Working from home

Thanks to a certain pandemic sweeping the globe, many people (including us) are in the situation of having to work from home.  Whether this is a completely new experience for you or something you do on a regular basis, we’ve come up with a list of things to remember when working at home.

Dressing for the occasion
Whilst we understand that the idea of working in your pyjamas may be a life goal for some, getting dressed when working from home has its benefits.  Even if you’re just swapping one t-shirt for another, the mere act of changing clothes will allow your brain to slide into “work mode” thus potentially making you more productive and allowing you to focus more easily.  Likewise, changing back into your pyjamas at the end of the day tells your brain that the work day is over.

Whether you need to change into full business attire completely depends on the job you do – for example, if you don’t wear a suit to the office, you probably don’t need to wear one at home.  That said, if you’re planning on taking videos calls whist at home, perhaps steer away from the death metal band shirt in favour of a shirt.

Establish Boundaries
Traditionally, when not working from home, you’ll probably have set hours of work – you should also have the same when working from home.  Ideally, you’d start and finish at the same time you would normally if you were travelling to/from the office.

Space permitting, set aside a specific area in your home where you can set yourself up.  Not all of us have the luxury of a spare bedroom we can turn into an office so anywhere in the home that isn’t your bed will do - the corner of a dining table, a particular surface in your kitchen or even a specific chair you sit in every day.

Ideally, you’ll find a space to work where you’re not likely to be disturbed however, If there are other people in the house, you will also need to establish boundaries with them too.  Let them know when and where you will be working so they can work around you.  That said, we’ve all seen the now infamous video of Professor Robert Kelly being interviewed live by BBC news when his children burst into the room so we all know it’s not easy but do your best.  (apparently that video has been viewed over 30 million times - who knew?)

Get out and about without leaving the house
Traditionally, this is where we would recommend that you take some time during the day to take a walk.  If you feel it’s safe to do so then by all means, do it.  

If not, something as simple as having a cup of coffee in your garden could be enough to reset your headspace.  Alternatively, if you don’t have a garden, don’t want to go outside or are just  missing the constant hustle and bustle of an office, why not use your computer speakers to get that feeling whilst you work from home?  Plenty of sound effect videos are available via YouTube - everything from coffee shop to office background noises can be found with some of them lasting 10 hours!.  We’ve included links below for some of the videos we’ve been using below:

Busy Restaurant Ambience (10 Hrs)

Office Sounds (2 Hrs)

Coffee Shop Background Noise (1 Hr)

Make a playlist of your favourites so you can just press play and let it go in the background.

Pick up the phone
When at work, you’re likely to engage with colleagues in some way, shape or form but when you’re working from home, you may end up spending a whole day without speaking to a single person.  Not only can this make you feel more isolated than you already are but, in the long term, can have negative effects on your mental health.  Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation rather than relying on emails or instant messaging.  Better yet, why not try video calling?  Some companies have arranged for a company-wide video call every Monday whilst others have one every day.  Either way, talking to people can only be a good thing.

Take regular breaks
It’s good to have a routine when working from home but that doesn’t mean working should be monotonous.  One way of stopping it becoming this way is to not stay glued to your screen all day.  It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office - being cooped up without stopping for a break can mean that your productivity levels drop as well as ending up feeling less motivated to complete what you’re working on.  Even a walk from your home office to the kettle for coffee and back again could be enough to reset your brain.

Have you found this article helpful? Do you have other suggestions for working at home successfully? We’d love to hear from you - get in touch with us on LinkedIn.