Working from home comes with many perks, but it can also bring some challenges. Here are nine tips to help make working remotely a success, maintaining balance, boundaries and productivity.
1. Create good workspace ergonomics
If you're working from home regularly, put some thought into your physical work environment. Ensure you can maintain good posture throughout the day – invest in a chair with proper back support, elevate your computer monitor so it’s at eye level and make sure your elbows are bent at 90 degrees.
WORK180’s Damian Karzon put a lot of time, effort and investment into getting his home office setup. “It’s at a point where I am more productive there, than in any office I have ever worked at,” he says.
2. Seperate your home office from your home
If you can, have your desk or workspace set up in a separate room, away from any relaxation zones. It can be hard to unwind at night when your laptop is in full view, reminding you of work. Keeping your desk in a separate zone helps establish healthy boundaries between work and home.
3. Set a schedule and to-do list
Creating a schedule is your best friend in maintaining a healthy and productive working from home routine. Each day, map out a to-do list of what you need to achieve – it will help keep you focused and on-track, and less likely to succumb to distractions.
4. Schedule regular breaks
Rather than taking a break whenever you feel like it or not at all, schedule regular breaks throughout the day, with a start and finish time for each break. Try to base it on what level of breaks would be appropriate in the office. You might even want to schedule in time to do the dishes or put a load of washing on, so you’re not constantly getting distracted by household chores.
5. Stop work and switch off
With the physical boundaries between work and home blurred, one of the hardest parts about working from home can be actually clocking off at the end of the day. Avoid ‘work creep’ by setting a finish time and sticking to it.
Karzon likes to go for a walk at the end of every day. “This helps to break up the work day from the non-work day. It’s also good to get some exercise in” he says.
6. Get dressed for work
While the idea of working in your pyjamas might sound appealing, for some the act of getting dressed in their office attire helps put them in the right frame of mind for work. It’s a physical reminder to yourself that you’re at work, even if you’re sitting on the couch reading.
7. Eat a healthy lunch and snacks
Easy access to the kitchen can also be dangerous when working from home. Make sure you have a healthy lunch and snacks on hand, so you’re not tempted by the chips and chocolate in the pantry.
8. Stay connected with colleagues and peers
One of the biggest challenges of working from home is that it can be quite isolating. On occasion, you might like to change your scenery by working in a cafe or public library. Also make the most of video conferencing and instant messaging platforms to connect with colleagues and peers.
“Sometimes it’s harder to communicate things over text, when this happens I tend to jump on a quick call using either a phone call, Slack call or a Zoom video call,” says Karzon.
If you’re working from home on a more permanent basis, you might like to consider spending a day a week at a co-working space to break up the solitude.
9. Avoid distractions
If you’re susceptible to distractions, you might consider taking measures such as unplugging the TV, using browser add-ons to block distracting websites or logging out of social media accounts. With no-one around watching, it’s entirely up to you to keep yourself on track and make your working from home arrangement a success for all.
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