Working at home – the idea seems so wonderful, being able to complete your workload from the comfort of your own home sounds like the most ideal working environment. But then you see the dishes on the kitchen sink, the ever-growing washing pile and a YouTube video of tamed grizzly bears – WHAT?! Needless to say, there’s an abundance of distractions at home, so here are our top tips to maximise workflow when your home becomes your office.
Have a Dedicated Work Area
One of the most important aspects of homeworking is having your own space. This means a room / or space strictly for work that helps you physically and mentally separate work from home. A proper office space allows you to get in the correct mindset, dividing you from the distractions of the house and ensuring the cat doesn’t send an email to your boss with the subject line “PJNNG CbRVbdsbh”.
Get Ready to Work
Before you even begin working from home you need to ensure that you are ready. Educate yourself on work assets, if your work uses an intranet how will you access this at home? Check you are able make use of all the software used in the office on a daily basis. This prevents any last-minute panic throwing around wires because you can’t connect to the remote desktop or VPN.
Keep Your Hours
Having a clock in/out system is another big helper when working at home, especially when working on collaborative projects, it helps let you know who is available at any moment in time. There is plenty of programs that can be used for this, such as Outlook and Skype for Business as they will show when you’re ‘online’, ‘busy’ or ‘in a meeting’. Unfortunately, this means there’s no excuse for lateness (depending on the traffic from your bed to the desk!) add in something about making use of the time you would usually commute for a hobby or exercise
Apply the same health and safety measures for both your home and office. When working on screens, it is essential to take breaks as extended sessions of screen time can cause a multitude of issues from headaches, migraines and depending on who you talk to, square eyes! It can be easy to forget this when working at home as time can fly in a comfortable environment, so use the “Twenty rule” to relax your eyes – Every 20 minutes look at 20 feet away (e.g. out the window) for 20 seconds.
Nutrition is Key
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised… REMEMBER TO EAT! In your own home it is very easy to continually snack throughout the day and forget about real meals. Without proper nutrition your mind and body can’t function at its best. The best practice is to make a meal plan for the day so they’re ready (or ready to prepare) when you take your lunch break, this way you won’t spend your free time planning what you will eat. Be sure to have a meal that will last you until the end of the working day.
Meetings & Conference Calls
Meetings and conference calls generally can be difficult and they’re even more of a hurdle when working at home. As 53% of communication is interpreted through body language it can be hard to track multiple voices over a call without any physical direction/inclination. To combat this, the conference should have a specific person chairing it, who makes sure everyone has a slot to raise their points. Without a leader it’s very easy for chaos to ensue in the form of ever-increasing overlapping voices.
Keep in Contact
Finally – keep in contact! Talk to your colleagues and most importantly, let your manager know what you’re working on and where it’s up to. This means they won’t feel the need to chase you for work and you won’t feel chased! Build a good relationship of trust between you and your manager to eliminate any scepticism they may have about working at home. It can be as simple as a 5-minute call in the morning to plan your work and another to wrap things up at the end of the day.
We hope these tips come in handy, whether you’re remote working now or plan to in the near future.