Before you start
Keep your routine
When you work from home, usually the first thing to go is your pre-work routine. It’s easy to wake up, grab your coffee and just start working in your pajamas. However, experts encourage you to resist this temptation and try to keep to your regular before-work activities. If you shower and read the paper before you go into the office, then you should do those things before you start your at-home workday. It helps keep you get focused for the day and keeps you on track.
Give yourself space
Create a space at home that mimics your workspace. If you have computer or other equipment you use regularly at your office, ask your employer if you are able to take it home while working remote. If possible, your home office space should be separate from your living or sleeping areas. This not only helps you concentrate; it helps keep your office work from taking over the rest of your home.
While you’re working
Many people working from home because of the COVID pandemic will also have children or pets home at the time they are working. To minimize distraction to your work, it’s important for everyone in the house to be occupied. Books, puzzles, streaming video and online classes can help keep children and other household members occupied, and noise-canceling headphones help reduce distractions from pets or your outside environment.
When you’re physically isolated from the rest of your coworkers, increased communication is vital. No more impromptu meetings or hallway catch-up conversations can leave you feeling like you don’t have a firm grasp on where your projects are or what your coworkers are doing. Using online collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Skype, or other chat and video conferencing services can help you feel more connected to your colleagues and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your usual breaks. Get up, move around, take an hour for lunch. Whatever breaks you take during your usual day, you should also take at home. If you usually go shopping or to the gym during your breaks at work, try to find something similar that you can do indoors, like online shopping or streaming workouts in your living room.
Many times, people who work from home end up putting in extended hours as it’s easier to keep working when you don’t have to physically get up and leave the office. It’s important to not let your workday bleed into your personal time any more than it normally would. When your work is done for the day, get up and walk away. Leave your office area or pack up your work and put it to the side so that you can focus on personal time for the rest of your day.
Engage with people outside the office
Working from home, especially in these times of social distancing, can make it feel like your work colleagues are the only people you interact with. Take time each day to reach out to friends or family outside of your home. It will help you stay connected, feel less isolated and, most importantly, give you some time to talk about something other than work during the day.
Need to brush up on Microsoft Teams, or learn how to collaborate in a new virtual office environment? We’ve got online courses to help.