Working from home has not only become the new norm for the majority of us but it could continue way into the New Year according to Personnel Today. But the real question is, will it last forever? With a shift in the way we work, investing in new technology such as Zoom, employees becoming accustomed to working from home, can we really see everything going back to the 9-5. Either way, it’s not going back anytime soon so we thought we would give you the full 101 on working from home. Despite working from home for a fair few months now, are we all really aware of the do’s or don’ts or maybe we need a bit of a boost on making it a bit easier.
In our latest blog we’ll be covering both the employee side to working from home and the employer’s side.
“Home working is set to become a long-term trend, according to the British Council for Offices, which has found that most office workers have no plans to return five days a week”
– Personnel Today
Tips For Working From Home
Set A Structured Routine
When working from home it’s easy for the lines between personal and work to get blurred with the distractions that can occur at home. Keeping to your normal working pattern can help not only with providing structure to your day but also maintaining consistency. It’s also important to remember when you are most productive through the day. If you’re a morning person, you may want to schedule your day so that you fit your heavier tasks in the morning to maximise your productivity. Using your calendar to identify what tasks are needed for the day and when you should be doing them can help you create your own schedule. Don’t forget to schedule those breaks in!
“Are mornings for writing while you’re in the office? Use the same schedule at home. While you probably will get tasks done faster at home than at work, this structure will help keep you focused and productive.”
– Ginny Mineo, HubSpot
Create A Dedicated Workspace
Not only is it important to find a workstation at home that meets the “operational” requirements i.e close to a plug for charging your laptop, a suitable table etc but find somewhere you actually enjoy being. There’s nothing worse than sitting in a room or spot at home where you don’t feel 100% comfortable. You also want to dedicate that space to work as that way when you aren’t working you don’t feel as though you are in the working space constantly. You need a getaway and the opportunity to close the door as well as turning off the laptop.
It’s also important to find somewhere in the house where you can avoid the distractions. We know that isn’t always possible with children and pets!
Stay Well Connected To Your Team
It’s easy to feel isolated whilst working from home, especially if the other members in the house are going to the office. Utilising instant messaging platforms that you have at work for example, Slack are nice easy ways to keep the office chat alive. Implementing coffee catch ups or beers o’clock on a Friday are also a nice way of keeping people feeling connected to one another. Don’t be afraid to suggest this or even implement! Put some washing on and use that as a timer for a task.
“As more people work from home for an extended period of time, one in five remote workers have previously said they struggle with loneliness.”
– Buffer Blog, Courtney Seiter
Take Breaks Throughout The Day
Amongst home workers there is a fear of needing to always be present and in some cases, people can worry about taking a break. You are entitled to breaks! Not only for your own wellbeing but your productivity depends on refreshing yourself. Whether that be a coffee break or taking a stroll outside at lunchtime. If you’re someone who finds it difficult to schedule the breaks in, use a practical timer such as your laundry. Yes, we said it, laundry!
“The trouble is that, without any downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient, make more mistakes, and get less engaged with what we’re doing.”
– Chris Lilly, Finder
If there are other people at home, make sure you set clear boundaries with them so they understand when you are working. This may be a physical boundary of being in a different room which you have allocated as your workspace. Or it may be explaining to your children that you are working at the moment.
This works both ways with your employers too. When you’ve finished for the day, it’s easy to keep answering emails or messages as you have access to your work at home. Make sure you enjoy your own time and keep the boundaries.
“If you work from home full-time (or on a regular basis), it’s really easy to let your work life bleed into your personal life. Maintaining a boundary is important for both halves of the equation.”
– Tyler Littwin, HubSpot
Working From Home Infographic
We’ve summarised all of the tips in this blog into a handy infographic that helps you remember the key points at a glance. You can download this for free.
Aside from the tips we have outlined above, the most important thing to consider is your wellbeing. During a time of change, including a change in working environment, it is inevitable that there is going to be a feeling of unsettlement. This is why it is even more important to look after yourself and ensure that you are putting your wellbeing first. Keeping an open communication between yourself and your employer is crucial. It’s also important to mention that working from home isn’t for everyone and that’s ok!
Don’t be afraid to voice that to your employer as there are ways of working around this for most organisation’s. It’s also important for an employer to understand how you are feeling so they can assess the level of expectations they set.