If you’ve landed on this article with tips for working from home, then chances are, you are working from home. Is there anything more satisfying than being able to wake up, crack open a laptop and work with a cup of tea while wearing the free t-shirt you got from Jumpin Jaks in 2007?
But working from home really isn’t for everyone. Due to the UK Coronavirus outbreak, I am currently working from home, and I am only four days in and close to becoming one of those people that calls up colleagues on Skype for a totally made up reason just to speak to someone.
But whether you like it or loathe it, sometimes you do not have a choice but to work from home.
Tips for working from home
Get up every day and wash and dress
I know that some of you home workers will feel personally attacked by this. Don’t worry, I’m personally attacking myself quite a bit here as well. I’m not a pyjama girl myself, I tend to live and die in lounge-wear and wear shorts to bed. And as much as it is a wonderful novelty to work in your bed-time clothes, like all novelties, it wears off. As much as it sounds like a bit of a faff, you won’t BELIEVE how much better you will feel if you get up and have a shower. Nobody is saying you need to wear your smart office attire. If you get luxury lounge-wear that is as good as mine you will be comfortable all day!
Write a physical “to-do” list
I know there are all sorts of apps like Trello that you can have on your laptop, but for me, nothing beats a physical “to-do” list on a pretty notepad. There is just something so satisfying about crossing off a task you have completed with a pen. I also find it easier to look at my notepad separately from anything on my laptop screen.
Keep to your routine
Many people have a little “daily routine”, without even realising it. Personally, when I get to work I eat breakfast while I am catching up on any emails I may have received the previous evening. This is a small thing, but it’s easy enough to carry on while working from home. I don’t know what it is about keeping a routine that makes working from home that little bit easier, but it has always worked for me.
If you are just sitting at home anyway, taking a break can feel pointless. But you need to get away from your screen. Most people have between half an hour and an hour for their lunch break, and it is really important to take this if you are working from home. If you can, try to get outside or away from technology during this time. It’s neither good for your eyes or your mental health to be stuck for hours on end at a laptop.
Don’t work longer hours
If you need to complete something urgently then it stands to reason that you might work before or after your actual “shift”. While this doesn’t present too much of a problem now and again, try to make sure that you are not doing it all of the time. If you freelance anyway, make sure you set yourself a time to log off and finish up for the day. If you are just working from home for a period at your standard 9 am – 5 pm, try to be strict on starting and finishing.
Set up a home “office”
Confession time: I am the worst person for working from bed. During this current period of working from home due to the Coronavirus, it has taken me about three days to set up space on my desk for my laptop and second screen (and my iPad to watch Gossip Girl, obviously). The first couple of days are always fun and games, and then I had to do our internal “tracker” which is basically moving information from one system or spreadsheet over to another one. As you can imagine, having one screen and trying to do this was a nightmare, so I went out and got a HDMI cable as a matter of urgency.
Keep up the social chat
In a period where your whole company has been forced to work from home, the beauty is everyone is in the same boat. Most companies use things like Skype or Microsoft teams, so for the sake of sanity try to keep up the social chat as much as possible. If you have the capacity and authorisation to, schedule in a little group calls every day, just for a chat. If you are a freelancer try to use social media to build up groups of people you can talk to every day. I’ve made some great friends through blogging that I talk to both online and in real life.
*This post contains some affiliate links. This means I make a small commission if you buy something through a link and no extra cost to yourself.