Found yourself working from home recently thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic? As I’m sure everyone is aware, the world has been turned on his head as businesses scramble to adapt to their workers working remotely. Dialling into Teams conference calls and Zoom meetings has suddenly become the norm. If you’re techies like us, we’re used to this way of working, but for some the struggles of working remotely can be overwhelming. Here are our Top 5 Tips to working from home!
1. Keep active
My partner and I have found keeping active to be the number one activity to perform while we have been working from home. It’s easy to fall into the trap of waking up at 8:55am ready to work at 9:00am. This isn’t good for your work productivity and you’ll quickly feel ‘less ready’ and less productive in your work day mornings. So stick to your normal morning routine – get up at 6:00am like you would, and instead of taking the car or train to work, use that time to exercise. Whether that’s taking a leisurely walk for 30 minutes, a run to the park or even performing a home workout session. Get the blood pumping, wake up and get ready for a productive day!
2. Separate your work from home life
When working from home on the odd day during the week, it’s quite nice to plonk down on the sofa in front of the sofa and enjoy the TV while watching your emails, however when asked to work from home 5 days a week, this will become counter productive and leads to a lazy lifestyle. Personally, I’ve found having my own office space away from the TV leads me to work efficiently. No more distractions, just me, some music and a brew (that’s English tea for some of you…). Not only is this good for productively, it’s also good for your mental health – you do not want to have your laptop open at your kitchen table all day while the kids run around screaming. Treat it as a normal working day, take your mind away from where your working from and instead invest in your work.
3. Stick to your normal work time
I think we’ve all been there, couple more lines of code, a few more emails or the last changes to a configuration setup… 2 hours later it’s 7:30pm and we’re still sat working. Whether you finish at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm – stick to that time. Switch off. Shutdown your laptop. Just like you would if you were in the office, pretend it’s home time, say to yourself “It’s nearly home time.” to remind your brain it’s time to switch off and go into ‘home’ mode. Working from home means you cut out that commute time which can be useful for most – do the washing up, take the rubbish out or simply go out for some fresh air.
4. Take regular breaks
As you would in the office, get up to make a brew or chat to a colleague – carry on doing so at home. Of course it’s a little difficult now working from home to just pop over to Dave and ask him how his weekend was. Nevertheless you can still get up a make a drink, a snack or even just stretch off for a few minutes. As my final tip will mention, make use of audio calls to speak to colleagues rather than just email or instant chat. It’s nice sometimes to hear people rather than read their text. Remember to take your lunch hour and stay away from your desk as you would in the office. Sometimes that one thing that you’re stuck on and have been working on all morning will come to you from a small 10 minute break away from your laptop…
5. Encourage video & audio calls
Finally, my last tip is to make use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Both provide fantastic functionality in creating internal and external meetings both with audio and video capabilities. Note: Microsoft Teams does require the Audio Conferencing licence to allow dial in via a phone. Instant chat with colleagues on Teams instead of writing that lengthy email or set up a meeting in seconds with Outlook calendar integration. Get all your colleagues on board so you can create productive channels of communication to get that office feel of bouncing ideas and collaboration – the possibilities are endless!
Thank you all for making it through my Top 5 Tips for working from home. I hope some of you found at least of these useful. I’d love to hear in the comments below some of your tips you’ve found useful in your time working from home!