Working from Home - Tips for Beginners
1. Your normal routine - set the alarm You may not have your usual commute to deal with but set your alarm at the usual time.
Get up, have a shower, get dressed, shave or put your makeup on, do your hair. If you stay in your PJ's, you wont be in the right mindset for 'working' at home. It may sound silly but I can speak from experience, this absolutely helps you mentally prepare for your day!
Plan your day, plan your week, based on what needs to be done, carrying out your normal schedule where possible, try to be proactive and take initiative. Ask for help if you are not clear on exactly what's expected of you, ask for guidance on this, setting goals or tasks in order to plan ahead.
If you can stick to your normal scheduled hours, 9 to 5, great but if you're faced with loads of distractions maybe start earlier or finish later, have quiet times for the kids - something that doesn't involve you. I know that may be easier said than done, but everyone in the house needs some routine too.
2. Losing Track of Time Keep on schedule, it's really easy to lose track of time. Adding planned breaks in to your day is imperative, step away from your 'desk', make a drink, have lunch, go for a walk (the hour being allocated with COVID-19 to exercise). Keep checking in with yourself, be mindful of how you are feeling, it's so important to have a good balance work-life balance.
3. A work space just for you As tempting as it may be, don't stay in bed, slouch on the couch or work with the TV on. Set up a space with what you need at hand, it's going to be your office space after all. The dining room table is fine if you don't have anywhere else to do this. Also, make sure you ask for the ergonomics you need, its important that your workstation is set up correctly and be aware of keeping a good posture.
Keep your space tidy, clutter free and child proof.
And when you've achieved your day's work, remember 'you've left the office' for the day and switch off!
4. Stay active, get some fresh air It's really easy to stay sitting in one position for long periods of time. You are already missing out on your usual activities of leaving the house to commute to work, leaving the office for your lunch hour, walking around the office, grabbing a coffee. You need to regularly stand up and do a few stretches. During a break or at lunchtime, maybe take a stroll around outside or take part in an online exercise videos, pilates or even yoga.
Getting some fresh air it is really important, even if it's just opening the window.
5. Staying in touch with your work colleagues and your Manager
Apart from email, think about setting up Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp or FaceTime, it is so easy to keep in touch with your colleagues whilst you are all working from home. Make sure you schedule time to check in on a regular basis with your team. You can't just pop over for a chat by their desk so create actions, to do lists that you can all share when you virtually meet up. Schedule 1-2-1's with your Manager to discuss goals, objectives, upcoming projects and tasks to keep you on track.
6. Fighting the urge of Social Media
Social media browsing can be detrimental to staying on track, so remove the temptation of looking at pictures of kittens or seeing what your friends had for lunch! Before you know it you've spent an hour, that felt more like 5 minutes catching up with friends posts or accepting facetime calls because they are bored. Tell people you are still working and when you'll be free to take a call, to have that chat.......So delete, remove, step away from your device during 'working hours'.
7. Distractions, distractions, distractions
It's so easy to put on a wash on, prepare dinner, empty the dishwasher, catch up on an episode of your favourite TV programme. If you can't do it when your at work, you can't do it when your working from home, save it for when you take an allocated break.
8. Who else is at home?
It's not impossible to keep on top if your kids are at home, even if they are toddlers. Stay ahead by having a plan, activities, doing their school work, online story time, dancing/execises they can follow. There are loads of tips for parents and their challenges of trying to manage working from home. You have some added flexibility as your not leaving the house to commute, if there are two adults at home, its a bonus because you can share the load.