Hints and Tips for When You Have to Work from Home.
As someone who works in the public sector, I’m not often working from home. However, on my days off when I get to do some blogging it takes me a few hours to get used to the change of scenery, get into ‘work-mode’, and generally not get distracted by household tasks!
Don’t get me wrong, working from home has it’s benefits – I don’t necessarily have to get dressed, I’m my own company, I can decide what I want for lunch as and when and not several hours before, and I have constant access to Oscar who’s always in need of a belly rub. However, there are occasions when working from home is a hindrance. Washing piles are a distraction, as are constant deliveries, and you have to constantly resist the urge to put Netflix on.
To help you get comfortable with working from home, I’ve asked Sharon for some hints and tips to make your #WFH experience an easier one:
If, like me, you’re only occasionally working from home, or current climates have suddenly seen you change your working environment, here are some tips from the expert – my wife. Sharon regularly has to work from home, as not only does she have multiple time-zones that she needs to cover as part of her job, she also has confidential meetings and training sessions that are better to be done at home.
Here’s their best advice:
Get a comfy chair
Honestly, this is one of the first things I say when people ask how I work from home. My personal preference is moving around the house if I’m working from home for long periods of time. Some days I’m on the sofa, other days I’m at the dining room table.
Wherever you decide to plonk yourself, make sure your back is supported and you’re in good lighting – you don’t need to damage yourself in the process of working!
Go wireless (where possible!)
One of the best things I invested in when I started working from home was a wireless mouse and keyboard, and more recently I’ve invested in a wireless, Bluetooth headset. This means that on days when I’m preparing presentations I can cast what I’m doing onto the television (ie. a bigger screen!) and I can type using the wireless keyboard on my lap.
Equally, when Kate asks me to come get something from the car, I can get up mid-phonecall and go outside without garroting myself with cables.
Have Background Music On
For Kate, she usually needs absolute silence when she’s working from home on her laptop, however I prefer to have a bit of background music on so it’s a more realistic office environment. My preference is usually 80’s classics as then I’m not too distracted by new music.
For me, music keeps me on one topic or subject matter rather than my inner thoughts reminding me what I haven’t done yet!
Don’t Isolate Yourself!
It’s so so easy – especially when you’re working from home for long periods – to go days without seeing another human until your family come home, however you really need to try and avoid that from happening as it’ll only make returning to the office difficult later on down the line.
For me, I take the dog out for a walk during lunch breaks or have collaboration tools such as Skype or Slack to keep in touch with colleagues – although that’s not to say we’re constantly talking about work!
When you work from home, don’t assume that you’re going to be left alone. Just like the office when something is happening outside or someone asks whether you want a cup of tea, you will be interrupted every now and again – whether it’s the postie or the wife calling you for a chat!
You might not necessarily appreciate it at the time, but it might be a blessing in disguise. When was the last time you stopped? Are you overworking yourself?
Take regular breaks (especially lunch!)
How, when or where you take your breaks is up to you, but it is VITAL that you take breaks. This can be as simple as looking out the window, walking to the kitchen to top up your water bottle, or having a stretch.
If the weather is nice I take the dog out for a walk or go for a scoot around the block, if the weather is not so nice I walk away from my “desk” or put my laptop somewhere else and watch an episode of something or play a game on my phone.
Steer clear of temptation
Unlike the office, your home is where all the fun stuff is – ie. the television – or at least household tasks calling your name, which means it’s incredibly easy to suddenly find yourself hanging up washing or painting the fence. Likewise, there’s often a plethora of snacks in the cupboard!
Whilst being at home is useful, and multitasking is never a bad thing, you need to remember what you’re doing at home in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil I might schedule a wash to go for later or clear up some toys, but if I let my brain run wild I’d be cutting the lawn in no time, not to mention eating my body weight in children’s snacks!
So that’s how Sharon survives home working! Do you work from home? How do you cope? What’s your advice?