Working from Home
Working from home is a fantastic tool to enable flexibility in the workplace. If you have never worked from home or think you would find the number of distractions a challenge, then here are some top tips to help.
SET UP YOUR WORKSPACE
Regardless of where your working environment is, you need to create an environment that feels like a workspace. Get up, get dressed and sit in an office-style environment. It is helpful to remove usual home distractions from that room if you can. In the same way that you would leave the office at work make sure that you log off and close the office door at the end of the day. Where possible keep work and home as separate as possible, so that there is a definite difference in the day’s activities.
SET CLEAR BOUNDARIES
If you wouldn’t do it at work don’t do it at home; TV, films, music, personal calls etc.. Share and communicate your schedule and boundaries with those you live and work with so that they understand when you are in work mode and when you are in home mode. The sooner you set the boundaries, the easier it is to establish a productive routine that works for you and the business.
CREATE A ROUTINE
Where possible, endeavour to replicate your best working environment and working routine. Mirror the office work environments and habits that worked for you as much as possible. Working from home should bring many of your office working benefits but with added flexibility to make it work for you. Take the best from both worlds until you find a routine that is optimum for your productivity.
TAKE A BREAK
Whether you are in the office or working from home, you will have meal breaks that you are entitled to. Take your lunch away from the office desk so that it is a clear desk and screen break. Take a walk, take a break outside if you can. There is an opportunity to do a quick blast of household chores if needed but put the timer on the clock so that you have a definite end to the break and head back to the office and work mode.
SET YOUR PRIORITIES
Set your priorities at the beginning of the day. List three items that you will complete that day, ideally two ‘start and finish’ tasks and one task that contributes to a more significant activity. Manage your ‘To Do’ list, add dates to each task to help you manage your time effectively and time box activities to help maximise productivity. Working from home and timeboxing work excellently together and can result in a highly productive working environment.
Keep lines of communication open. You may not need to check in every hour with your line manager or work colleagues but if they can’t see you in the office help them look at your output. Use software that will help you to share team tasks and workloads as well as your calendar so that they have visibility, if needed, of your work commitments.
Check-ins and debrief calls with colleagues each day can also help keep lines of communication open. These can be via a phone call or instant messenger chat but a quick check-in of what you have planned for the day, any emerging priorities or issues and a debrief catch up at the end of the day, can help keep engagement regular and working relationships strong.