With a lot of countries reentering lockdowns and restrictions becoming a new way of life, we are looking at a seismic change in the way we are working. Gone are the days of watercooler chats, shared tea routines, impromptu meetings in probably freezing meeting rooms, and the dreaded winter morning commute to work through sleet. Instead, we're now working from home in a space that often wasn't designed for it. If you'd like to reclaim your dining room table or feel you need to properly sort out your routines, then this is the article for you!
1. Create a proper space for work
Looking after your health and wellbeing has never been more important than in these unprecedented times. On average you spend over eight hours in front of a computer and having the right furniture to ensure you're having the right posture is critical. Invest in a good desk chair and a desk. Depending on where you are, you may be able to get this reimbursed for by your employer as part of their Health & Safety guidelines. It certainly doesn't hurt asking!
2. Maintain regular hours
Set a schedule, and stick to it - at least most of the time! Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain a work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else's time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.
Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime
, let you check in on whether you're sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you're most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by reserving your hours of high focus for your most important tasks.
3. Create a morning routine
Routines follow an important part of everyone's lives and whilst they can seem restrictive, they can effectively guide you into the right mindset without much effort. Think about something that you'd like to see as a part of your morning routine that indicates that you're about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee and actually savouring it before looking at your to-do list. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pyjama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). It might be a kickass morning playlist you're playing on your smart speakers.
We love our Smart Home routines on Alexa and Google Home and get our coffee delivered from Pact Coffee
Of course, 'morning' is a very relative term as not everyone working from home follows a 9-5 schedule!
4. Set ground rules with the people (and animals!) you live with
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. Designate quiet times and times when you're unapproachable and have a signal for when you're in meetings.
If you have children who are learning at home while you're working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during break times. Additionally, just because you're home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn't mean other family members should assume you will always do it. Likewise, you may need to see about setting clear boundaries with your cat and perhaps find some ways to distract them from spreading themselves over your keyboard.
5. Stay focussed
Some days are worse than others, but getting distracted is very easy. Some research has found that 20% of people could be chronic procrastinators not just at work but at every step of their lives.
We love to-do lists (our go-to is Todoist
), reminders, and the Pomodoro technique
! They take a little bit of time setting up to get right, but once they're in place you'll find that they can really aid your focus and allowing you to work smarter.
6. Leave the house
Most of the lockdowns around the world have exceptions for the daily exercise and getting out of the house can be fantastic for your mental health but also your physical health. Explore the local parks or wildlife reserves, if you're lucky enough to live near one. Leaving the building once a day should be a priority, even if it's just for a few minutes.
We cannot stress enough that you need to keep yourselves and others safe - wear masks and keep your distance!
7. Keep a good work-life balance
It can be easy to work a few minutes here and there or to jump back on something after you've had dinner, but you shouldn't let your hobbies and interests get in the way. Turn off your laptop and disable the emails on your phone - things can usually wait until the next morning!
8. Stay social with your colleagues
Whether you're using emails, Slack, Zoom, or one of the many other services, make sure you're also keeping up social encounters with your colleagues. You're all in the same boat and asking someone about their day or chatting about a TV show you've both watched can make all the difference and will help in not feeling quite so isolated.
9. Use that sound system!
With no colleagues to worry about you can really turn up the music. If you're into belting out Broadway showtunes or desk dance to EDM, the only ones judging you will be your pets and - if you're really loud - your neighbours! We love Spotify
and its daily generated Daily Mix playlists.
10. Protect your web data with a VPN
If you haven't used one yourself before already, you most likely know that they are a must if you're ever connecting to the internet from a public wifi, such as in a coffee shop, however, they're also important to protect yourself and your data when you're connecting from home. Protect yourself and your data from intrusion, surveillance, and interception with less than your commute to work would have cost. Secure your web browsing with a VPN from allthe.domains
What would you add to our list?