If you are now working from home, it’s very easy to become distracted or procrastinate when the usual structures and routines of the workplace aren’t there, so here’s some quick tips for success I have learned from 10 years of working from home.
- Set yourself up for work: if you have a separate study or a room you can close off, use it to avoid distractions! Find a comfortable adjustable chair and have your laptop at a comfortable height on a desk (lying on the couch with a laptop for a day isn’t as great as it sounds). Ideally you should have a desktop monitor and keyboard if you are doing a lot of computer work.
- Dress the part: Dressing as if I am going to work helps to keep me ‘in the work zone’ for the day, but others like to dress casually working at home. Whatever works for you is fine but remember if you are doing video calls others will see you, so I suggest at least the top half of your outfit should be business like for those calls.
- Set your working hours: Don’t feel like you must work long days just because you are at home, boundaries are important. Set time to start and end your working day and include regular breaks.
- Minimise distractions and procrastination: Stick to your usual office habits where possible, building in breaks for social media, lunch, personal phone calls etc. Have a to do list and stick with it – if it’s not on the list it’s not getting done. Use a time management tool such as Pomodoro to break your work into chunks and get a sense of achievement as you tick things off your list each day.
- Video conference etiquette: Remember that the camera is on ALL the time when in a video conference, so be mindful of your hand gestures and facial expressions, as well as any sidebar conversations and other distractions, such as the dog barking!
- Stay in touch with your workmates: Work has an important social function too, so call at least one workmate each day to see how they are going, catch up on a work issue, maybe do a video coffee break with your team. Be sure to reach out to your manager or workmates to resolve work issues, the same as you would if you were in the office.
- Don’t forget to be active: Give yourself breaks during the day, take the dog for a walk in the morning, or take an online fitness class – your physical and mental health is important too.