Remote working: 10 tips to help you work from home successfully…
Working from home may be a new experience for many workers, but it might also be a glimpse into the future with the ever-increasing push towards flexible working. It sounds like a great idea – not having to get up quite as early, avoiding the rush hour traffic, working from the comfort of your sofa, but there are also many potential distractions that can often hinder your concentration and productivity. Communicating with your colleagues suddenly becomes a challenge, the IT guy isn’t there to help you with your computer issues and not to mention the loud building work going on next door which makes it difficult to focus.
Whether you’re already accustomed to working remotely or if this is your first experience, we’ve compiled a list of some top tips to help you stay on track.
1. Dedicated workspace
Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the sofa – spaces that are associated with leisure time – dedicate a specific room or area in your home to work.
This will help with leaving your comfy sofa for relaxing once you have finished work and create a separation between your work and personal time. When your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time. When it’s on your lap, that’s personal time. You may even want to go as far as creating a separate user account for work too, meaning you actively have to log in and out.
Also, if a laptop is set up for work on a kitchen table etc, getting it out and setup in a morning and putting it away on an evening can also help separating work from leisure and means it’s not in view when you’re not ‘at work.’
2. Get ready for the day
Staying in your PJs sounds great, but this can kill your productivity. Make sure you get up and start the day right as if you were heading into the office. Everyone loves those precious extra minutes in bed, but getting up moments before you open your laptop can mean you’re not in the right frame of mind to start working. Leave yourself time to wake up and have breakfast before you knuckle down to work.
Even if you don’t need to leave the house, make a point of setting a morning routine and stick to it! So, when you’re ready to sit down and work, you will be mentally and physically prepared for the day ahead.
And perhaps just as important is getting ready to relax and unwind in the evening – once you finish work, you may want to have a shower and change out of your ‘work clothes’ for the ‘commute’ into the evening!
3. Invest in Technology
Investing in new equipment might seem like an unnecessary expense, but if working from home is likely to become a regular occurrence, then having the right setup is a must! You may decide you need a second monitor, a better laptop that’s easier to move around or maybe even a nice comfy desk chair. Remember, the point is that you will be working in this space every day, and so it needs to be comfy and fit for your needs personally and for work.
Purchasing a new laptop or home computer can be costly, however some companies offer a Technology Benefit scheme, which is a great way for employees to get the latest tech and spread the cost through their salary, helping to manage those finances.
4. Leave the house
I know, we’ve just told you to invest time and money in setting up a designated workspace and now we are telling you to leave the house. Taking regular short breaks can be a great reward for periods of hard work and also allows time to re-focus. Leaving the house on your breaks can give you a change of scenery, which can help boost creativity and productivity.
The same advice applies to those who work in traditional office settings too. Leave the building at least once a day. Your body will appreciate a bit of exercise, plus, the fresh air and natural sunlight will do you good.
5. Stay connected
Working from home might help you focus on you work in the short term, but it can also make you feel isolated and cut off from your colleagues in the office. Keep in touch with your co-workers with regular phone calls and video chats or try out some instants messaging apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams to make communicating much easier and allow ‘meetings’ to still happen. Also, using headphones or a headset will remove any strain caused by holding a phone, especially if for longer conversations, plus you’ll be ‘hands-free’ so you can use your laptop or device at the same time.
Remember, good communication is key to any organisation.
6. Use ‘to do’ lists
When you work from home each day and you don’t have your boss telling you what to do, it can become overwhelming trying to manage your own workload and keep track of what you should be working on. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, deadlines and even the little things.
Use sticky notes on your laptop or find an app on your tablet/smartphone to keep track of what you are doing. And if all else fails, there’s nothing wrong with a good old-fashioned hand-written list.
At Let’s Connect we love using Trello to keep track of upcoming jobs.
7. Avoid work creep
Working from home can be invasive on your person life. Yes, it is a risk but only if you allow it! Be strict with yourself – set work hours and stick to them each day. You may even want to write up a timetable, or set reminders on your laptop/phone. When work is over, shut your laptop, turn it off (or put it and notebooks, files etc away) and close the door. Leave it behind until you start work again the next day.
8. Stay healthy
Another reality of working from home is easy access to your kitchen, making it tempting to reach into the cupboard for a bag of crisps or to the fridge for that left-over pizza from last night’s dinner. Try and stick to making a nice healthy lunch, don’t neglect fresh fruit and if you find it easier, get into the habit of preparing your lunch the night before. Research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link to productivity levels.
And don’t forget to exercise, too! We’ve already mentioned about getting out for some fresh air, but why not set yourself a daily steps challenge against your colleagues to help you stay active.
9. Avoid family and friends
This can be difficult, especially if you have young children at home who want your attention. If your family and friends know that you are working from home, they might think they can just show up for a cup of tea and chat whenever they please. Set yourself clear working hours and communicate them with your family so they know when they can and cannot disturb you.
If you do have children, that need looking after maybe giving your them a tablet to entertain themselves or a film to watch whilst you work would be advantageous. Obviously having someone else to look after them, either at home or somewhere else will help you focus the best and if they are in, make sure they understand to not disturb you when working.
10. Background noise
We all have our different ways of working, some of us enjoy listening to a podcast, others may prefer a bit of background music and some people find it easier to focus working in silence. Figure out what suits you and try different methods until you find what works best.
It can be extremely tempting to turn to the TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime as a bit of background noise, but this can fast turn into watching your favourite series and not actually working, so definitely avoid as it’s a big distraction – save these for winding down after you’ve finished work and look forward to it too.
Remember, background noise is fine, but if it’s distracting you and you’re not focussed, turn it off.
Salary Sacrifice Technology Benefits are a fantastic way to access the latest technology products, allowing employees to spread the cost direct through their salary. At Let’s Connect we strive to bring you the latest, exciting products, constantly updating our product catalogue throughout the year. If you’re a interested in finding out more about how to implement a scheme for your employees, or you’re an employee looking to take part in a technology benefit yourself, please get in touch by filling in the form below…