As Lockdown 2 kicks in for the majority of people around the UK, I thought I’d share my top five tips for working from home.
I’ve been working at home on and off for just over five years now, so I’ve picked up a few good ways of working, let’s crack on with looking at them!
1. Have a completely separate working space, wherever possible
I have a completely separate office at home, pictured above (yes, the desk and the wall need re-painting. No, the desktop isn’t normally that tidy). It’s a bit of a dark box in my cellar but it’s completely separate to the rest of the house and I can shut the door on it when I’m finished working at the end of the day, whenever that is.
Of course, I’m very, very lucky to have this space, but if this isn’t possible, try and create an office in a corner of a room that you can separate off somehow, with a bookcase or a blind or similar.
Looking for some home office inspiration? Quarry and Castle’s Pinterest account has been pinning WFH setups – have a look!
I’ve found that if the computer is always somewhere in the main part of the house, i.e. the kitchen table, a side table in the living room, then it’s a lot harder to switch off when you need to.
Also, having a dedicated space helps when it comes to your wellbeing. As tempting as it is to sit/lie on the couch all day, it won’t do your back any good in the long run (I speak from personal experience). Having a proper desk & office chair will avoid this.
Another linked tip is to try and get everything you need in one place before you start work – chargers, stationery etc. It’s easy to lose focus if you’re having to run around the house finding all the bits you normally keep in drawers in the office.
2. Remember to move away from the computer
If you’re in an office, chances are you remember to have a screen break every now and again, even if it’s only a quick coffee and chat with a colleague.
It is very easy to forget to do this when you’re at home. Step away from the screen, give your eyes a rest and get some liquid down you at the same time. Another major WFH benefit – you get to choose exactly what type of tea and coffee you drink (Hint: if it’s not Yorkshire Gold, you’re doing it wrong! 😀)
3. Keep in touch
E-mail is a wonderful thing but it can also lead to protracted, ping pong conversations.
Need some feedback on that important document before it goes out? Try setting up a Zoom/Teams call with the reviewer rather than bouncing mails back and forth.
It’s a bit of human contact that breaks up the day and allows you to catch up in a way that e-mail never will. Everyone is in the exact same boat, chances are your colleague could do with a chat as well.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be limited to just work. Is there a colleague you haven’t spoken to for a while? See if they fancy a catchup.
4. Get some fresh air
This is linked to the tip above. If you’re not used to being home based, there can be a tendency to feel as though you need to be in front of the computer at all times of the day, in case anyone catches you skiving but you’re legally entitled to a break.
British weather permitting, try and get outside for a bit. I’m based in south Liverpool and again, I’m lucky to have several lovely parks nearby to wander around, see the photos below, but even a quick walk around the block helps clear the mind and reset, I’ve found.
Images courtesy of Formidable Photography – Instagram
5. Do what works for YOU
All of the above are merely tips, hints or suggestions. There are literally thousands of posts around at the moment, that will tell you working their way WILL make you a millionaire, successful business guru, etc. Get up three hours before you go to bed, or you’re not even trying, that sort of thing. Don’t pay any attention to these posts, you know how you work best!
I know I’m at my best in the afternoon so that’s why I try and schedule any tasks that require a bit of thought and creativity, once the first few pints of tea have kicked in! If your job allows you this kind of flexibility, then try and maximise it to your benefit.
These aren’t the easiest times for anyone, be realistic in what you can achieve in the circumstances and be kind to yourself!
Additional, bonus tip: This is a general productivity/positivity tip rather than one linked to working from home! If you’re not the type of person who makes their bed after you get up, give it a go. I never used to be, until a friend suggested I try it. I’m sure someone can explain the psychology behind it, but it somehow puts you in a more positive, ready to go mood.
EDIT: I went away and did some research and apparently it’s to do with getting the first task of the day boxed off successfully – makes sense!
So those are my working from home tips, I hope they help you. I’m sure there are lots I haven’t thought of yet, if you have any to share please leave them in the comments below or share on our social media!