I’ve been working from home 2 days a week for a few years so thought I’d share a few tips. These are little things that work for me – they may not be for everyone.
Get Showered and Dressed
It sounds obvious but don’t slouch around in your pyjamas. You need to make a work day different from the weekend and any little things you can do to create this clear separation will help your work-life balance and ensure you’re in the right mindset, both ways.
Set Start and End Times
Don’t try to be too flexible with your hours. Stick to a normal working day. Don’t slack off and think you can catch up later in your own time, and don’t do extra to overcompensate for being at home. You need clear times when work stops and home life starts. It’s very easy to get sucked in to “just finishing off this bit” and still be working hours later.
Find Multiple Locations to Work
If you’re working from home for several consecutive days it can help to vary where you work. I wouldn’t keep moving in one day but maybe start every third day in a new spot. For some people having a fixed work space within their home helps the separation so if this works for you, great.
Finding a Good Work Space
For me it’s important to be near a window. I actually work sitting in a bay window looking out onto my street. This naturally makes me look up from my screen from time to time as people pass by. My sleepy town isn’t interesting enough for this to become a distraction but I appreciate this may not work somewhere busier. I would avoid spaces with no natural light, like lofts or basements. They’re just not good for your state of mind.
Set a start and end time for lunch as you would in an office environment. If you don’t, you risk not finding time at all, not taking a break or the day becomes one continuous snack-fest, which is not going to end well over a sustained period of time.
If you’re home alone, do you really want to be heating your whole house? Or, if you’re lucky enough to be somewhere warmer, using air-con? I try to stick to being in one room, close the door and use a portable heater. This saves a small fortune on my heating bill.
Think about the money you’re saving on travel and put it aside for something which improves your home working lifestyle – a comfy office chair, a desk fan, a fancy microphone, a coffee machine.
Balancing Non-work Activity
Working from home does bring some advantages. You can have goods delivered. You can have the washing machine or dishwasher going. My tip would be to not worry about the small things like answering the door, putting a load of washing on – things that take a trivial amount of time. You should avoid the tasks that take longer and can be left until after work – online shopping, folding washing, cooking.
You’re at work. You can ignore the door. You can ignore your phone. Don’t use social media, unless it’s work related.
Don’t Get Isolated
If you’re alone for a period of time it’s easy to start to feel isolated. When working from home you need to make extra effort to communicate with colleagues. Try to make the effort to actually talk to people rather than just using email or messaging services like Slack. You won’t run into colleagues in communal areas, like the office water cooler or kitchen, so, if a few of you are working remotely you may need to create your own virtual spaces where non work related chat can happen to stay connected on a human level.
What Works for You?
Everyone’s different so do what works for you and if you have any good tips of your own please share.