Here’s how you can rock working from home.
Working from home at the time of writing is the reality for many of us around the world.
Some of us have taken to remote working like a duck to water. I see so many people logging into their work accounts with no ICT problems, posing with a matching tea set for that perfect Instagram shot of remote working life.
I’ve previously shared what NOT to do when working from home, based on my own failures when working from home and which included eating the entire contents of my fridge. While I wanted to share an honest look at the downsides of remote working, I’m also keen to share how you can make working from home work for you.
Whether you’re working from home out of choice or necessity, here are 10 steps to help you love remote working:
1. Get a dedicated space
Whether it’s a seat at the kitchen table or a specific study room, you need to actually have a specific space where you go when you need to focus on work at home. This will help you get in the right headspace for work so that when you go that dedicated space, you and others around you know that you are there to work – not scroll through social media.
2. Set up boundaries
From the moment people know you’re working from home, the dynamic changes. Partners may ask you to sign for their deliveries, friends may contact you more because they know you’re likely to be available for a quick chat. You’re at home to work and will likely get frustrated if you can’t do that. What will help is setting up boundaries with those in your space and those in your life so that they’re aware of when you will and won’t be contactable and when you need to put work first.
3. Set your work hours
One of the major issues you might have with working from home is feeling guilty about logging off. You feel like you’re online anyway so why send just one more email? Instead, set your work hours and communicate these to your colleagues and clients so that they know when to expect you to be online. Setting your work hours is a great way to keep a sense of work and life balance so that you can enjoy the full flexibility that can come with working from home.
4. Check your posture
Many of us might be working from the kitchen table, hunched over our laptops whilst sitting on a kitchen stool. This kitchen set-up was made for cooking, not office work. Consequently, you need to ensure that you check your posture at regular intervals, sitting up straight up with your shoulders pulled back. If you are going to be working from home on a regular basis, I would encourage you to invest in an ergonomic chair and desk so that you don’t end up spending that money on a physiotherapist. Check your posture so that you avoid your back making its displeasure known later.
5. Get up and move
If you’re someone who really gets into the zone with your work, it can be easy to stay at your desk all day. To stay energised, make sure you also get up and move at regular intervals. This can be as simple as making time to get up from your desk every hour to refill your water bottle or doing some low key stretches like calve raises at your desk.
6. Get some fresh air
As someone who cannot stand being holed up in the office, I know that I feel more satisfied when I’m changing my environment and breathing in the fresh air. Break out of your home office environment by getting a dose of fresh air at the start, middle or end of the day. You’ll feel more appreciative of your home environment and it’s a great opportunity to build exercise into your day through a walk or run outside.
7. Schedule meal times
A popular meme around working from home is the feeling of constantly raising your fridge. Instead, schedule meal times into your day so that you make time to enjoy shared meals with the household and have a firm routine around your work from home. You’ll also save money on snacks by not having temptation in the house if you know there is one food that you won’t be able to stop yourself snacking on.
8. Keep checking in with colleagues
The downside of working from home is that it can feel isolating at times. Make an effort to keep checking in with your colleagues through weekly team calls and 1:1 catch ups with team members including those you directly supervise and your boss. You can also set up ice breakers at the start of your team call to inject some fun and team building into the process.
9. Try video calls
One of the downsides of email is not being able to see the person at the other end of your communications. Video calls are a great way to set up a meeting without needing to come into the office and are a great way to read the body language of the person at the other end of the call. It also forces you to shower and get dressed before the call so that you build these routines into your day.
10. Wear what feels comfortable yet professional
It can be incredibly tempting when working from home to wake up and roll on your tried and trusty sweat pants. They’re comfortable and you feel relaxed in them when you come home from a hard day at work. So that your sweat pants retain their feel-good magic, keep them reserved for the end of the day so that you have a sense of transition from work to home. You’ll feel sharper during the day and still appreciate your sweat pants as a relaxation signal once the inbox management for the day is complete.
Working home takes adjusting to and rarely will we get it right on our first attempt.
Incorporate these 10 steps into your work day and see if you notice a difference in your productivity. Working from home can be a great way to reduce your commute and get a better work life balance so commit to setting up your space, time and habits so that you make remote working work for you.
Read more: What NOT to do when working from home