The spread of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) means that many of us are opting to work from home. But while social distancing is a good way to reduce the spread of the virus, it will bring challenges to people who aren’t well set up to work outside of the office.
Here are our top 7 tips for staying effective when you’re working from home.
1. Set up a working space
Working from home might be a bit of a novelty, but don’t be tempted to slouch on the sofa all day. It might be called a ‘lap’ top, but trust us, if you don’t sit up straight, you’re going to have some serious lower back issues to deal with down the line.
Ideally you will have a desk, a chair with back support, a keyboard and a mouse. Talk to your boss about whether it’s possible for your company to provide these items. If not, then the kitchen table is still preferable to the couch.
2. Get dressed for work
Ok, you’re not leaving the house, what’s to stop you spending the whole day in your pyjamas? Nothing! Look, if you really want to, try it for a couple of days. But long term, you’ll be way more effective if you dress as if you’re going to work.
Experts say that putting your work clothes on will help you step into your work mindset. Plus, if you’re suddenly needed on a video call you won’t be left blushing.
3. Establish a routine
One of the nice things about working from home is flexibility. But for your own peace of mind, a work routine is important too. This might mean that you establish some core working hours for Zoom meetings and responding to email.
Try and have a proper lunch (ideally away from your desk) rather than grazing all day.
4. Stay connected
If you are used to working closely with a team of people then working from home might be challenging. Stay connected throughout the day. Remember to make time for a ‘water-cooler’ check in with colleagues – the social side of your job is still important.
5. Managing kids
If you have children at home then you’re going to have an extra challenge. In normal circumstances we’d advice you to organise child-care, but we’re living in unprecedented times and it looks like we’re going to have to adapt.
Don’t expect that your children will be self-sufficient for large chunks of time. A better approach is to split the day into smaller chunks. Focus on your core responsibilities and catch up on other tasks later in the day when your kids are in bed (or watching TV).
6. Work/life balance
A big problem with work from home is that the line between your work life and your home life can be blurred.
To stop this from happening, set yourself some clear boundaries. Don’t respond to work email outside of the core hours you’ve set and don’t work on the weekend (unless that’s part of your job).
If possible, close the door on your workspace when you’ve finished for the day. And if you don’t have a door that you can close, close your laptop and tidy your work things away.
7. Stay hydrated!
Drink plenty of water – you’ll be more effective and the regular bathroom trips will ensure that you get up and move regularly!