resources, videos and tutorials that can improve your knowledge within your field of interest. Speak to your manager or colleagues about ways that you can spend time productively learning more and making yourself a more informed employee. If you don’t have a training platform available from your employer, take note that many platforms are offering free courses due to COVID-19, so you’ll have to do some research but there will definitely be something available to you.
- Take advantage of being at home
What we mean by ‘taking advantage’ is to use this time to do all the things you wanted to get around to, but weren’t able to do because of work/stress. Maybe you want to bake a loaf of bread, play with your pets, go on a jog every morning, or take a bath after work. Take advantage of the unique situation you’re in – and do all the little things that you’ve been meaning to get around to. We promise that they’ll help you feel better – and these could even become habits that form part of a weekly relaxation routine for you.
- Stay motivated
We are well aware that the current situation is unpredictable, and we don’t expect that anyone is feeling overly joyous when hearing the latest news about illness. However, you should remember that the virus itself is out of your control.
Remember to keep an eye on your mental health and communicate with friends/family or even colleagues. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a slow day – everyone is adjusting at their own rate, and it may take some time to get used to remote working. If it helps you, write or type a list of all of your tasks in order to keep your motivation high.This can also help you stay more organised, and feel in control of your situation.
ShoppingFeeder expresses its solidarity with citizens around the world who are facing employment adjustments due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
With that said, we hope that you learned a thing or two about how to improve your working from home set-up in order to help you succeed.
Stay indoors, wear your mask and practice social distancing as much as possible. We’re all in this together.