Many of us are now working from home due to Covid-19. This has its pros (wearing joggers, listening to whatever music makes you want to crank it up to 11) and its cons (back pain from a non-office chair, no-one to hear your witty one-liners, kids interrupting work calls).
So here are some tips and advice to make working from home both more bearable and productive.
Get up and go to work
Yes, it may be tempting to have a long lay in and just stumble from bed to switch on your laptop but this isn’t the most productive start to the day. Get up to be ready to start work at the same time you normally would, or even a little earlier to squeeze in some morning yoga. Get dressed; I am not suggesting you wear a suit each day (unless you want to), but getting into proper clothes that you wouldn’t be embarrassed at people seeing on a spur of a moment Teams meeting will put you in a better mindset.
Have a routine
It may not be exactly the same schedule as at the office (if only I could have a 10 minute lay down with the cat in my lunch hour every day!) but make it work for you and stick to it as much as you can. For example, I follow my team meeting on Skype each morning with a cup of tea and two chocolate hobnobs, (you may prefer a custard cream) before getting on with the morning’s work. Things may get in the way but try and make your working hours resemble normality as much as possible. This also goes for your finishing time.
My team has a half hour meeting each morning, to catch-up, go through any work worries we have but also to chat and see each other’s lovely faces. Plus, the guest star turns from kids and cats just make it more interesting. Don’t be afraid to email, instant message or *gasp* call your colleague, if you need to ask questions.
Have an office space
If possible have a space set aside to work, this may be the corner of the lounge, at the dining table or an actual at-home office. This is where your computer should be, where any papers should be, and where most of your work takes place. This way you can separate work time and home time appropriately. Make sure you are set up as best you can in terms of posture and placement.
Take regular breaks
It can be very tempting to just sit at your ‘desk’ and work through, but don’t. You wouldn’t be doing that in the office, you would make a round of tea or visit a colleague at their desk Have your lunch away from your laptop and play with your kids/dog/hamster, read a chapter of your book, or even get in a mini-workout. Breaks help your physical and mental wellbeing.
Working from home is a different way of working and a steep learning curve, but this advice will hopefully make things a little easier, regardless of whether you are more Mozart or Metallica, and whichever biscuit you chose to dunk.