Last time, we gave you some basic tips on how to work from home, either a permanent choice, or whether the current Coronavirus outbreak has meant you are temporarily relocated to your home. We have got some more practical tips to help you be productive, disciplines, and even enjoy the change!
Invest in Creating a Comfortable Office
If your move to working from home is a permanent one, you want to make sure your home office environment is an agreeable one and one you are happy to work within. One of the most important investments you will make is your office chair. Make sure it suits your needs and is ergonomically practical. Officeworks have a very wide range of excellent office chairs, and you can try before you buy.
Basically, Pretend You Are Not Home From 9-5
Do not invite friends round during your office hours, even for a coffee and a yarn. Use your lunch as a time to meet with friends and if they show up at your home, politely tell them you are working. Boundaries are only as effective if they are enforced. Do not make doctor, bank or other appointments during working hours.
It sounds like the easiest thing in the world to do. After all, you are working at home, who will know, right? Wrong. This is the slippery slope to poor productivity. One appointment becomes two, and next thing you are slipping out to do the shopping, get a haircut and time to pick the kids up afterwards. No – make these appointments after work hours or at the weekend. Stay focussed!
One last thing, if the doorbell goes, or the home phone rings, unless it is urgent, and you are specifically expecting a delivery or an urgent call – ignore them. If you were at the office, they would be ignored, and this is no different.
Do Not Turn Your Desk into an Extension of the Kitchen
By all means, have coffee breaks, but try not to bring food to the desk. This could start off with just a banana or a biscuit with your coffee, but before long you have got dirty plates with leftover lasagne sitting next to your screen, and your office has become a cluttered mess.
Designate your break times and enjoy a snack or lunch aware form the desk. Sit in the patio, go for a walk to the park, but do not start eating meals at your desk.
Switch Things Up Occasionally
Even the most well-appointed of home offices can get a bit stale and samey after a while. If you work with a laptop, maybe once every couple of weeks, relocate to the dining room, or even take it out and work in a local café or library.
The change can be amazingly revitalising, and when you do get back into your home office environment, it will be with renewed enthusiasm and vigour.
Keep Your Social Networking Habits in Check!
Check email and social network updates to minimal set times, no matter how distracting that Facebook notification may be.
Do Not Become an Isolationist!
Working remotely can prevent you from building workplace relationships and chances to meet new people in an office — those things rarely happen when you work from home. This is a bit of an intangible loss, but, again, push yourself to get out of the house, and squeeze in an out-of-the-office lunch, or coffee with colleagues and bosses.
Become Techno-Savvy – There’s No “IT guy” to Save the Day
Help is not always on the way. If you run into a technical glitch with your computer, you may very well be left to your own devices. If you are self-employed, you might be able to find tech support at Apple’s in-store Genius Bar (if you own a Mac) or a local laptop specialist. If you cannot afford a new laptop or computer, and you keep getting computer freezes, take action and taking a computer class.
And if you need to give presentations, you should get conversant with web-based meeting programs like Google+ Hangouts. Some are free, some are not, but it is worth looking into.
Working from home is great but can have its issues. Proving your productivity when your boss cannot see you is not easy. But if you focus on deliverables, make yourself available and present, and work to build a relationship with your boss and co-workers, no one will question your productivity or commitment to getting the job done.