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Monday, 16 March 2020

10 Tips for Working From Home

Casually dressed woman in home office
My company sent everyone home last week and as we're a tech firm, we're all fairly used to it and have the right equipment and infrastructure. 

In my previous job I worked from home most of the time. It gives you a much better work-life balance, if, like me, you have a fairly long commute and are spending nearly two and a half hours a day travelling. I can cook from scratch, so we have healthier meals, and I can slot in a gym session when it's quieter. Here are my top tips for being effective (and happy) at home.

Ten Tips for Working At Home

  1. Don't sleep-in.  Get up at your normal time, and if you would usually be commuting, put that time to good use for yourself.  Listen to a podcast, go to the gym or have a walk. 
  2. Get dressed - don't spend all day in PJs.  I always used to put my lanyard on.  We're being paid to be productive and it helps focus attention that this is our company's time. 
  3. Dedicate a space for working. It might only be one end of the kitchen table, or you may be lucky enough to take over the box room and turn it into an office. Try to make it as ergonomic as possible: suitable chair which won't hurt your back, large monitor, keyboard.  Your company should be helping you with all this. 
  4. Don't feel you have to apologize for noisy children or barking dogs. It's your home! 
  5. Try not to spend too much time working. This is actually a common problem with home workers.  We've always been stigmatized with people saying, in a knowing way, "oh, working from home are we?"  I find I'm  often at my PC by 7.30 and still attending Skype meetings into the early evening.  OK occasionally but not every day.
  6. Use tools like Slack to have some banter with colleagues. Set up channels and share cat pictures or whatever it takes.  Have virtual coffee breaks where you turn on your cameras and chat.
  7. Have a proper lunch break and prepare something nutritious. It's very tempting to graze on rubbish all day when you're at home.  It's an opportunity to shore up your immune system against this wretched virus.
  8. Find time to exercise and don't feel bad about going to the gym in the middle of the day.  It's up to you to manage your time effectively, and you'll feel better about later meetings if you've already done some exercise
  9. Apply old-fashioned time management and rewards if it helps to keep you focused. Tackle the project you've been dreading at the time of day when you have maximum energy. Tell yourself you can have a reward when it's finished
  10. In the office you would naturally have a couple of drinks breaks, a chat at the water cooler, maybe a quick walk to the supermarket or post office at lunchtime. Don't feel guilty for doing this at home. You can feel really bad about not being tied to the PC 24/7 because you're worried about missing someone's message on Skype or Slack.  Set them to "do not disturb" when you're having a quick break.
Do you have any tips to share?  Let us know in the comments below.  If you're viewing on a mobile or tablet, switch to web version so you can see all the Disqus comments.

Sharing this post with Claire Justine, #ShareAllLinkUp at Not Dressed as Lamb, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge, Anna at Muttonstyle,#BloggerClubUK or #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings

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