Working from home is the ‘new normal’ and with this trend set to continue, it is more important than ever before to stay productive and maintain balance.
To help you achieve an efficient work from home lifestyle, we’ve prepared 5 tips to ensure you are excelling at work – and are changing certain habits and routines to make working from home as efficient as possible.
- Maintain Regular Hours
Set yourself a schedule for the day and stick to it… most of the time. This allows you to have clear guidelines for when to work as well as when to call it a day which can help many remote workers maintain work-life balance.
It helps maintain workload, complete tasks on schedule as well as recognise when you have the capacity to take on more responsibilities.
As well as allowing you to maintain a schedule, working from home comes with certain perks such as flexibility. Be honest and open with your schedule, and if you need to extend your day or start early in order to accommodate other commitments, you are able to do this.
- Create Healthy Boundaries
Set ground rules with the other people in your household who may share your space when you are working.
This could be children, partners, or housemates who may need rules for what they can and cannot be doing whilst you are working. If you share a space with another employee, you may have to negotiate certain quiet times or meeting times in order to both be as productive and respectful as possible.
Set these rules through a conversation held in advance. If it isn’t possible on occasions to follow your usual routine, modify your working hours and responsibilities so that all accommodations are met. Make sure that any modifications are discussed with your line managers and are communicated with your colleagues when necessary.
- Allow yourself breaks
Breaks are a critical element of any working day such as refreshment breaks, conversations with colleagues or in-person meetings. Work from home employees also need these breaks in order to be productive and feel energised.
These breaks may vary in length however it is important to have these breaks away from your desks and return with a fresh perspective. On the breaks, make a healthy lunch, have a cup of tea, have a catch up with a friend as long as the break is spent in a different location to separate the relaxation from the work mindset.
Physical activity such as walking, running, weight training or stretching can have a large impact on your mental health as well as your physical. Try and enjoy 30 minutes of exercise per day.
One 2011 study found that workers who took two short breaks whilst completing a task stayed consistently productive, but when it came to the group completing the same tasks however with no breaks, performance declined significantly.
- Get the resources you need
Request the equipment you need as soon as you start working from home, or within a few days of realising you need something new. It is extremely important that you are comfortable and have all the resources you need to be as productive in your work as possible. These items may include a laptop, a monitor, keyboard, mouse, desk chair, desk, printer, software etc.
Don’t be afraid to ask for these resources, especially if your organisation is accustomed to remote working as often there are budgets set aside for home office equipment.
For employees who spend several hours each day at their desks, having a comfortable setup is essential. Making small enhancements to your workspace can have a massive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing, increasing energy levels and boosting confidence. One small enhancement may be sourcing faster, more reliable internet connections.
- End Your Day With a Routine
One main struggle of working from home is shutting down your laptop and ending the working day.
By limiting the amount of rest you may have, you limit your productivity and can cause harm to your own wellbeing. To avoid this, create a habit or short routine that signals the close of the workday to replace the usual journey home. This may be a notification on your calendar, an end of day review or a regular 5pm dog walk.
Something as simple as closing down your laptop and tuning into your favourite 5pm tv show to try and finish on a positive note. Whatever you choose to do, do this consistently to mark the end of your working hours.
Before switching off, say goodbye to your colleagues so that they know you are leaving and tidy your workspace, ready for the next day.