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Working From Home: A Practical Guide

In the light of current circumstance, many of us are now working from home in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. With this situation now being a reality for the foreseeable future, we thought that we would offer you a practical guide on working from home to ensure you remain productive and engaged with your business operations.

Be An Early Bird & Wake Up On Time

When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up, acclimatise to the day and feel ready to work by the time you reach your desk. However, at home, the transition from the pillow to your workstation may feel slightly jarring, yet research indicates that setting your alarm and getting up early enhances your overall productivity for the day. Otherwise, you are likely to prolong your breakfast and let your morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.

Set Up Your Own Routine

Just because you’re not commuting and going into an office doesn’t mean you should skip your weekday morning routine. Continue to wake up at your normal time, do some yoga or exercise at home, take a shower, get dressed, have your breakfast and morning coffee (or tea) before settling into your working day. Also, so long as you aren’t self-isolating, you may wish to take a stroll around the block, ensuring you adhere to social distancing guidelines, thereby recreating your commute and getting you into the mindset to start work.

Have Your Own Home-Office Space 

Whilst it is tempting to stay in bed or head to your sofa, those who successfully work from home agree that it’s best to set up a dedicated workstation. If you don’t have a desk that you can operate from, use your dining room table. In addition to making it feel as though you’re at an ‘office’, this practice will help you to maintain good posture, avoid distractions and leave your work behind you at the end of the day.

Organise Your Time 

When working from home, you take greater ownership over your time, effectively becoming your own personal manager. Without things like in-person meetings and colleagues working alongside you, you can quickly lose focus or burn out. Therefore, to stay on schedule, you should plan what you are going to do and when you are going to do it over the course of the day.

If you have any online calendar, create personal events and reminders that tell you when move onto another task. Also, try solidifying your schedule the day before, making it feel more official when you wake up the next day to get started on it.

Keep Moving (Literally)

According to research, short breaks spaced throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks. In relation to this, sitting all day isn’t healthy, whether you’re working from home or in the office.

If you’ve gained an extra hour or two from not having to commute, it’s a good opportunity to practice positive movement, which can include yoga, exercise, light stretching or a walk in the fresh air, ensuring you take care to observe social distancing and self-isolation protocol as outlined by the government. If none of that sounds too appealing, you could always listen to some music and dance along to get those endorphins flowing!

Stay Engaged, Motivated & Connected

When you’re in the office you’re more likely to engage with colleagues, but when you’re working from home you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone, which can be isolating.

If you work as part of a team, make sure you check in with one another on a regular basis, just as you would when in the office. Instant messaging and videoconferencing technologies, such as Microsoft Team, Skype and Zoom, can make it easy to check in with your co-workers and remind you how your work is contributing to the big picture.

Eat Healthily

Another work from home reality is that we have full access to the kitchen. So, when it’s time for lunch or a snack break, we are immediately drawn to the usual snacks, such as crisps, biscuits or chocolate. When we work in an office, we are at the mercy of whatever is available in the cafeteria or whatever lunch we have brought from home.

However, research has shown that eating fruits and vegetables has a direct link on overall productivity levels. Therefore, consider making it a point to make yourself a healthy lunch, just as you would if you had to go into an office. And, if you are an avid snacker, you can also avoid buying unhealthy snacks altogether. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to ensure you remain hydrated and alert throughout the day!

Take Regular Breaks From Work

It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous, and you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office. To give you some ideas, you could listen to some music, call a friend, get some fresh air or practice some positive movement.

Maintain A Positive Mental Attitude

Of notable significance, given the nature of the current situation, do your best to remain calm, positive and healthy. After all, we are all in this together!