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Guest post written by Marcia Windsor Waite
We’re all having to adapt to working from home, whether it’s doing your job remotely or completing your degree from the comfort of your own home. Most of us were probably looking forward to a few weeks or a month of working from home. However, it’s months on from the first lockdown and some countries are preparing for their third lockdown of the year. We are here to help with a few of our top tips to avoid falling back asleep and ensuring a positive work-life balance!
Maintain Regular Work from Home Hours
It is important when working from home to create a schedule and stick to it — even when you are in the office, it can sometimes be challenging to avoid distractions around you. When you are working from home it is even more important to create deadlines and times to stick to. I find keeping a paper diary (you may prefer one on your phone or laptop) really helps me structure my days and prevents me from working beyond my working hours.
Avoid PJs — Get Dressed!
It is tempting to grab your laptop whilst you are still in bed and start working from there. However, that is not the best practice to get into! You are likely to find that working in your PJs and from you bed will affect your productivity and make you lazier and less willing to work. Try to get dressed each day, even if it’s changing from your pajamas into a pair of joggers, it will help your brain distinguish between work and bedtime.
Get into a Morning Routine
Once you are out of bed and feeling ready to seize the day, you need to find the next step that helps kick your day off to a great start. Is it having a shower before you start work to wake you up? Going for a walk? Or having a morning coffee? Whatever it is, it will help you feel prepared for your day of work ahead!
Find a Comfortable Place to Work
Not all houses will be set up with a good place to work, so maybe you struggle to find one. If you don’t have a desk and office chair in your house, try working at the kitchen table or breakfast bar (if you have one).
It is also worth talking with your family or housemates in the house to ensure everyone has space, especially if there are a few of you working from home. The last thing you want is you sister playing her much-loved saxophone when you are in the middle of an important business meeting.
Finally, try to avoid working in places such as your bed or sofa. This is because they are places for relaxing, so don’t get them confused with your working environment.
When you are working, you are bound to have the odd break. Probably more than you actually realize, even if it’s just the odd 5 minutes here and there to have a quick gossip with your team or grabbing a coffee and having a quick chat with someone else in the office at the machine. Just because you are working from home it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks — you are still working and need to avoid burning out!
With this being said, don’t fall into the trap of taking too many. You’re going to be in your own home where you feel comfortable, so it will be easy to take longer and more often breaks than usual. Therefore, it is important to schedule your own breaks so you know when you can take them and stay in a routine.
When working from home it is incredibly important to stay organized, because it is far easier to lose things in your house compared to your desk at the office.
Try to keep everything together — maybe dedicate a drawer that’s not in use to store all your work stuff or try packing up at the end of the day and moving your work stuff into a bag. This will avoid you panicking the next day because you can’t find your pen or the piece of paper you were working on. Trust me, it will make your life far easier!
Keep in Contact and Stay Connected
We live in a world that’s full of technology, so it is easy to keep updated with others, whether this is through text or video calls. Even if you live alone, you really aren’t!
If you don’t have a laptop that you can use from work, you need to make sure you speak to your employer and ask for one! Employers will expect that you need some home office setup so don’t be afraid to ask for things that you need to be productive.
Change Your Environment When Work Is Done!
So, the working hours are over! What next? Try to create a routine to disconnect from work to make yourself understand that the day of work is done. It can be hard switching off from work when you haven’t had to leave the office or change your environment, so try to make the step from work to personal time. Shut your laptop and try to take yourself on a short walk — this will help your brain distinguish the change between work time and chill time.
Finally, enjoy your work from home! It may be a struggle to keep going, so work hard, take breaks and, hopefully, the world will be back to normal soon. And if you’re looking for work-from-home jobs, there are plenty available — take a look at what’s out there, and good luck!