7 rules of working effectively from homeSimona Pralovska 09.12.2020 For Customers, For Translators Reading time: 4 min.
Working from home may sound like a dream come true. You can sleep in, enjoy your morning coffee in peace, traffic jams won’t stress you out, and you don’t even have to dress up. However, a home office does have drawbacks, and productivity is much more likely to slip.
While working from home, establishing an effective regime from the get-go is important. The following tips can help.
1. Follow your usual work schedule
Working from home means it’s even more important to establish a correct regime from the get-go. Set your alarm, eat breakfast, and get dressed as if you were going to the office. Finally, don’t forget to “show up at work” on time. 🙂
Tip: Set your alarm the same as usual. Utilize the time saved from not having to commute for exercising or enjoying a tasty breakfast that you can finally eat without rushing.
2. Plan your day
Make a to-do list of all the tasks you have to deal with on a given day. Write down tasks for each day as soon as they cross your mind. Don’t try planning your day down to the smallest detail. Leave room for ad hoc tasks. This way you’ll avoid working overtime. If nothing unexpected happens, fill your remaining time with long-term and lower-priority activities.
How you manage your schedule is up to you. Nowadays, modern technologies offer many apps for just this purpose: Evernote, Todoist, Trello, Microsoft To Do—the list goes on. Old schoolers will prefer a notepad and a pen anyways. 😉
Tip: Tick off every completed task in your list. The decreasing tasks will lighten your mood and motivate you even further.
3. Find your ideal workspace
Working from the sofa may sound amazing and comfy, but productivity can easily slip (and, eventually, your body may drop into a lying down position, too). Not to mention the adverse effects this can have on body posture. “Hard” kitchen chairs aren’t suitable either (I have first-hand experience with this, and after a week, my back was quite unhappy about it...).
Ideally, you should sit on an ergonomic office chair. If that is not an option, you can also try to help yourself with an exercise ball or by placing a pillow under your lower back. Pull your chair up to the desk as close as possible, sit up straight, and try not to lean forward.
Choose a workspace that will be available whenever you need it. This should be a space where you won’t disturb other household members and vice-versa.
Tip: You don’t have to choose a single permanent workspace. You can “rotate” between various suitable spaces. When the weather outside is lovely, even a garden or balcony may be worth a try. This way, you will break the stereotype you might fall in.
4. Clean up (both your desk and house)
After finally finding the perfect spot, keep it clean and organised. Keep only the essentials necessary for work within arm’s reach. Not only will this keep you from getting distracted, but also you won’t get stressed about a “jumble” on your desk getting in the way.
Tip: To concentrate better, tidy up your house as well. During working hours, you won’t be tempted to do the dishes or vacuum.
5. Keep in touch with your co-workers—visually as well
Social isolation remains one of the biggest downfalls of the home office. Instead of emailing or messaging your colleagues, make a video call or at least a phone call. This will let you stay in more personal contact with people outside of your household as well. Moreover, it will simultaneously improve communication effectiveness and ease the explanations of difficult instructions.
Tip: Videocall colleagues to chat about non-work related matters at least once a week (or as often as you wish). Everyone is swamped with work and stress these days. A moment’s rest will lift your spirits.
6. Separate your work and personal life
Don’t forget the classic quote from Dirty Dancing: “This is my dance space. This is your dance space.” If possible, follow this rule when separating the work and non-work space in your home.
Similarly, if you use the same computer for work and your personal life, make sure to log out of business e-mail and accounts after finishing work for the day. This way, you won’t feel tempted to read the mail that arrived while searching for a dinner recipe. Put simply, turn off your work-self.
Otherwise, you could soon find yourself feeling overwhelmed with work responsibilities and thinking you’re spending day and night at work, which might not be too far from the truth.
7. Take breaks
Take a short break on occasion. Get up from the desk, straighten up, stretch your muscles, walk around some, and make yourself coffee or tea. Use breaks to enjoy a snack as well, since you should always eat outside of the workspace. Never eat at your computer! It is unhygienic, unhealthy, and, on top of that, you won’t catch a much needed break from work.
Tip: Your breaks shouldn’t be too long, otherwise it will be more difficult to pick up the pace again.
If you fail to enact your plan on the first or second day, don’t let it get you down. You have to get used to a completely different regime than the one you were accustomed to. And that needs time. What matters is continuing to find a solution that suits you.
Have any useful tips for working from home? What helps you keep up your momentum?