For those of us who haven’t been regularly working from home (WFH) until now, the prospect can be a bit daunting. Whilst the nature of my job means I’m fortunate to be able to work effectively in a digital environment, I also like a bit of separation between my living room and the office. I’ve found WFH perfect for intense periods of concentration – planning, creating, writing pitches, proposals and reports. Collaborating on projects, getting feedback on drafts and quick decision-making? It’s often a lot easier in person.
As we move towards WFH in the longer term, I thought I’d share a few tips from my personal experience on how to beat some of the bogeys you encounter when working from home.
- Prepare first – Decide which tasks you will be working on and take home any hard copy files you cannot access electronically or material that is easier to work from in print. Test your internet connection and remote access via the company’s Citrix or VPN.
- Map out a schedule – Your WFH schedule may not be the same as your office hours. Give yourself a start and finish time, allowing for breaks. This helps manage the temptation to procrastinate or work until you drop.
- Present yourself – If you’re not face-timing customers or colleagues, it might be tempting to spend all day in your pyjamas. You will feel more motivated and it’s easier to slot into work zone, if you get up out of bed, have a shower and get dressed – business casual or not.
- Go to work in your home office – Whether it’s the kitchen table, a separate room or a study nook, clear a space, follow the WFS OHS protocols and go there to work. Leave it too, when you’re taking a break.
- Let others know you’re at work – Partners, flatmates, kids and pets… we love them, but they can be pests at times! Forewarn your household and try to work around their schedules to minimise the impact on each other as far as you can.
- Remove other distractions – Pausing your personal social media and other apps while you’re working is good professional practice whether WFH or in the office.
- Multitasking is a myth – It’s ok to put on a load of washing, but don’t get distracted by deep cleaning the house. A few chores while taking a break can help return your focus on work.
- Reward yourself – Go for a walk at lunchtime, get a proper coffee or food from a café. There are lots of activities you can fit into 30 minutes to an hour when your close to home.
- Check-in – Maintain your usual contact with colleagues via phone, email and other messaging or collaborating apps, and check-in with your team leader or manager on your progress through or at the end of day.
What works for you when you’re working from home?
Chris Toussaint is a marketing and communications professional specialising in recruitment, talent management, learning & development and human resources environments. He was Managing Editor of 21D – a Literary and Art magazine and over the years has written for a number of corporate publications, journals and street press. His qualifications include Grad Cert (Applied Media), BA (Media Studies) and Dip Arts in Professional Writing and Editing.