Working from home; What was a slowly growing trend has now suddenly become a sharp reality for a huge percentage of the workforce globally. In this unique time for everyone, we wanted to give you the top hacks for working from home to help you thrive in this new work environment. Trust us, these few simple things will make a big impact on your productivity and in reducing unnecessary frustration and stress. Let us know of your own experiences in the comments below!
Create a workspace that you want to be in
It doesn’t need to be fancy but having a space that you enjoy being in and has the resources around you that you need, is important. It helps to draw the line between work and the rest of your life and is one of the most underestimated hacks of working from home. Now is your chance to get to design your own workspace. Even if it’s temporary, it’s worth taking the extra time to move a few things around, buy a plant and make your work area feel right.
Set expectations with people for your work hours and space
This is especially important in the current context of self-isolation and people being in their homes much more than usual. It’s helpful for everyone if you are clear with work boundaries and hours upfront. Some find it useful to have a sign or object that notifies others of whether they are free to be interrupted or not. Some create and communicate regular hours in which they can and can’t be disturbed, or for others, a simple pair of headphones can do the trick. The more clear each person is on what the guidelines are around their workspace, the happier everyone will be.
Create a morning routine
One of the great things about going to an office is that it helps us with a morning routine. Even if we don’t always think about it intentionally, we naturally form a routine that works for us to get ready and get to work on time. This is a really healthy thing to continue when working from home. Have a set time you wake up, make your morning coffee, be still, read the paper etc. With travel reduced, most people will also have a little extra time, so plan out a routine or try a few different schedules to see what works. You’ll find you have a much clearer mind and it will help you to get into work mode when it’s time to start your day.
Organise strong channels of communication
A surprising revelation for a lot of people when they transition to working from home is how much they naturally ‘picked up’ by just being present in the office and around conversations and decisions being made that they are no longer able to. Ensuring you have clear communication channels with your co-workers is paramount. Slack, Skype, Zoom, and many other apps and technologies are available to enable this to take place. More than the app itself though is ensuring you have a plan for communicating key information. Regular online WIP meetings, alerts to celebrate wins of the team, and setting up reminders to check-in, are some of the ways you can make sure things are not falling through the cracks and everyone is on the same page. We thankfully live in an age where this is more possible than ever so make sure you take advantage of it!
Collaboration in isolation
Right alongside communication is collaboration. We have a previous blog dedicated specifically to this. Collaboration and idea-sharing are powerful tools in the workplace and they are absolutely still possible when working from home. You may have to be more intentional, but make sure to schedule in time to meet with team members to brainstorm ideas and ask questions. It might take some getting used to but many of us have already been using these technologies to help us be more collaborative online. If you haven’t, there’s no time like the present.
Look good, feel good, play good
Most of us envision the pyjama-clad worker in their bed, typing away at emails when we think of working from home – that’s the best part right? While these are some of the perceived perks of working from home, it can be really helpful for your mind to switch into different clothing as you get ready for work; even if it’s your work official pyjamas as opposed to your sleeping pyjamas. Looking the part can help to feel the part and therefore act the part in regards to the work you’re doing.
Fix regular hours and have a plan
Many studies have been conducted that attribute a good, constant routine with stronger mental health. Here’s one of them. Setting fixed work hours for yourself each week will help you keep a clear mental space and separate work life from home life. Our biggest tip for this, actually stick to it! When you are done with work, totally switch off and be done. And when you’re working, be fully present in that. You will feel far more satisfied with your day if you have a schedule and are able to stick to it. Obviously, there is always room for flexibility but starting with a good foundation will set you up for more productive workdays.
Along with keeping fixed work hours, taking scheduled breaks will give you something different to look forward to throughout your day. We suggest you take the whole break and don’t mix in work with that time. You can help yourself to do this by moving to a separate location, organising the same lunch break as a co-worker so you can have a chat, taking a walk, or reading another section of the novel you’re working through.
We know there are a lot of changes taking place week to week currently and that the unknown can be a cause of stress or anxiety. If you are struggling, make sure you reach out to someone to have a chat and share how you’re feeling. If you’re adjusting well, that’s great! We also suggest making sure you reach out to someone as a simple phone call can go a long way.