setting yourself up for success

Working from home

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Thousands of people who don’t normally work from home will be now be doing it for the first time as a result of the ongoing coronavirus situation.

Working from home is very different to working in your normal place of work – it’s all about getting used to it and setting rules for yourself.

Here are some tips and suggestions that may help you work from home in a successful and productive way.

1. Starting off correctly

As tempting as it is to stay in bed until a few minutes before you start working, it’s actually not a brilliant idea.

While it’s true that you can probably lie in a bit longer as your commute will only consist of a few steps, it’s still crucial that you prepare yourself properly for the day ahead.

That means brushing your teeth, having a shower, getting dressed and having breakfast.

The key is to allow yourself some time to wake up properly, so you have a clear mind, ready for the day ahead.

A great idea is to wake up at the usual time that you would if you were going into work and use the time that you would be commuting to do some exercise!

Here are some brilliant exercises you can try in the morning to help yourself wake up and feel ready for the day ahead.

2. Assigning a workspace

If possible, try to assign a certain area of your home as your workspace. Whether that’s a desk, your kitchen table or a coffee table, pick a spot and stick to it.

It’s best if you try to avoid doing any activities in that space that isn’t work, as it will help your brain be able to click into work mode and relaxation mode, depending on where you are.

Try to avoid working on or near your bed, but if you genuinely have no other option then try sitting on the bed in a different place than you would if you were relaxing.

Keep all your work-related items in that workspace and treat it as if it is your office space at work.

It’s all about giving your brain that clear distinguish between work and relaxation.

3. Avoid distractions

This is a tough one. Most of the items in your house are there to distract you.

Your fridge, your TV, your family and housemates are all distractions that typically aren’t at a normal place of work.

It’s important to try and exercise some self-restraint and try to limit your contact with these distractions.

Limit snack time to certain points of the day to avoid the fridge, and if possible, have some pre-prepared snacks to avoid standing with the fridge door open.

Put the TV remote somewhere out of reach and turn your phone off if it’s not needed for work. Signing out of apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger may help. Tell whoever you live with to leave you in peace until the end of the working day.

At the end of the day, you are the only person who can stop yourself from getting distracted, so do your best and concentrate and ignore everything around you.

4. Stay connected

It’s important to be readily available by phone, email or conference call.

Keep in contact with your bosses or co-workers as if you were in your normal place of work.

It may help to suggest a daily or weekly catchup with your boss to discuss what you’re up to and where you’re heading with your work. This will reassure your boss that they can trust you, and give you peace of mind that you’re on the right track.

Have virtual coffee breaks or have lunch over Skype or FaceTime with your co-workers. Having a break from work and seeing new faces can really help with your mental health.

If you’re working on a project with someone, make sure to call them and check in with them regularly.

Make sure you agree with your boss or co-workers just how much communication you’ll have every day to avoid anyone feeling bombarded with information, or totally ignored.

Here is a list of some great videoconferencing apps to try out.

5. Set your work hours and stick to them

Try to stick to the same hours that you would do if you were at your normal place of work.

You need to be able to clock in and out. Try not to overwork or underwork, treat your day as you usually would.

Make sure to take breaks to give your eyes and brain a rest from what you’re doing.

The best way to work is in short bursts of productivity followed by short but frequent breaks. Why don’t you try the pomodoro technique?

Chances are you’ll have to cook a meal for yourself at lunch, so why don’t you take the time to cook a healthy meal? Here are some quick and easy recipes you can try out.

Try to stay focussed, although you’re not at your normal place of work it doesn’t mean you can skive off!

When you finish working at the end of the day, turn off your computer and tidy away any paperwork. Stop responding to emails – when you clock out you’ve finished work.

Don’t let your work bleed into your down time. When work is finished, it’s finished.

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