Working from home isn’t a new thing, in fact around 1.5 million people in the UK do it every week. However, this number has grown massively due to the coronavirus outbreak, with thousands of people now working from home for the first time.
Whether you’re self-isolating or not, if you’re working from home with family around or on your own, here are some tips to help you get the most out of the home-office environment – and keep you feeling happy while you do.
1. Get dressed for work
It can be tempting to just stay in your pyjamas and yes, it is comfortable. But mentally, getting dressed for work will actually help you feel like it’s work time, and bring some structure to your day. Plus you’ll avoid any embarrassing videoconferencing mishaps and be ready to liaise with colleagues and other important people at a moment’s notice.
2. Draw the line
Tapping away on your laptop in bed is great for the odd personal email or surfing the net in your own time. For work, having a specific space can help you be more productive. You don’t need your own office, just a dedicated corner of the dining table will do. Treat it as your office and take regular breaks away from it to maintain a distinction between work and home life.
3. Create a new schedule
Working in an office comes with meetings in different rooms, coffee in the break area, and interaction with colleagues. Working from home can feel very different, and it might be tempting to just sit and get on with things, if there is no impetus to move around. It’s well known that taking a break every so often is great for concentration and mental wellbeing, so set up a schedule of work and breaks and stick to it.
4. Make a call
Emails have become the office currency in recent years, and there are reasons for that – sending an email is quick, and it provides a written record of discussions and decisions. it isn’t, however, great for actually feeling connected with people. Working from home can feel isolating if all you have is email contact, so try picking up the phone and talking to someone instead of just tapping out another few lines of text.
5. Don’t overwork
If you’re in the middle of something at the end of your ‘working day’, it can sometimes be tempting to just keep on going until it’s done. Working from home doesn’t mean working more hours though. Make sure you make time for being home at home too.
6. Take advantage
One of the big benefits of working from home is you can create an environment that makes you happy while you work. Listen to music that everyone else in the office hates, wear your slippers with your work clothes if you want to, let your cat sit on your lap and watch you work, or set the thermostat to whatever temperature you want! The choice is yours.
7. Stay connected
With everyone in the office in the same boat, having a way to regularly stay in touch is a great idea to keep the conversation going with colleagues. MS Teams is a great tool for dropping a quick message and finding out how everyone is doing, or asking if anyone needs help with anything, of set up a WhatsApp group so everyone can quickly and easily stay in touch.
8. Virtual coffee breaks
Breaks are even better with friends. Grab a non-virtual coffee, video call your work coffee break mates, and take 20 minutes to catch up socially and workwise.
9. Keep moving
Exercise releases endorphins, the natural way to boost your mood and stay sane when things might feel a bit crazy. Stand up and stretch your legs regularly, take a walk around the room while you make a call, or follow a favourite workout on YouTube every so often. Great for your mind, your body and your soul.
10. Know when to stop
When the workday ends, switch off from everything work related – mentally and practically. Turn off work related notifications, and don’t feel like you need to be on call. Having an office space in your home can have some great benefits but remembering that at the end of the day your home is actually your own personal space is really important too.