As lockdown has extended into 2021, the challenge of working from home has also continued which for many will be the first and perhaps the only time where this is the case. The current climate is even more difficult for those who had previously worked from a home office given the lack of external outdoor activity and social opportunities available.
With no definitive end to this lockdown period, we’ve written some tips we think you may find helpful to continue working from your home office.
1. Getting Dressed
The novelty of working from home makes it easy to make the most of the extra time in bed by rolling out close to your start time and logging on because “who’s going to see me?” And whilst you will not have to dress as formally as you might for physically entering the office, the entire process of getting up and getting ready as you may for work is likely to boost productivity. It could help bridge the gap between being at home and working at home as you have a preparation period for your day as well as the opportunity to ‘wind down’ and slip into something comfier once your working hours are complete.
Take care of your appearance and take care of yourself, you’ll feel better and work better.
2. Have a prepared workspace or office area
Similarly, to getting dressed and prepared for your day, having a designated workspace can help clear the blurred lines of working remotely. You need to be able to disconnect from your job otherwise you will end up affecting both your work life and home life. Even if just a corner in your building, having a place to ‘enter’ at the start of your day will really help to make you feel the difference between ‘working’ you and ‘home’ you.
For many, an area that you use regularly – like a kitchen table – may be your only solution when working from home. Ensuring that you set up your work area in the morning and packing up in the evening would be apt to turn on and off your working mindset and help you to ‘arrive’ and ‘leave’ work.
3. Work your hours
When your morning commute has been removed, it’s easy for many for to just use that time to put in extra time. “I wouldn’t have been home until 6pm anyway so let me just finish this task.” Be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not – just like you would as normal. There may be a quicker period between ‘getting to work’ and ‘getting home’ but you should still allow your brain the requisite time to recharge, refresh and focus on you.
There is a time when enough is enough, ensure you give yourself and the people around you the attention they deserve making you much more aware of the work to home and vice-versa transition.
4. Build and maintain and work start and finish routine
Your morning commute is a preparation period – your brain is given the time to prepare for the working day ahead. Some people like to listen to music or a podcast, others like to read and others maybe play a game on their phone. You can still do that mental journey at home and help yourself to ease into the working day rather than “bosh, 9am, lets go.” The chances are that you will not be productive that way.
The evening commute is also an opportunity to wind down and decompress prior to the evening’s activities. Even if this only goes as far as handling your laundry and cooking dinner, it’s still useful to have that moment in between to return to your personal life and time. Even just watching a tv show for the period you would be travelling allows you the time to switch off from work and get back to normality.
Sure, not in physical realms (unless you’re fortunate enough to live in New Zealand). In working from home, you lose the opportunity for casual conversation that occurs during the working day. Whether that’s about your personal life or something you’ve seen on the telly, it’s a key part of the working day that brings offices closer together. When calling a colleague or being on a Zoom call, be sure to have that period of catching up – what they’ve been doing with their free time, how they’ve been managing and what they’ve watched.
With friends, make sure you drop a call or message and check in on them. Maybe you’d usually have a movie night but there’s no reason you can’t both watch a movie at the same time in your different settings and text or call whilst watching. This moment of interaction will make you both feel connected.
The isolation can amplify feelings of anxiety or loneliness, and these acts of extra time and care can be good for you and the person you interact with.
These tips will hopefully make working from your home office easier – and as always – MBM Omega are here to support you with any office supply requirements you may have.