Before the global pandemic, working from home sounded like a luxury that most workers could only dream of. In 2020, with the world having to adjust to new lockdown measures, working remotely became the norm. With such a substantial change comes advantages and disadvantages. How do you succeed at working from home? Maintain a good work-life balance? Remain productive? Achieve your goals and stay motivated?
Here are a few tips to become successful while working from the comfort of your own home:
Take advantage of your new morning routine
Many of us used to have an established schedule that kept us moving in the morning. The alarm rang at 5, 6 or 7am, then a quick breakfast that you might have skipped to catch the train, tube or bus. Or perhaps you started with a morning workout, heading to a yoga class or for a swim. Now that you don’t have to commute to work, it saves a lot of time. But don’t waste it on sleep, use it to improve your well-being.
Wake up at your usual time and simulate your commute to the station by having a nice walk or run. It’s good exercise that will give you a significant energy boost for the rest of the day. Once you’re home, having tea/coffee and a proper breakfast will improve your energy level even more. Start your working day with a well-nourished mind and soul.
When working from home you may be able to be more flexible. If you’re an entrepreneur, Director or CEO, it allows you to organise your time and work at your own pace knowing that you’ve got access to all files and documents 24 hours a day.
However, if you’re part of a team that still requires you to work traditional office hours then it’s unlikely you’ll be able to work a different schedule than everyone else. Ensure you have your days organised and mapped out, with a set schedule including tea/coffee and lunch breaks. It is important to schedule outdoor time as well in order to improve your energy levels which in turn will improve motivation and productivity.
Organise your home office
It’s essential to find a room or an area where no one can disturb you. Your new “office space” should have windows for ventilation and natural light if possible (otherwise invest in a good light). Have access to plenty of plugs to charge your devices, good internet connection, a sturdy desk or table and an ergonomic chair. Bring your favourite pen and notepad, have a pretty plant nearby and make sure there’s always a fresh glass or bottle of water to hand – you need to stay hydrated. This kind of setup will help you stay organised and separate your home life from your work life as best as possible.
Limit your distractions
Nothing is more distracting than the tv playing in the background, the doorbell ringing or people bustling in and out of rooms while you’re trying to concentrate. If you’re living in a small space where you can’t physically separate yourself by having a designated office, try investing in some high quality noise cancellation headphones to help.
Advise your colleagues that you are only contactable by phone at set hours, or to email you first if they want to schedule a call. This means you can turn your phone off or lock it in a drawer to limit your temptation to scroll through social media or reply to that Whatsapp chat.
Another distraction might be the household duties that keep reminding you to vacuum or clean the bathroom. Even if you spot something, remind yourself that’s not part of your office job. Wait until for coffee/lunch break or for your working day to finish to tackle your housework.
Don’t forget to add window treatments such as blinds or a glass film that will give you privacy and keep your eyes away from the distraction outside.
Be prepared for the meetings
Working from home means all meetings will be virtual via platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Stay organised, plan them ahead ensuring all questions, talking points and notes are prepared.
Working from home, may mean a more relaxed vibe than your office, however, don’t show up to video meetings in pyjamas, with wet hair or a face mask on. You still need to maintain a level of professionalism so that your manager, employees and other suppliers know that you’re still dedicated to your role while working from home.
If you don’t have an appropriate professional background at home use a virtual background. Thanks to technology and Zoom options, you can pretend as if you are in a library, on holiday or upload your own favourite place to be your background.
Don’t forget to interact with people
The pandemic has limited our face-to-face interactions, but online events are still happening. Companies organise virtual events, conferences and workshops to keep employee morale high and customer interest high. Find a virtual activity such as online training, art night, wine tasting, webinar, escape room etc. With everything going virtual, it’s important to find time for your personal development as well as networking.
You may not be able to work or meet people as before but it doesn’t mean life is not moving forward. Certain changes make us reconsider our habits and build new ones that could be more beneficial for our career and success. These small considerations mentioned above will help you get things done and keep your spirits up.