Top Tips for Working From Home
Ahh, working from home. At the start of lockdown, I thought WFH was going to be amazing. No commute, dress down every day, slightly longer lie in, lunch in the garden, and my choice of playlist. Oh, how quickly that novelty wore off. And here we are again with the suggestion of WFH when you can. So, instead of moping around, why don’t we take the opportunity to make this time round, better than the last and learn from our mistakes. Here are some tips:
Sit down and figure out how you were most productive last time you worked from home. What did you do that kept you motivated? What habits did you develop which were bad? Once you’ve done that…
Get into a routine immediately. We have no excuse now about not knowing how to work from home. We did it for long enough a few months ago. It apparently takes two weeks to form and solidify a new routine so don’t waste a minute more. Write yourself a schedule if you have to and make sure you’re not including any of those bad habits!
3. Office atmosphere
Group VCs. Chances are your colleagues are struggling with WFH as much as you are. Why not set up a video call on a secondary device that you can have running in the background? Not everyone will have the luxury of the second device, but if you do, take advantage of it. Keep the office banter going.
I cannot emphasise this enough. How many times have I worked through lunch recently? Too many. The outcome? I’m no where near as productive. The half hour or even hour I spend taking a break means I get my afternoon tasks done about the same time quicker than I do if I don’t take a break. And get up and do some exercise. Have a walk around the block. Or if you’re feeling super motivated and have the time, why not try a 20 minute HIIT workout. Get that brain going again.
Keep the balance. One great post on LinkedIn was on how a Director gathered up all her things after the workday finished and shoved them into a designated cupboard in the kitchen. If you have a home office, great, shut the door on work, and make a joke of the fact your morning commute is from the kitchen to the home office. If you don’t, pick somewhere in the house that you can put all your work stuff and then shut the door on it. Which brings me to…
6. Don’t ‘cross contaminate’
Designate spaces in your home that are for work and try not to ‘cross contaminate’. It’s hard to switch off when you’re sat in the same space you were previously having a bad phone call in, or struggling with analysis of figures. This will help you switch off better.
Don’t eat at your desk. Keep breakfast in the kitchen. Keep work and life separate as much as you can. Come away from your desk for lunch to get that much needed break. A mid morning snack is ok, but set meal times, keep your distance from the desk!
8. Office hours
Stick to your office hours! Would you work that over time at the office? If the answer is no, then don’t do it at home either. Would you do x in the office? If the answer is no, then don’t do it at home unless it’s going to be motivating and beneficial.
Sleep is important. Rest up like you would normally. And most importantly, keep bed and work separate. Don’t check your emails in bed, don’t start working in bed, don’t have a break in bed, don’t even look at your bed or you’ll probably just wind up falling asleep…those things are far too comfy!
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Everyone has different opinions, thoughts, feelings about working from home. If you’re lonely, reach out to your colleagues. Chances are they’ll be feeling the same. Make time for your emotions and don’t brush them under the carpet like they don’t matter, because they do.
Maybe one day they’ll invent holographic video calls to enable us to work from a virtual office. But until then, keep happy, keep healthy, and keep supporting each other!
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