If you’re lucky enough to be able to do it, working from home can be an absolute treat. But just in case you’re new to remote working or you haven’t done it for an extended amount of time, we’ve put together a handy guide with some of our top tips to make your working from home days as productive as they would be if you were in the office.
Turning your home into your office can be tricky at the best of times, and trying to keep a work-life balance can quickly fall away when both work and non-work life exist in the same place. But while we are all trying to bunker down to keep as many people as healthy as possible, here are a few tricks that might make it a bit easier.
Set up a permanent working space. It is oh-so-easy to wake up in the morning, roll over, pick up your laptop and start working without even getting out of bed. And while a few lie in days here and there are okay when needed, it can become a bad habit to get into. Your best place to start it to pick a spot in your house and turn it into your office. If you’re already lucky enough to have a desk, bonus, but if not, map out a section of your kitchen or dining table and sit in the same spot every day that you’re at work.
Avoid the bed(room). If you can, try and keep your work out of your bedroom, that way your sacred sleep space can stay that way. If you are in a share house or don’t have a spare room handy, try your best to at least stay out of bed during work hours.
Get a good chair. Take it from us, there is nothing that will make working at home harder than sitting in an uncomfortable chair. It might not be feasible for you to go out and get a full office chair (though we definitely recommend it) but at the very least make sure wherever you’re sitting has good back support and is comfy to sit in for an extended amount of time.
Keep your morning routine intact. Get out of bed, have a shower, brush your teeth, make a coffee, put on some clean clothes – whatever it is you normally do during a regular working week. If you prepare breakfast in the morning to eat at your desk, do that too. Try, where possible, to keep this part of your day as consistent as you can to kick things into gear smoothly.
Get some sunshine. Even if it’s just for ten minutes every few hours: sit in your backyard and soak in the sun, go for a walk around your neighbourhood, open the window and close your eyes for a few minutes. It’s easy to get stuck indoors, but getting sunshine and fresh air is just as important as ticking things off your to-do list.
Take a break. Or a few breaks. Even though you’re working from home, you’re still allowed to have a lunch break. It’s so easy to get stuck at your desk when it is in your lounge room or your kitchen. Set an alarm if you have to, reminding you to close your computer, put down your pen, and go and eat something. If you find yourself regularly skipping your breaks, maybe think about using an app like Timeout for Mac, Stand Up for iPhone or Randomly Remind Me for Android (there are a stack out there, these are just a few we like) to help give you a little reminder.
Keep hydrated. Make sure you have a glass, a bottle, or any liquid-holding vessel filled-up and on your desk throughout the day. There is nothing worse than getting to 2pm and realising you haven’t had a single sip of water all day. Since you’re at home, why not make it fancy – add some ice cubes, a slice of lemon, live it up!
Get active. Whether it’s walking around your house for a few minutes every hour, taking the dogs around the block, doing a Youtube workout (there are a lot of fab free ones you can dive into for every fitness level) – your options are endless, just pencil in some time to get out of your seat every few hours.
Playlists, podcast, background noise. There aren’t very many offices that are completely silent, and if you’re finding that your house is getting a little too eerie pop on a podcast, a playlist, or even the TV in the background. Probably not a good idea to turn on that Netflix show you’re currently bingeing, but it’s always nice to have a little noise around.
Start and finish work at your regular time. Keep your office hours in mind, especially when you are working from home. It is so easy to start work early and finish late because you’re already at home anyway – but it isn’t good for you, your mental health, or your productivity to work yourself to the bone. Even though you aren’t going into the office, your work-life balance should still exist – everything left on your to-do list can be done tomorrow.
Communicate with your housemates. Maybe not everyone you live with is able to work from home or maybe you’re all working on different schedules – either way it’s good to get everyone on the same page, especially if you’ve got an important meeting or a video call set up.
Stay in touch. This is probably the most important part of working at home. Just because you’re not at the office doesn’t mean you need to be disconnected from the people you care about. Slack, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, Whatsapp, Skype – there are boundless ways to video call or chat to your friends and work colleagues. Have a quick “water cooler” stop in, make a cup of coffee and have a virtual cafe catch up, eat dinner together. Take some time out of your day to chat with someone – the company and conversation will do a world of good.
Got your own top-notch working from home tips? Let us know!