My five top tips for working from home
by S.D. Robertson
Working from home full-time used to be fairly unusual. How things have changed.
This year, thanks to Covid-19, it’s something lots of people have been doing. Welcome to my world.
I’ve been working from home for several years now and, having previously been based in busy offices, it was something that took a while to get my head around. It’s a very different experience from being surrounded by colleagues in the office.
Personally, I love it and wouldn’t want to do anything else. But I know other people, especially those who live by themselves, can find it lonely and hard to focus.
Here are my top tips for being a homeworking pro:
- Find a basic routine and, as far as possible, stick to it every day. This doesn’t need to be a carbon copy of your normal office routine. But you might find it helpful to use that as a starting point and adapt it accordingly, depending on your personal circumstances. In my experience, without a routine, you’ll struggle to get things done and fall behind, which will only make you stressed and miserable.
- Don’t dither and delay. Procrastination is every homeworker’s kryptonite: an unconstructive waste of time, doing everything other than what you should be doing. It’s an easy trap to fall into; before you know what’s happened, the day is over. So recognise it for what it is and knock it on the head. To-do lists can be helpful here. Write that chore down, whatever it is, and deal with it later, when it probably won’t feel nearly as pressing.
- Take short, regular breaks, especially if your job involves staring at a computer screen all day long. These can simply be to make a cuppa or have a little stretch. Short strolls outside are great for clearing your mind, problem-solving and refocusing. If it’s a meal break you’re taking, definitely do so away from your desk.
- Avoid the Internet at all costs, unless absolutely necessary for work purposes or to connect constructively with co-workers. This especially applies to online shopping sites and social media. There’s no such thing as a quick look. You’re working, remember; avoid getting sucked in.
- Don’t become a slob. Get dressed and have a wash, preferably at some point during the morning. The mere act of doing so will give you an energy boost and a whole new sense of purpose. And avoid too many unhealthy snacks. It’s all too easy to reach for the biscuit tin or the bag of crisps when you’re based at home with cupboards full of food nearby. Be strict with yourself and try to behave as you would in the office. Eat fruit and drink water instead. Your body and mind will thank you for it.
I do hope these tips are helpful, although they’re by no means comprehensive. If something else works better for you, so be it – everyone’s different. Best of luck!