Working from home is a completely different environment from being in the office, but it is still massively important you treat them like they’re the same. Whilst being in the office environment makes you more motivated and productive, working from home can sometimes allow us to feel like it’s more relaxed. This might be true (we can wear joggers when we’re working from home!), but it’s essential we focus on our work and still get it all done so we can chill out at the end of each day, knowing we’ve done our best job. To help through this time, here is your guide to working from home in the most effective way you can!
Wake up early
It’s been proven countless times that productivity is at its highest in the morning. It means you wake up with a clear focus and purpose for the day. So set an alarm for 6/7am, give yourself some time to snooze it a few times, then get up. If you have a lengthy commute to work, fill the time that you would’ve been travelling with productive things like meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, a small workout or a morning podcast. Giving yourself a while between waking up and starting work is important - you don’t want to feel tired when you start doing work.
Make your bed ASAP
Making your bed definitely seals the gap between waking up and being up - yes, there’s a difference! It eliminates the urge to jump back in for an extra hour’s sleep and it means you can truly get on with the day. I don’t know whether it’s just me but I 100% feel better knowing my bed is made and when I come home, I can get back into it again knowing it’s been clean and organised all day. It also goes without saying, if you can’t even be bothered to make your bed in the morning, how are you going to motivate yourself to do a full day’s work?! So just make your bed as soon as you’re out - trust me, you’ll feel better!
Pretend like you actually are going to the office
Brush your teeth, wash your face, shower, sort your bed hair out and get dressed. Don’t necessarily wear the exact same clothes you would to work, especially if it requires smart clothing - but change from the clothes you slept in! Something comfortable but highly appropriate for if you had a surprise Skype conference call that afternoon (your manager doesn’t want to see you in your onesie at 2pm, trust me!)
Establish a clear work area
No this doesn’t mean your bed! Find an empty table or desk to work from as your specified work area. Make sure you keep it clean, tidy and organised - a clear desk is a clear mind. Have all the things you need with you, paper, pens, highlighters, a diary or notebooks so you’re able to work consistently. It would also be hugely helpful to know you have all the correct software you need for your computer/laptop, and if not, have an email or contact number for the office to figure out what the best steps are for this. Some natural light also helps for this, so make sure your work space has some kind of window to keep you in tune with the day and not make you feel like you’re stuck in an unnatural environment.
Make a to-do list
Make a to-do list of what needs to be done throughout your day. Sort it by priority and give yourself something easy to do near the end of your day, so you’re still as productive but it’s not a daunting task that’s going to slow you down. Making sure your to-do list is realistic is essential. Don’t just cram everything you’ve got to do over the next week into Monday’s to-do list. It will seriously bring down your work ethic by a mile. Split up your tasks in order of importance! If you know a spreadsheet doesn’t need to be done until Friday, you don’t have to finish it all today. Start with the hardest tasks first that require the most concentration. After your morning, you’ll be super motivated to get all your tasks done before it’s lunch time. If you feel like you’re struggling with a task for whatever reason, delegate it amongst people on your level you know will be happy to help you out. Keep everything on the to-do list short and simple, and make sure you don’t spend too long on each task. Focus on one thing at once and you’ll be racing through it in no time!
Set time boundaries and stick to them
Go by your normal working hours and be realistic. If you start at 9, start at 9. If your lunch is an hour (unless you have to work through lunch), take the whole hour and really make the most of it. Watch an episode of your favourite series, make a delicious lunch, call your family or friends, do a Spring clean! If you finish at 5, finish your work at 5. There can be a huge temptation to carry on with work when you’re working from home just because you don’t have to travel home anywhere, but give yourself this cut-off point so you know it’s now time to relax. If you have breaks at work to fix up a snack or make a coffee, do this at home too! Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at your workspace for hours on end. Even go for a little walk round your flat or to the corner shop just to get a bit of fresh air if you think you need it! It will also help for people you’re living with to know your start and end times and when your breaks are. Working from home is an extension of the workplace and so distractions should be avoided!
Make sure your lines of communication are open with your work colleagues. It’s always handy to have some kind of online chatting system between colleagues that isn’t over email. Something like Slack can be beneficial for keeping online and in contact with your teammates about work-related tasks. While emails are formal and proper, a more informal online system can put people at ease - and it’s just a quicker way to get a response! This also is a fun way to chat to your colleagues and work friends about things that aren’t work orientated. You’d be chatting to them just as if you’d be chatting to them in the office and it really does make you feel more like you’re all in it together, even if you are all working from home separately!
Have some healthy snacks with you at all times because you’re definitely gonna get hungry! Snacking in the workplace is REAL and it’s no different at home. Try to make sure they’re healthy, have a big breakfast that will fill you up for the morning and then snack some healthy stuff in the afternoon to get you through to your finishing time. Listening to music is also a lot of people’s vibe to aid concentration, so if you listen to music in the office - listen to it at home! Stick on your favourite playlist or even try a different playlist for different tasks/parts of the day. Maybe you need some upbeat, fast hip hop to get you through the morning, followed by some lo-fi house to see you through into the evening. Whatever works best for you, do it!
Reflect on your savings
Something uplifting to do during your time working from home is to track and reflect on how much you will have saved by working from home! Deduct your travel fees, lunch time spends, morning coffee, things like that. Knowing you’ve kept some money in the bank can be hugely motivational, obviously everyone wants to save where they can!
The most important thing to take from this whole experience is just to remain positive, remain focused and remain kind. Everyone is in this together so let’s do with it what we can. Keep in contact with your loved ones and remain in good spirits and good health. This is your week, which you own! Do the best that you can and remember, kindness is contagious too.