10 top tips for working from home
Working from home can at times be compared to Marmite - you either love it or hate it. You have people that regularly work from home and find themselves far more efficient and productive doing so, and then you have people that are generally office-based and fear the loss of the structure of the day and the social interaction.
With the majority of office workers now being asked to work from home, we've spoken to some of our regular home workers to get their 10 top tips for working from home, and how to get the most out of it and still feel connected to the wider team.
1. Do have a good working environment
Sitting up in bed or on the sofa sounds nice, but your back won't thank you as the day goes on. You should try to create a suitable working environment where you can sit up properly and have your laptop at the correct working height. Whether it's sat at the kitchen table or in your study, try and create an area clear of clutter. Why not try re-arranging some of your house plants to make your 'office' more inviting?
3. Do use video, it's good for all parties
Much of communication is non-verbal. Seeing your colleagues, clients or suppliers on video encourages interaction and engagement. But don't forget, everybody else can see you – make sure you're dressed appropriately and you've not just got out of the shower!
4. Do remember you can blur your background when on video calls
Using Microsoft Teams? You can blur your background on video calls, meaning that the pile of your kids' toys in the corner won't be visible. Handy right!? If you're using Zoom, there is a great feature that allows you to create a 'virtual background' – video call while on the moon, anyone?
6. Do schedule in 'virtual coffee breaks'
Why not schedule 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon to have a short social period with your team? You can all jump on a video call while you recharge your batteries with caffeine and talk about anything but work. Being able to keep some of the social side has a lot of benefits for all involved.
8. Do have some background noise if it helps you focus
If you're the sort of person that finds sitting in silence mind-numbingly boring, why not turn on the radio? Keep the volume low so you can still focus on your tasks and not get distracted. Just like in the office, if you find yourself drifting away from work due to the noise, make sure you refocus yourself.
9. Do have a routine
It's easy to slip into a 'lazy' way of working, potentially even be tempted to stay in your dressing gown all day, but it's important to still have a routine and set your mind up for the day. Try to keep the routine you had when going into the office - wake up, shower, have breakfast - you'll feel far more ready to tackle the day ahead.
And finally, the one that many people dread…
10. Don't worry about the kids/pets coming into the room
Cat jumped up on your keyboard? Your kid asking if they can have some crisps? We're all human and these things happen. Embrace them if they happen to you, and help others feel comfortable when it happens to them - everybody understands the situation that we find ourselves in. We'll all have stories to tell about 'those' moments in the coming weeks!
Now, most of these points will be stating the obvious for those of us that work from home on a regular basis. The challenges that we will all face in the coming weeks are some of the common challenges faced by regular home workers. Once this all dies down, and we are all able to return to the office environment, why not reach out to your colleagues that work from home to make sure they feel part of the team?