With more people than ever working from home (thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak) it can be hard to adjust to your new working environment and ever so tempting to just quickly sort that pile of washing, or make that extra cup of tea that you don’t really need…
So, how can you separate work from home and get focused? We’ve got 11 tips to help you get going!
Remote working can sometimes make us feel cut-off from regular office life. Using instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with team members and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.
Check out this blog post on tools to use for effective remote working.
Make a dedicated workspace
Just because you’re not physically working in the office doesn’t mean you can’t make your own!
If possible, dedicate a specific room to work in, try and avoid areas associated with leisure, like your room or the lounge. Having a consistent space to work in will help you get into the right frame of mind!
Do all the things you’d normally do to prepare yourself for the office
The mental association you make between work and an office can make you more productive, and there’s no reason that should be lost when telecommuting.
When working from home, do all the things you’d normally do to prepare yourself for the office: Set your regular alarm, put on office wear or uniform, make a coffee etc. If you normally have a long commute, perhaps replace that time with a new exercise routine to wake the brain up, or make a nice breakfast to set you up for the day!
Schedule your day
It can be easy to burn yourself out or lose focus when you don’t have things to help you break up the day, like in-person meetings.
To stay on task, schedule your work for the day, what and when you’ll do things. If you have an online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when to start on new tasks. Microsoft To Do is an easy way to stay on track. And don’t forget or feel guilty for taking breaks at the end of each task.
Use music to help stay in work mode
Listen to music that matches the energy of the project you’re working on.
Video game soundtracks are designed to help you focus; it only makes sense that it would help you focus on your work as well! Or, use noise-cancelling headphones to block out the background noise.
Communication is key when it comes to any role but when it comes to remote workers it is more important than ever. It can be easy to feel disconnected when working from home, so it is your job to schedule in regular face to face team meetings and 1:1’s to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Microsoft Teams makes it easy to schedule meetings video calls with colleagues, whether it’s the whole team or one on one. Share screens, ideas, chat, Teams has some great features! Plus you can use it for free!
If you’re new to Teams, learn how to properly structure your teams and channels here.
Prepare lunch the night before
Don’t spend your lunch break preparing food, make it the night before so you can spend your time eating and actually taking a break. Don’t be tempted to eat and work, you need some time away from the screen.
Take your breaks outside (when you can)
At the moment you can’t exactly take a quick walk to our favourite local coffee shop, but you can enjoy the fresh air from your garden. Go and bask in the sun while it’s here and make sure to take regular breaks away from the screen!
Interact with other humans
It’s important that you remember you’re working from home, not Mars. If you live with family or friends, take a break to see what their up to – have lunch together! If you live alone, why not give a friend a FaceTime during your break? Not all contact has to be with colleagues!
Make time for self-care
This one’s a biggie, especially if you’re new to working from home! Sometimes it’s easy for the line between “work” and “home” to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time (see next point). So, make sure you allocate time for you!
Now is the perfect time to finally get the fitness routine in place and make healthy, nutritious meals so that you can be focused and productive when you need to be!
Know when to “log off”
Working from home can sometimes leave you getting so caught up in what you’re doing that you forget the time, and before you know it, its 7 pm!
Without colleagues packing up to signal the end of the day, it can be easy to go over your working hours, especially in the beginning. You could try setting an alarm at the end of the day, so you know when you should be saving work and logging off for the evening.
The best part of working remotely is having the flexibility to work when you are most productive, so be careful about setting the standard that you are available 24/7.