Amidst the global pandemic, millions of people worldwide are now being forced to complete their tasks from the comfort of their own home. Although the idea of working from home brings up thoughts of pyjamas, warm duvets and replying to emails – we are still required to complete our roles to the best of our ability. Indeed, many find that working from home can actually be more challenging than being in an office setting, with innumerable distractions right in front of us. Besides this, there is insurmountable value to being in the same vicinity as co-workers, as simple questions can resolve in a matter of seconds, not a matter of emails. In this article, we aim to provide some tips and insights into how to streamline your working from home process and help you get the most out of this period of uncertainty.
Tip 1: Set out a daily routine on working days and stick to it.
One of the reasons we become productive at work are through our learned behaviours we complete on a repeated basis, as well as the discipline that comes with doing things to a schedule. Setting a time to get up in the morning and trying to emulate your working hours and schedule can be a perfect way to maintain that discipline. Waking up hours later than normal could lead to lethargy and a sense of apathy for work when one has to inevitably make the time up later in the evening from a lie-in. The current situation worldwide has provided a lot of uncertainty, fear and worry around the future, and one of the best ways to combat this sense of helplessness is to stick to a routine you have established before or set one out in stone around other commitments.
Tip 2: Call, call call!
One of the most invaluable aspects of office working is the ability to detect emotion, body language, and also the ease of communication through the face to face medium. Indeed, we may have a tiny question which could go unanswered for quite some time as email does not demand the attention as much as other mediums of contact. However, integrated video tools like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams allow dynamic, in-depth confirmation which transcends the one-dimension method of simply calling one another. Group discussions can be carried out clearly in a natural format, without the clutter that comes with very long email threads. The instantaneous nature of delivery and retrieval of rich communication prevents the crossing of line and boosts workflow for all.
Tip 3: Don’t be hard on yourself – work your hours, then finish
Working at home can often feel less productive than being in the office. Depending on your job, this could be slightly less productive, to even more productive than normal! For some though, there will be a sense of compensation they feel is needed as the luxury of being at home and lack of constant contact with managers can breed anxiety over their own workflow. Having personal and professional boundaries is crucial to working from home, as too often employees go above and beyond their own capacities to prove they are doing all of their work. For example, staying two hours after your finish time at the office is a rare exploit for some, but how many of us have no problem continuing our work from home way into the night? In reference to Tip 1, give yourself a definitive start and end time and prioritise your work agenda for that day. When the work day comes to an end, close your laptop/computer and go and do a separate activity (go for a walk, exercise) to provide a clear transition from work to home life.
Tip 4: Get active and have a refresh
The comfort of our own home makes it easier than ever to sit, unmoving, for the remainder of our day. Aside from being terrible for your posture and general health, the toll of sitting all day working without moving about can really take a toll on your outlook, particularly when there is already a blurred line between work and home. Some may find solace in their spare room, their kitchen or their lounge – but consider moving offices places once or twice in a day if possible to get a bit of a break from your surroundings, but also to keep things fresh, as we don’t know how long we’ll be in this situation. Stretch, grab a coffee, run up the garden – keep your body active and your best mindset will follow suit.
Tip 5: Use the allotted exercise time
A great way to separate life and work is to ‘fullstop’ your day with a run, walk or other form of exercise. The physical exertion nurtures your body, but mentally provides the much needed break and gain of perspective that is needed after a day of productivity. Anecdotally, many people experience clarity after exercise and a sense of lifted mood, some even forgetting all of their work woes and worries that had dragged them down hours before. The exercise will help to prevent your risk of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, helps to control weight from a more sedentary lifestyle in lockdown, and ultimately can help to aid in your immune response, something we all could use as much of as possible in times like these.
We hope you’ve found our tips helpful and wish you productivity, health and happiness in these times of uncertainty.