In this time of Corona Virus we're going to be working from home for possibly a couple of weeks or even longer... I've been working from home for a good number years on a bit of a part time basis when I'm not travelling. At times it's not easy to do it as there are plenty of distractions in the home. However I've got a number of tips and tricks that I've learnt over my time which has made my working from home far more efficient!
1. Stick to your usual routine
If you get up when your heading to the office at 6am. Do the same. If you exercise before the office. Do the same. Your body is used to the routine of these things and you are mentally in a place that you are ready to work say at 9am. I've found this is always sets my day up in the same way that I would when in the office. If I take a lie in and think I won't go to the gym or I won't set an alarm I always find I'm more lethargic and less productive in the day.
2. Work at a desk
I'm lucky I have a office which I have my work computer set up with extra screens, docking station etc... I realise it's not possible for everyone to work like this as you might have to double up the kitchen table as your desk. However do work where possible at some kind of desk. I also suffer really badly with back issues from time to time as many people do, so you may want an adjustable chair. I can't stress enough how much a good chair can support you and save you a fortune in Chiropractor fees down the line!
Don't sit in bed, or sit on the sofa. Unless you work for some kind of start up in Shoreditch you probably don't work sat at sofa in the office - so why would you at home. It's about being focused whilst you are at home. Sat doing the emails whilst watching homes under the hammer isn't probably going to be that productive....
3. Don't stay glued to the desk
Sound's easy and of my tips and tricks this is probably one of the ones that I'm bad at. However we all stop for lunch at work, or we travel to the office for a period of time. If you follow step one of getting up the usual time (in my case 6) you could find that you are at your desk at 6.30am and don't step away from it. I'm not suggesting that you take a 3 hour lunch and go and do the weekly shop. However I do think stepping away from the desk for a while does help you mentally clear your head! Go for a drive, go for a walk! Have a read of my other posts... Perhaps pick one of my favourites from the Williams F1 Experience!
If it's not possible to do step 2 and you do have to work at the kitchen table declutter first. Don't sit there between the washing, last nights dinner plates or anything else. Make your area that you are working in as professional as you can. If you are working in the home office and you've got a list of bills to pay file them away or get them done. Be focused on the work that you are doing!
5. When working from home work how you would in the office
Sounds simple right? But if you can't have the personal phone and sit on Facebook Messenger at work then you shouldn't do that at home. Stating the obvious but try and work how you would in the office. This not only helps you with the focus on work, but it also helps you with the differentiation between work and home life.
6. Try and get out the house
Even if it's for half an hour. Walk the dog. Go to the gym. If you always walk the dog before you go to work do it at the same time. As point 1 says it's about maintaining your body's rhythm and patterns it's used to. It's more than that though in that you need to where possible get out of the cabin fever. Get out and get some air. If you work from home for a few days straight through but don't leave the house you are going to get proper cabin fever with being in the same place for all that time.
7. Tell your family you are working
Again appears simple - but if your family or your housemates understand what you are trying to do they can help you in all this. It's not meant to be a case that you are shut away, but more for your focus. If your partner would ring you to tell you x piece of news at work, that the same as them coming up and telling you that in the room your working in. If they wouldn't then tell them not to. Might sound harsh but you then don't get your focus disturbed. That news is for the lunch hour part of the day!
8. Call your colleagues
I'm used to remote working, so I've a load of meetings that I dial into (when I say dial - I actually mean webex into!) on a regular basis which keeps me in contact with the staff in the office. I find it vital that I speak with others from the office during the day. Even if it's just a quick chat about something mundane it's contact with other people in the business going through the same things as you are. Not only can you find out news it also allows you to keep sane especially if you live and work alone.
9. Switch off
Now this is the one that I'm the worst at and to be fair I questioned if I should put it in. But I did. It's called working from home for a reason. It's not letting the job take over your life at home... If you are working at the kitchen table because you have to then pack away your items and switch off. If you are working in an office in a bedroom. Shut the door at 6pm and try not to go back in it. We all have phones now that we look at 24/7 and whilst that I am sure will not change, make sure that you step away from the desk and formal work environment.
10. Take Care of yourself at Working from Home
Again feels alien with everything that's going on in the world at the moment but this is also key! Look after yourself, your loved ones and make sure you take time for your mental health above anything else!