Now more than ever, people are embarking on the adventure that is ‘working from home’. Trying to have your personal life and your work life coexist under one roof has its challenges. Here are some top tips from the Market inn team for making working from home work for you.
1. Create a dedicated workspace
Choose a space in your home to be your dedicated place for working. This could be a spare bedroom, a particular corner of a room, a particular part of a table or even just a particular chair. Make the space comfortable and make it yours!
2. Don’t stay in your PJs
Getting dressed helps you to get out of the relax and sleep zone and into the get up and get on zone. Amy even continues to don her suit jacket! You don’t have to go as far as that; but, be warned, staying in your PJs could see Netflix getting more action than Excel.
3. Schedule your work hours
Choose a specific set of working hours, and stick to them. Dipping in and out of work throughout the day is not a good recipe for concentration and productivity. It also makes it difficult for you to properly switch off from work.
4. Create habits to signal the start and the end of the day
Having something that signals the start of your working day and end of your working day is a great way to help demarcate work time and personal time. For your start signal, it could be making a hot drink in a particular mug. For your end signal, it could be simply shutting down your laptop. Georgia’s start signal is the lighting of her desk candle; blowing it out signifies the end of her day.
5. Solidify your schedule the day before
Setting out your schedule for the next day at the end of the day before makes getting down to work the next day much easier. Cracking on with your first task feels a lot more doable when it’s already been decided what that task is. You don’t want midday to strike and find you’re still procrastinating in a myriad of memes.
6. Take breaks
Sitting down, staring at your screen all day is not healthy. Make sure you take breaks: move away from your dedicated workspace, turn off work notifications and have a bite to eat, a cup of tea, a stretch and give yourself a work-free breather.
7. Low-level background noise
Working without the general office buzz may make you feel alone. One way to combat this is to put music, television or the radio on in the background at a low level of volume. Harry likes a background accompaniment of Queen’s Greatest Hits. Of course, if you have a hectic household you might prefer complete peace and quiet!
8. Communicate your working from home circumstances to your household
Let the other people in your household know about your working from home setup. Tell them what hours you are working and what you want the rules to be during those hours. Tell them your signals, e.g. headphones on or door closed means no disturbing. You don’t want an unexpected appearance from your toddler on your conference call – we all remember that BBC interview.
9. Use your “commute” hours for something positive
Working from home means you have gained back the minutes or hours you previously had to use to commute. Use this time to do something valuable to you: listen to a podcast, video call a friend, do a workout (or just get some extra zzz’s)
10. Stay connected with colleagues
Working from home can make you feel a little lonely. You might not be sitting next to your colleagues or bumping into them in the corridor, but you can still connect. Use instant messaging, phone or video conferencing (e.g. Zoom). Video conferencing is always an experience – evidence here! Your team may also want to have shared project or to-do lists (e.g. Trello), so you can see what needs to be done and when, and who’s completed what. We are regularly connecting through the power of digital!
Adapting to working from home can be tricky, so don’t be too hard on yourself. You will find your flow and what works for you – whether it’s suits, candles, Queen, all three or none!