As fears of the coronavirus outbreak sweep the country, more people are working from home than ever before. With companies closing their doors to stop the spread of the virus, you may have no choice but to work from home. If you are someone who is used to working in an office environment full-time, the idea of working remotely from home may be a little daunting. Not to worry, there are numerous steps you can take to ensure you work just as efficiently away from the office, as you do when you are in.
To help you out, we have rounded up the top 10 best tips for productively working from home. Check them out below!
1. Create a morning routine
Try to start your day with the same routine from before you started working from home. If you need to be at your desk for 9 am, don’t wake up at 8:59 am and just roll out of bed. Try to give yourself time to wake up properly, have some breakfast and get ready for the day as if you were going to work. By following a routine every morning, you will help to get yourself in the right mindset and increase your chances of being productive.
2. Maintain regular hours
Just like you would in the office, maintaining regular work hours helps you to keep sharp and focused, whilst securing a schedule to stick too. Try to start and finish work at the same time every day. Establishing your work hours will enable you to keep on track with your workload and clock out for the day after you have finished. Being clear about your work hours to colleagues and sticking to them, also ensures that they know you won’t be answering their email at 10 pm.
3. Choose a dedicated workspace
Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean you can’t have an office. Try to choose a specific area dedicated to your workspace. Confining your work to the assigned workspace in your home will create the sense of an “office environment” and ensure you don’t get distracted by other members of your household. The association you make mentally between work and an office can make you feel more productive and ensure you are able to focus throughout your day. Try setting up your workspace with a desk, a good chair, and as much natural light as possible.
4. Remember to take a break
Believe it or not, it can be so easy to get distracted by your work, that a lot of people who work from home actually forget to take breaks during the day. Just because you are working from home does not mean that you don’t deserve to take breaks altogether. Take frequent breaks and use them wisely. Moving away from your desk to grab a cup of coffee or taking 5 minutes to relax outside will help you to stay focussed and refreshed throughout the day.
5. Get some fresh air
Now that you are spending so much of your time at home, try to get outside as much as possible. Research suggests that getting some fresh air helps you to relax and clear your mind. On your lunch break, why not take a short walk around the block or catch up on some quick gardening. Whatever it is you choose to do, ensure you set aside time each day to step outside and reset.
6. Use technology to stay connected
Technology is what allows you to work remotely away from the office in the first place. So first and foremost, it’s important to ensure that you have the technology set up to allow you to do so. If you are going to be needing to chat to colleagues over calls, consider buying a good quality Bluetooth headset or conference speakerphone to stay connected. These headsets will allow you to chat hands-free, with the ability to still use your computer when needed. Make sure you have a strong internet connection to ensure you can stay online and connected at all times when you are working.
7. Plan ahead
To stay focussed or stop yourself from burning out when working from home, plan out what you will be doing ahead of time. Write down what you plan to do over the course of the day and when. This method will help you to create a personal schedule and ready to get started as soon as you start work. Remember to schedule in regular breaks, a proper lunch break, and any online meetings or personal reminders. Things like Google Calendar or Asana are both great tools to use to segment out your day and remind you of any new tasks that you have coming up.
8. Get the tools you need
Work better with a standing desk? Or perhaps you would rather use a PC over your personal laptop? Whatever it is, make sure you get the tools you need in order to work productively before you begin operating from home. Making sure you are set up prior to starting your new work routine, will make working from home that little bit easier. In terms of other tools you may need, noise-cancelling headphones are a great way to cut out unavoidable noise such as your neighbour’s dog barking or household members chatting. In addition to a reliable headset, smart assistants are a great initiative to help with remote work. A modern smart assistant like Google Assistant, is an affordable and convenient way to help you during your at-home operation. Whether it’s to make a phone call, set a reminder, or take down notes, having a something like a smart speaker set-up on your desk can pose highly beneficial during the workday.
9. Secure your home network
Alongside the freedom and flexibility, working from home comes with the risk of security issues which take place outside of the protected work network. Your computer, including everything on it, could be jeopardised if someone hacks into your home Wi-Fi. Hence, it is extremely important to ensure you have a secure home network when working from home. So how can you protect sensitive corporate data when at home? To keep your devices safe and secure, we recommend you take the following steps:
- Invest in antivirus software
- Keep your devices updated
- Ensure you have strong passwords set up on your devices and home network
- Change the Wi-Fi password regulary
- Use password managers such as LastPass or 1Password to keep them safe
- Consider setting up a separate Wi-Fi network specifically for your work computer. This move will ensure that network traffic will only be diverted to your computer, completely separate from your mobiles and home devices.
10. Stay connected with teammates
One of the biggest downsides to working from home is that it can become quite lonely with no colleagues to chat to. That being said, it’s important for you to stay connected with your teammates throughout the day by communicating with them via video call, over the phone, or even on an instant messaging service. Talking to other people you work with will help you stay connected and combat the feeling of isolation. It will also help you keep productive and focused on the tasks ahead.