5 Tips to Help You Stay on Track While Working From Home
We’re all staying at home a lot more these days, and for many of us, it’s our first experience working from home. Now that many of us have the opportunity to work from home, we’re finding out it’s not as ideal as we’d hoped. Partly it’s because we’re sharing our workspace with others; spouses, kids, and pets. But it’s also because we’ve had a massive shift in our daily routines, and we miss interacting in person with our co-workers.
To help you stay on track while working from home, we have several great tips to help you out:
- Set up your work from home workspace appropriately
- Stick to a routine
- Take breaks from your screen
- Interact via phone or video conferencing when you can
- Get outside!
Set Up Your Home Workspace Appropriately
Not everyone will have the luxury of having a dedicated home office space, so you’ll have to get creative. Here are some tips for setting up an effective home workspace, regardless of the type of space you have to work with:
- Pick a dedicated space. It may seem like a fun idea to pick a different spot to work in every day, but it’ll be hard to get into a routine if you do that.
- Keep it neat and tidy. If you can’t find what you need and have papers everywhere, you can get overwhelmed easily. If you’re not actively using something, find a place to store it where you can easily access it.
- Find a dedicated spot for things like a cup of water or coffee. You may be working in a smaller or busier space than usual, and you don’t want to get liquid dumped all over your laptop accidentally!
Stick to a Routine
The good news is that you can get some extra sleep these days if you previously had a long commute. The bad news is that it isn’t healthy to stay in your pyjamas all day when you are home, even if no one else will see you.
Some tips to help you to stick to a routine are:
1. Have a routine
Do your usual “prep” activities. Get up, have a shower, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and get dressed. If you won’t be seeing anyone at all, you can dress more casually than you usually do, but you should still get dressed; it helps signal to your body that you are transitioning away from sleep time.
As circumstances permit, stick to a regular starting and ending time. There may be days you have to start earlier or work later than you normally do, but try to stick to your start and end times as much as possible.
2. Plan out your day
Plan your day out in advance. Before you shut down for the day, take a look at what you need to tackle the next day. Putting together a to-do list can help keep you focussed and hit the ground running the next day.
3. Take regular breaks from your screen
It can be tempting to remain sitting all day, barely leaving your screen to eat or get a cup of water. However, it’s not good for you, and it can quickly burn you out.
In the office, you would have frequently been taking breaks from your screen to go to a meeting or get coffee, so there’s no reason not to do it when you work at home. Schedule breaks on your to-do list or calendar. If you make them an actual task or appointment, you’re more likely to take them.
4. Get some exercise
Get up! Take a few laps around the house, do some stretches, play with your dog – there are all kinds of ways to get your body up and moving.
Take a proper lunch break. It can be so tempting just to hunch over your screen and eat something mindlessly. If you do this, you won’t enjoy your lunch, and you’re more likely to overeat. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, move to a different part of the house, get away from your screen and concentrate on enjoying what you’re eating.
5. Keep in touch via video
It’s tempting just to fire off a quick email or use a messenger app when you have a question for a coworker. But, it’s often better to talk on the phone or use video conferencing for several reasons:
- It’s quicker. When you can have an actual conversation — or even better yet — share your screen with someone, it’s much more efficient than trying to solve a problem via email or chat.
- It’s a better connector. You’ll feel connected to your co-workers after talking to them, or even better — seeing them! You don’t always have to talk about work-related items – sometimes, it’s just good to catch up.
- It’ll inspire you to get dressed. If you know you’ll be on camera, you’ll make an effort to get dressed properly.
6. Get outside
Fresh air and sunshine are vital to keeping you healthy when you’re working at home. Previously, you would have gotten outside at least a bit on your way to work. It’s important to make sure you continue to get outside.
Take a walk or go out in your backyard before or after work or on your lunch break. You’ll feel more energetic and refreshed after some time outside – even if it’s only for a few minutes.