For so many of us we’ve been working at home since governments said to do so back in March. Mine started on the 19th March ahead of the warnings. Although I’m office based 5 days a week, there are lots of home workers at our company and others who do a combination.
I love working in the office. I’m an extroverted introvert. I like time on my own, and don’t like to rely on others, I’m not a big socialiser. But I work best with people around me – the buzz of an office (or cafe), plenty of people to chat to. And I prefer having face to face conversations with people. Working from home is bearable when it’s only occasional, so it’s been a big adjustment.
It’s looking like it’ll definitely be long term for me – a few people will be back in the office where they’re struggling at home. But the rest of us may have the occasional socially distanced meeting there but will stay working from home.
For those of us not used to working from home, there’s so many ways it can be more productive, especially if you’ve a bit of flexibility with your hours. Over the past few months, it’s been a case of not only adjusting to a new home environment, but also home-schooling at the same time or managing childcare. Luckily, N is old enough and sensible enough to just get on with his school work, so it wasn’t too painful. And school holidays he can do his own thing while I work, or go out on the farm to work.
Here’s some of the ways to make working from home work
1, Set a routine and stick to it. If the normal office working day works for you, then continue doing that
2, Work to your strengths – if you’re better in the morning, work to that.
3, Call people and see them on video calls. It makes you feel more supported and part of things at work.
4, Set up informal break time chats – even if 15 mins, use it for your coffee break and catch up to talk non work things, as you might do in the office.
5, Shorten meetings to have a break before back to back zoom calls. It’s hard work being on zoom all day, so finishing meetings to have 5-10 mins to change headspace and take a break will make it easier. Others will love you for giving them time too.
6, Allow yourself to do home things if needed. Unload the dishwasher, put on washing. Most people work longer hours at home and you get fewer distractions at home. So allowing a set amount of time to do this things when needed, shouldn’t encroach on work.
7, Take a break for lunch (I’m terrible at this – usually I spend it preparing dinner, then eat my lunch in front of my laptop).
8, Switch off equipment each evening when you pack up, and ideally put it away or shut it in another room. You need to be able to separate work and home life.
9, If you like background buzz but the radio is too distracting, try looking up white noise or even office noise online. Youtube has options and it’ll feel like you’re in the office rather than sitting in silence.
10, Look into doing meditation or relaxation techniques. This can help with sleep and reaction to stress..
11, Have online socials outside of work time – virtual quizzes, bingo, drinks evenings.
12, Have a set working space, and make sure you have the correct equipment you need. If you need a monitor get one, a proper office chair. If you don’t have one of your own, can you get equipment you need sent out to you from work.
If you’re a home worker, or are a normal office worker but found what works for you at home, what tips do you have?