WFH or working from home is the new normal that’s changing the way we live our work week. Like many of us, you have most likely been thrown in the deep end. Boss called it and now you have a laptop on your lap, PJ’s on and a dog licking the keyboard. You’re now thinking, how am I going to make this work in the long term?
The truth is, it’s going to take some adjustment, lots of discipline and flexibility to accept things won’t be exactly like work at the office. However, arming yourself with some great tools and tips you’ll be able to navigate this space and nail it, just like the rest of those WFH bloggers and influencers!
TIP 1: Your morning routine sets your day
This is the most important step. It’s really important you still get up early to be prepared for the day. Ideally before you login for work, you want to have done your workout, a quick tidy of the house and any chores, eaten a healthy breakfast, set up your working space and got dressed. If you fail to do any of your usual routines, you are going to be feeling the guilt or be tempted to do them when you are supposed to be working. It’s really important to ensure you are dressed for the day, just in case you get the unexpected Zoom video call throughout the day too!
Prepping for the day gets your mood in the right place, as well as being organised. Turning on your laptop while you are still in bed at 9.05am is not going to set the tone for a productive or effective work day and it’s going to show as your performance drops. If you are unwell, call in sick, don’t try to work. If you wouldn’t go to the office being that sick, don’t work from home either.
TIP 2: Set a permanent workspace
When you go to work, you likely sit in the same place each day and you associate that area with work. At home you need to do the same. Working from bed or the couch shouldn’t be an option, you should be looking at a space with a desk (dining room table will work) with an ergonomic chair setup. In your workspace have everything you need including; coffee cup, power cords set up and keep everything neat. Your space should be work-like, but also treat yourself to a few luxuries like flowers or a candle to ensure the WFH life is enjoyable too. If you need to pack up after each shift for the rest of the house, ensure you have a simple box or method to make sure it’s easy to set up again each day.
TIP 3: Schedule your work hours and breaks
One thing you will find working from home, you are glued to your seat a lot more. No more impromptu chats in hallways, getting up to printers or heading across the hallway to someone else’s office. Before you know it, you’re only getting up every couple of hours. The guidelines say that you should be moving every 30min. We’d suggest use your online calendar to structure your day. Stick with the same hours daily, same lunch break and also use timers to remind yourself to move. Take advantage of being at home to do some stretches, run up and down stairs or better still go outside for a stretch and fresh air. On your lunch break, take a walk around the block or do an online fitness class, don’t be tempted by social media or TV. Watch your productivity explode!
Remember once it is ‘home time’ stick with the schedule, just because your office is at home it’s no excuse to keep ‘checking in’ all night. Take the time to relax and be at home, downtime is crucial to maintain mental health and balance.
TIP 4: Stay healthy
One of the biggest traps people fall into when working from home is the fridge. Having an abundance of food at your fingertips can lead to excessive snacking and eating too much junk. If this sounds like you, consider making your lunch and packing your snacks in the morning. Maintaining a similar structure to work with designated ‘food breaks’ will assist with binging. Often eating is associated with boredom or thirst. Check in on your hydration levels first, then consider if you have enough work to do, now is a good time to plan and start work projects to keep yourself interested and busy.
TIP 5: Set guidelines with your housemates
It’s highly likely you will be sharing your workspace at home with others. It’s important to set the boundaries and guidelines from the beginning. Give others your schedule so they understand when it’s OK to disturb you outside of work hours. If you have kids, ensure they have adequate activities and pre-make lunches in the mornings to avoid further distractions. It’s also important that noise restrictions are imposed so your calls are not interrupted by explicit music or TV from your house mates. Setting the rules from the onset will assist with house mate annoyances and distractions.
TIP 6: Listen to music
No more arguing with colleagues about choices in music, you are the DJ! (Spotify has even created a WFH playlist, or create your own!) Take the time to enjoy all those old albums you haven’t listened to in ages to keep you focused and enjoying your time at home. Keep the volume at a reasonable level so you are not fumbling for the volume when the phone rings. It’s also important to ensure that the music is not too distracting, if you are spending more time singing than working, it’s time to change the tunes. Listening to radio is a good way to structure breaks around news breaks and you can keep up to date with new tunes and chat programs can feel like company to combat loneliness and have a laugh throughout the day.
TIP 7: Stay connected
Loneliness is one of the biggest issues people face when WFH. It’s important to stay connected to your work colleagues. Call them instead of sending an email throughout the day, send photos to your colleagues of your workspace, lunch or pets to keep things social. Consider a Facebook group with your work besties to check in during the day and share a joke or too. Don’t feel guilty for spending time socialising, it improves productivity and you will be a happier and more efficient employee. That’s also not an excuse to be on social media all day, make sure you keep yourself in check and mute yourself from the group for a set time if it’s getting too social.
So there you have it, the basics to get you started in the ‘work from home’ life. Just remember to make the best out of the situation and structure the experience to be as enjoyable and relaxing as possible. Take advantage of the luxuries of home to bring more joy to your work life. You’ve got this!