The UK is bracing itself for 12 generation-defining weeks. As businesses across the country move to entirely remote working, our team has begun the process of working from home.
For many, working from home is an entirely novel concept. The loss of the office set-up can be challenging for many, with motivation, focus, and sociability all suffering.
Avoid Working from Bed
Almost anything sounds more appealing if you can do it from the comfort of your bed. However, when working from home, try to avoid working from your bed as much as possible.
If you choose to work from your bed, you’ll often find it difficult to muster the focus needed for work. Whilst easy tasks like email admin and file reorganisation might be doable, people often find their focus sliding from the task in hand.
Not only that, but research suggests that keeping your phone/tablet/laptop in your bedroom can also have a detrimental effect on your sleep. Meaning you will be more likely to struggle to fall asleep, resulting in a more sluggish mental state for work the following day.
Setting aside a dedicated space to work will help wonders for your concentration. Having a physical space that you move to each day will set your mind up for a day of work.
If you’ve got the space (and by that we mean if you’ve already managed to leave London!) you could try having two or three spaces to work from. This way, you’ll be able to change up your environment and kickstart your creativity throughout the day.
Stick to your Usual Routines
Much like making sure you’re not working from bed, sticking to a consistent work routine helps to set your head up for the day ahead. The shortened commute could seem like the perfect opportunity to grab an extra couple of hours in bed, but you would be wise to avoid this.
Why not try dedicating these newfound hours to yourself? Try doing some exercise, catching up with friends & family, reading or taking up a new hobby.
For most offices, the new work-from-home set-up doesn’t automatically mean a change from your usual hours. Keeping the time that you’re available and working within these hours will help immensely for your work/life balance. This becomes even more important as your office moves into your house.
Sticking to a daily routine will help you maintain a working schedule and help to keep you motivated and alert. There’s no need to have strict military-style timings but keeping a little structure will go a long way!
Get Dressed. (No, we really mean it.)
Now, we’re not saying you have to wear your three-piece suit or highest heels but maybe just changing out for your pyjamas might be a start? No matter how comfy they might be, it’s probably best not to be caught in your PJs in the 9:30am skype catch-up.
Making physical changes to your person, including your clothing, allows for your mental state to shift. If you’re working from home for an extended period of time, as most of us are now expecting to, this will soon create healthy habits.
Keep the office playlist going
Sometimes, the quiet of working from home can get a little too quiet. Just because you’re now working away from your office doesn’t mean you have to work in total silence! Plus, some research suggests that working in total silence can actually be detrimental to focus, especially for prolonged periods.
If you find it difficult to concentrate with lyrics in the background, why not try instrumental music. Plenty of people also recommend movie soundtracks or scores to give you that extra bit of motivation when working up to a big deadline.
If you’re someone who’s work thrives on background noise, the daily conference call isn’t going to be enough chatter to fill your day. Usually, a quick solution for this would be to try working in a shared space like a café or remote working space. However, our current situation has made this option unavailable.
As an alternative, why not try utilising the radio? Stations that focus on discussion only would work best in this scenario, as the light-hearted discussion amongst presenters could replace the hustle & bustle of a busy café.
Stay in touch with your colleagues
In many ways, working from home requires overcommunication. When you can’t see the rest of your workforce, you need to be constantly updating your team. Give people clear deadlines and let your colleagues know how you’re progressing with tasks.
Staying in touch doesn’t have to just cover work. The social aspect of office working will be sorely missed by most working in isolation. Make sure to drop a message to colleagues you know are working alone, or better yet pick up the phone.
Even if the conversation is an inane as what everyone is having for lunch or a reminder to stay hydrated, it will be welcomed by many. Not only does this allow for a natural break in the working day, but it will also boost morale among the team. Ultimately, this will lead to more motivated workers and high-quality work!
Set Aside Time for Tidying
When working from home, it can often seem pertinent that you re-tile the entire bathroom on a Wednesday afternoon. Trust us, it’s not.
Being sat at home can often lead people to start procrastinating via chores. It might feel like you’ll only take 10 minutes to fold your washing, but flash-forward 3 hours and you’ll suddenly realise you’ve not opened your laptop once.
Much like keeping to a routine, make sure you’ve set aside a specific time to complete household jobs. This way, you’ll be able to stay focused on your work – you know, the actual task in hand!
Take a Break
Let’s be honest, you don’t spend every second of the working day glued to your screen. Neither should it be that way when you are working from home.
If you want to avoid a short, sharp burnout, taking breaks will be a lifesaver. Take 5 minutes to make a coffee or get a quick breath of fresh air a few times a day. Resetting your mind and body in this way will allow you to stay motivated and focused during long periods of focus.
Plus, you can use this method to switch your working pattern between different tasks. As staying agile and reactive is key for working out of office.
Most importantly, stay positive!
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Yes, the most successful remote workers have a reputation for being extremely disciplined, but everyone’s attention will drift. Plus, for many this is a whole new working environment, so take it easy on yourself if you struggle.
Make sure to speak to your colleagues if your struggling and cut yourself some slack. With everything that happening in the world this year, a little positivity will get you a long way!