So you’ve always wanted to work from home (WFH), to shake up your schedule and get a break from routine and the daily commute? And now here’s your chance – your boss has told you to go for it.
If you are one of the increasing number of employees who are being given the opportunity to work from home, embrace it, but be aware that this perk brings big changes – it’s not just working in your PJs with bad hair.
So before you dive off to the beach or your local cafe with your device, have a read of what has worked best for people who’ve been doing it a while.
You may be tempted to stay in bed and work on your laptop. And maybe you will… sometimes. But as a general rule, best practice is to work from a dedicated space. And if that’s a piece of your kitchen table all good but get an office chair if you can; your back will thank you for it.
At least in the beginning, until you’ve adjusted to your new normal, stay with what you know. Get up at your usual time, have a shower, put on clean clothes – all the usual stuff – and start and finish work at much the same time. This will help you kick things into gear smoothly. Then you can start introducing different variables and you’ll be able to see what works and what doesn’t.
Get coffee, have lunch, like you would in an office. It’s easy to get stuck to your chair telling yourself that you’ll take a break as soon as you’ve nailed whatever it is you’re working on. We’re all different but generally breaks make us more productive. Get some fresh air, take some exercise, meditate… If you can’t meditate, try Live Jellyfish cam – whatever works for you. Then get back to it with a fresh perspective. And take some water back to your desk with you (lots of it).
WFH means it’s more important than ever to stay in touch with other people.
Slack, Facebook, Zoom, WhatsApp, Skype, Instagram. Take time out to chat. Human beings are social animals and a conversation can deal to feelings of isolation. If you find it’s getting too quiet, experiment with playlists, podcasts or background sounds. Music can supply the vibes you can’t produce for yourself when you’re alone. That said, keep a watch on your emotional barometer. Your mental health is top of the list. Reach out to friends, family and colleagues long before you get the wobbles.
In theory this should be easier working from home. Without an energy-sapping commute, you should have more time to build in the gym, the pool, yoga classes or time with friends. But it’s also easy to work longer hours without realising it. So keep an eye on it. Productivity goes down, not up, when you’re burning the midnight oil. Give yourself time
You’ll be more productive some days and there will be days when it just doesn’t come together. Give yourself time. You’ll get the feel of it.
There are so many pros to WFH and you can take advantage of them all once you find out what works best for you. If you want more guidance, there are heaps of articles and guides full of info and there are online courses if you want to do something more structured.