With several weeks of working from home under our belt, many of us have been on a learning curve, working out how to juggle a variety of demands – whether that’s getting work done around back-to-back video conference calls, doing a full-time job while raising and homeschooling children, or living in a busy and sometimes noisy shared home.
With flexible homeworking looking to be increasingly likely for many long-term, here are some of our key take-outs from recent weeks.
Distinguish between work and home mode
Where possible, create a clear distinction between home life and working time. Whether it’s as simple as showering and getting dressed, getting outdoors for some exercise first thing, wearing your fanciest gear, or simply creating a dedicated workspace that you ‘commute’ to each morning, having a morning routine helps ensure you can be productive with your working time and that you’re able to switch back to home life at the end of your working day.
If you aren’t working in a dedicated study or office, try and stick to a single workspace or rotate a couple of workspaces and don’t spread out across your home. That way, you can easily pack up your work each evening which helps distinguish between work and personal time and can become part of your switching off routine.
Be prepared to flex your time
Research has long shown the benefits of flexible working to both employees and employers, and never more than now has this been showcased on such a scale. For many, it’s simply not possible or practical to work a straightforward 9 – 5 day in current circumstances so, if you’re able to, take the opportunity to flex your time around your other commitments. Plan your time in advance to ensure you account for any deadlines and necessary crossover with colleagues and break your work up into chunks throughout the day. If you’re a morning person, get started early or plan certain tasks for the evening if you’re more of a night owl.
Sometimes it can be hard to feel productive and stay focused when working from home, so break up your work into chunks with regular breaks, and ensure your morning includes a few things you can quickly and easily tick off your list – getting things done first thing really helps with productivity.
Build in regular breaks for both mental and physical benefits and make sure you stick to them wherever possible, whether that’s simply to get up and make a cup of tea, to take a short walk or for a burst of exercise. This helps both from a physical and mental point of view and will ensure you can focus more readily when you get back to your desk.
Comfort is key
If you don’t have a purpose-designed office space in your home, it’s important to ensure you have a comfortable working space that won’t leave you with aches and pains at the end of the day. Try and ensure your working space has plenty of natural light and that you have a comfortable, supportive chair – use cushions or rolled up towels as support if necessary.
Get up from your working space regularly to stretch – you could even try some standing time, with your laptop on a higher surface if you have one. For those who are limited on space and want a proper desk, check the internet for practical and affordable ‘pop-up’ desks – these can be an excellent option for creating a dedicated space that you can quickly flat pack them at the end of the day if necessary.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Whether you’ve got children and / or animals making surprise appearances in the background of video calls, the doorbell ringing for yet another delivery during a conference call or just lots of background noise, remember that you’re certainly not the only one in that predicament. Most people will completely understand the occasional distraction, and speaking from experience, it can really lighten up a conference call and encourage a spirit of camaraderie.
If you’re used to working in a busy office as part of a big team, suddenly being on your own and more fully in charge of your own time can prove challenging, whether that’s time management, being productive, or simply feeling isolated. It’s absolutely vital that you communicate regularly with your colleagues in order to ensure you continue to work together effectively.
Whether that’s a regular team video call, a team WhatsApp group, a good old-fashioned phone call, email catch-ups or some more social elements such as virtual quizzes or drinks, speak regularly. Doing so will help create virtual team spirit, allow you to ask and answer questions quickly and easily, help avoid miscommunication and, ultimately, ensure you feel connected while working from home.
You may also be interested in…
- Hobbies and activities we’ve picked up during isolation
- Make working from home fun
- 5 ways to make remote meetings successful
Find more content like this on our virtual resource hub, IBTM Connect.