Companies around the world have rolled out mandatory working from home policies with the onslaught of Covid-19. For those that are used to commuting into an office and being surrounded by co-workers, this could feel pretty alien. Figuring out how to stay motivated, deliver results and avoid going stir-crazy is going to be key in maintaining both productivity and peace of mind.
Keep up your standards
Would you roll into your office in your pyjamas without running a comb through your hair? Working from home means you can ditch the business suit but you must get up from bed, take a shower and get dressed. Not only is there a chance that you will have to make a Skype call last minute, if you don’t treat it like a real job, you won’t produce the results that are expected. If your company is asking people to work remotely for the first time, ensure that you are fully set up in terms of the technology that you require. Do you need to set up the chat app Slack or install tech for webinars? Spend some time making sure everything is running smoothly because this will save you time and energy going forwards.
Create a dedicated work space
It’s not necessary to covert a room into a home office, you may not have the space anyway. However, there are simple things that you can do that can separate your home from your working space and also signal to other people that you are living with that you are in work mode. Don’t lie in bed with a laptop, set up your computer on a table with a chair so you are forced to sit properly and protect your back from aches and pains. Whatever room you choose to work in, especially if you have children in the house, shut the door so you can achieve your dedicated work hours. If you are sharing child care with a partner, ensure that you both understand each other’s work schedule so you can respect the time when you are working.
It’s good to talk
Communication will be key to successful homeworking, especially for those that are new to it. Find out exactly what is expected from you, starting with a call in the morning and a catch up call at the end of the day. Have clear goals and expectations on both sides and ensure that when the working day is over, you pack up and do something different. If you are new to a role and being supported, make sure that continues remotely. Don’t feel like you should know exactly what you are doing, you need the same support as if you were in the office.
Don’t underestimate how important working with others is for your social life. Working from home can feel isolating and loneliness is a real issue making people feel less motivated and productive. With coronavirus, we don’t know how long people will be working from home for so it is important to address the stress on mental health too. We may not be able to meet up face to face but virtual chats can be fun too. Suggest coffee breaks with colleagues and chat over What’s App or Skype and even have a drink together in the evening to signal the end of the day.
You may have an office job and not think that you are particularly active but working from home means that you will be doing even less steps than normal. Incorporate some exercise time into your day to make up for the lack of commute and general movement in an office. There are lots of home work outs you can do free of charge on YouTube. The Body Coach has to be one of the most popular but you can find a whole host of videos to get you moving. From yoga through to strength training, there are even videos that you can do if you have injuries so there’s no excuses. Let your colleagues know that you aren’t available for a set time during the day so you are not tempted to check emails or feel guilty for not working. Suggest to your manager that everyone has the opportunity for some exercise, it will make you think clearer and give you a focus to the day.
Commute less, learn more
With no commute to contend with, we should all have more time on our hands. Keep your spirits lifted with challenging yourself to learn some new skills via online learning. Find out what your company can offer and if there are any webinars you can get on. LinkedIn Learning offers video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills and could offer a chance to open up new avenues of work in the future.
It’s easy to fall into bad habits when working from home so you need to be disciplined. Eat well, get fresh air and take regular breaks to ensure that you are at your best both mentally and physically. Listen to inspiring podcasts if you are lacking motivation and pick up the phone and actually talk to people instead of sending off emails or text messages. Ensure that you are eating enough fruit and vegetables so consider having regular smoothies or making vegetable rich soups.
Top tips for homeworkers
- Create a set schedule much like you would do in an office.
- Set ground rules with people who you live with.
- Schedule in exercise and socialising breaks.
- Communicate regularly with your manager and other colleagues.
- Carve out a dedicated work area.
- Use technology to stay connected.
- Try not to get distracted with home chores.
- Open the window to get fresh air in.