Coronavirus: 5 Tips for Working at Home When You're Used to an Office
As the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise, so have the number of companies asking their employees to work from home.
It’s realistic to assume that shifting to the ‘home office’ will become the new normal for many of us for the next while, given that the coronavirus has officially reached ‘pandemic’ status, according to the World Health Association.
While some people prefer to work from home anyway, you may be among the many working professionals who’d rather come into the office for your regular 9 to 5.
So, if you’re not used to working remotely for an extended period, how can you be sure that you’re being as productive from your living room as you are in the office?
These 5 tips for working from home may be key to your success.
1. Know How You Work
Working from home presents challenges and opportunities that require you to approach your workday differently. You have more freedom and control over how you work – which is great – but to make that more impactful you need to align how you work from home to how you work in the office. Keeping up with your typical day-to-day schedules and routines will keep you motivated and productive.
Try to set your alarm and wake up for the time you would during your usual working week, going about your morning as normal. Get dressed, brush your teeth, eat your breakfast, and head over to your new office – just a few paces away.
Take some time to sit down and understand your work-style and how to adapt accordingly to your new workspace. Use those insights to then successfully plan your approach. Be mindful about when you work best throughout the day and consider what you want to prioritise and accomplish, blocking out chunks of time for each of your tasks.
2. Get into the Right Mindset
Creating a dedicated workspace is the most effective way to make working from home feel like you’re at the office. You don’t need to invest in an actual ‘home office’ to do this either. All you need is a little planning to get into the right mindset.
Think about where and how you feel you’ll work best. Is it on your living room couch? At the kitchen table? Near a window? Whatever your preference, position your workspace in such a way that you can concentrate and commit yourself to your work.
Make sure that your workspace is tidy, that you have minimal background noise and a good internet connection. This way you avoid being distracted, and you can hold yourself accountable to a productive workday.
3. Boost Communication
Working from home means you should have clear communication in knowing exactly what’s expected of you.
Most people who work in an office spend their days around their superiors, meaning communication is typically very easy. However, your boss might not be used to managing people remotely, so ensuring the right tools, resources, and guidelines are in place while you’re remote working is crucial.
Establish how to best communicate with your boss and colleagues from the get-go, as the best line of communication tends to vary from person to person.
Use the same technology
Using the same technology platforms as your colleagues means keeping things in line for when you’re back in the office.
Utilise phone and video chat where possible and be thorough and concise in written emails to avoid confusion.
Make sure you have access to data
Some jobs require you to physically be in the office to access company data. Make sure you have a plan in place regarding how you’ll manage your responsibilities without that access at home.
Ask for what you need
If there’s any tool or resource you’re lacking while working at home, don’t hesitate to ask for what you need so that you can get your job done comfortably and efficiently.
4. Combat Isolation
Working from home can feel unstructured, isolating, and sometimes even lonely. This can make you feel less motivated, less productive, and bring your overall mood down.
Globally, we’re all dealing with a lot of stress as the media streams endless COVID-19 updates through our televisions and onto our social media feeds. It’s hard not to feel distracted and overwhelmed, but healthy ways of managing these feelings that promote your physical and mental health can help.
Taking scheduled breaks, for example, is an excellent way to fight feelings of isolation and loneliness. When taken effectively, breaks can help you recharge your focus and give your mind the right fuel to continue your day productively.
You can phone a friend, read a book, make yourself a healthy snack, or work up a sweat with an at-home workout. Whatever you do, it’s important to get your mind and body out of self-isolation mode even if you are – well – in isolation.
5. Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Space
Setting ground rules with the people you share your home with is important when you’re trying to get things done remotely. Interruptions can significantly harm your productivity, and when you work from home, your family and friends can be the most common sources of interruption.
If you have children, a spouse, or perhaps a roommate who comes home while you’re still working, be proactive, share your schedule, and set your boundaries early on. Communicate that you will not be overly available to them while you’re on the clock, and practise saying ‘no’ if need be.
Don’t assume that people will automatically respect that you’re still working even though you’re working from home because chances are, they won’t. Your remote working is as much of an adjustment for them as it is for you, so help them understand as best you can.
As actions to curb the spread of the coronavirus escalate, urgent focus is being placed on organisations to allow their staff to work remotely. When you’re not used to working from home it can be a real challenge, however, we encourage you to hang in there and remain adaptable – even if that means helping to keep the cogs of your business running from afar.
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