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Tips for Working From Home

Across the world, many of us have had to move to home working during this challenging period. Whilst some of us may be used to this, many will be finding this a new experience and perhaps struggling to adapt to this new way of working.

You may also have faced numerous barriers to getting your work done due to interruptions from flat mates or family members, balancing work with home-schooling, or suffering from a lack of energy due to solitude and lost motivation.

You may have heard colleagues talking about how they are being more productive away from the office environment and wondering how they are achieving this. So, if you’ve just started working remotely from home, you may find these tips helpful in getting yourself set up and working productively from home:

Setting up your work area

  • Find or create a workspace that’s comfortable and productive for you, ideally with natural daylight and minimal distractions both within and outside your home.
  • Separate your work space from anyone else working from home at this time to avoid distractions.
  • Check your internet connection is safe and reliable.
  • Set up or check your remote tools such as a virtual meeting platform e.g. Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Skype. Also consider using ‘WhatsApp’ to keep in touch with team members without interrupting their work flow.
  • Have a backup mobile hot spot unless you have a very reliable internet connection.
  • Let your neighbours know that you’ll be working from home so they appreciate your need to remain focused during working hours.
  • Agree signals for no interruptions with family members or flatmates whilst you’re on important calls or meetings and when working on an important task.
  • Agree distanced work or play areas for flatmates or family members, particularly children so that you minimise the disruption for each other.
  • Arrange work tools for family members such a computer for children to complete their school work so they can be productive whilst you work.

Structuring your day

  • Follow your personal energy. If you’re a ‘morning’ person, start early and take breakfast as one of your daily ‘breaks’. You can then finish earlier in the day to focus on keeping fit, having social interactions, maintaining the home or checking in with vulnerable friends and family.
  • Balance your commitments. Plan a structured day that fits with your work, team and personal needs. For example, you may find a morning start with an afternoon break appealing This will allow you to cater for your personal commitments such as childcare, vulnerable friends and family. Alternatively, a later start working through to the early evening or a split day morning and evening may work better for you.
  • Work in ‘team flow’ If you work in a team, the flow of your work as a team will be really important. This is especially true where you are interdependent on each other’s completion of tasks.
  • Get dressed for work, ready for the start of your working day, rather than staying in your pyjamas! For most people, it will make them far more focused and ready to adapt to unscheduled meetings and tasks.
  • Break your days plan into chunks of time. Schedule tasks that you plan to achieve during the course of the day. Break them up into chunks of time; use your on-line calendar like Google Calendar.
  • Schedule harder tasks at your most productive time/s of the day. You’re likely to find the tasks easier and quicker when you have more energy.
  • Build in rewards or short breaks for achieving key tasks before moving on to the next task. Try to make the rewards healthy so they re-energise you. For example, a healthy snack, a short catch up with a flatmate or family member, a walk or break in the garden.

More home working tips

  • Get some fresh air after lunch from your balcony, garden or take a brisk walk if safe to do so at this time, remembering the 2 metre social distancing rule.
  • Schedule calls or virtual ‘catch ups’ for the afternoon, once you’ve completed your key tasks for the day. Most of us experience an energy lull mid-afternoon, but work out when yours is and use it for active or low important, short tasks.
  • Close social media apps to remove the temptation to use it during your ‘work time’. Some people remove them from their toolbar bookmarks to avoid the distraction it can bring.
  • ‘Check in’ with another work colleague to ‘commit’ to your goals and tasks for the day if you get distracted easily working from home. It may then help to review each other’s progress towards the end of the day. Keeping in touch with others during this period can help your personal wellbeing.
  • Listen to inspiring of energising music to help maintain your energy of working from home. It can really spur you on with your task as well as block out distracting noises.
  • Write a plan for the next day at the end of each working day. As a result, you will be more focused at the start of the next working day.
  • Maintain social connections online so you keep in touch with friends and family at this challenging time. When we can’t visit friends and family, we can find alternative ways to connect with them. For example, by using virtual calls over Facetime or WhatsApp for a catch up.

Review, reflect & improve

Finally, reflect on what is and isn’t working for you during your day. Ask yourself:

  • What am I doing that’s keeping me productive?
  • What’s stopping me from being productive?
  • What do I need to change in order to help my productivity at home?
  • Where or whom can I get further insights or inspiration from?

We hope you’ve found these tips for working remotely from home. Get in touch to let us know:

  • What other tips can you share with us to help support others during this challenging period?
  • What else can we do to support you?

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