Working from Home – A Beginners Guide

Working from home A Beginners Guide Title Image

While the idea of working from home is nothing new, it is something that has really gained popularity in recent years thanks to huge advancements in technology that helps us stay connected, share files, have face to face conversations and keep in touch in real-time across the globe.

For most this was an optional perk that was a deal maker when looking for a job. But with recent circumstances, businesses hands have been forced and now for a great many of us, we are working from home.

For many, this is a brand new experience that will feel alien and strange. Have no fear, we’re here to help with these 6 key tips to help you get started.

Choose A Dedicated Work Space.

The first thing you have to decide on is where you are going to work. For most people, this will be wherever their computer is. Try to find yourself a dedicated and comfortable spot to work that you can associate with your job and leave when you’re off the clock — that means get off the couch, and definitely out of bed.

There is a distinct benefit to keeping these places separate as you want to maintain your bedroom as a place to relax and sleep.

With this in mind talk to your husbands, wives, partners, family members or roommates about the hours you are working from home and the ground rules during those hours. This should help keep  

Assume that anything that can interrupt you will interrupt you! If you have kids you know this is going to happen. We all remember that BBC interview interrupted by a toddler. So make sure you schedule out your day but that they also know to enter your workspace quietly if they want you.

Keep a good routine

Routines work. We all have our own special routines for the working day. Sometimes we are aware of it, most of the time we do these routines without thinking. With such a big change in the way we work, we need to make sure that our routines are better adjusted to working at home.

We recommend that you keep a morning routine, walk around the garden to help you feel like you have ‘left’ to go work if it helps. Keeping your morning routine as close to normal as you can will help keep your mind sharp and prepared for work every day.

Dr Steve Orma, a CBT clinical psychologist stated “Routine also helps with stress … Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do. Put these into your schedule. Once this becomes your normal routine, it’s easier to accomplish everything, because it becomes a habit.”

Creating these new habits will allow you to strike a balance between your home and work lives, as tough as that may be.

Don’t get us wrong, this may take a little while to perfect or to get settled properly but a dedicated routine will allow you to work at your best and still manage to have all the comforts of home.

Make A Plan Or A To-Do List

Have a realistic to-do list. Things are going more chaotic these days with many of us juggling the kids and work.

Having a plan of what you need to do during the day is vital. Remember that the point here is that although you are still at work. So you have to make sure you structure your day like a workday and treat your environment as one dedicated to exactly that.

If you’re a to-do list maker, then make a to-do list. If you set dedicated email times, then set dedicated email times. You want to try and keep as much of your general workday the same as possible.

BUT,

You are going to have to make exceptions. There are going to be plenty of distractions, more so than in the normal office. So make sure you don’t overfill your to-do list.

You’re going to want to make sure you have things to do regularly throughout the day and keep track of your projects.

Make Time For Breaks

You may have structured out your plan for the workday, however, it doesn’t mean you can work without a break. You’re not able to do this in an office so don’t think you can do this at home.

Our homes are hotbeds of distractions. So whilst you may have your structure in place and routine locked down, distractions will happen. Plan breaks in throughout the day so that you can not avoid distraction but at the very best only content with them during scheduled

The concern many managers have about their employees working from home is that remote workers are really just doing laundry and bingeing Netflix. In my experience and observation, the opposite is usually true — people tend to work more from home because it’s harder to “leave” work. I worked from home for many years before moving into an office, and I definitely logged more hours when my job was in my home. Set “in office” hours and communicate these with both colleagues and family.

Switch Off At The End Of The Day

You’ve done your workday, you’ve finished off what’s needed and sent that email. Now switch off. It’s vitally important to be able to truly switch off from work.

We recommend turning off the email notifications, closing down your laptop and walking away from where you’ve set up your mini office.

You should enforce a hard limit at the end of the day. Distance yourself from work, so you don’t work nonstop.

Regardless of your schedule, be sure to establish set work hours to follow each day. Communicate your work schedule to co-workers, teams, and your boss. A good way of making this happen is to draw up a quick list of all the distractions you could be doing if you were at home. Like watching TV, playing video games, reading, catching up with friends etc.

Keep this list somewhere you can see it during the day – this is your reward once your workday is over.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Working from home takes a lot of discipline and juggling to get right. It takes focus to get everything done from an unconventional space. Then again our homes are full of distractions and other things to do. It can be very taxing mentally to try and focus between the two and once distraction sets in it can take a lot to pull yourself back to work.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself, this is going to take time and adjustment to get right. Cut yourself some slack and then get back to work.

Remember it’s a balance

Working from home is all about balance. Especially if you have kids. You’re going to have all the distractions of being at home and all the pressures of doing your work. So make sure you try and maintain a good balance between your breaks, your work, your home, and everything. It can feel like a juggling act so make sure that above all else your mental health takes a priority.

Working from home can be a big transition. You might feel any combination of lonely, isolated, stressed, frustrated, anxious, unmotivated, or — on the other hand — relieved, relaxed, energized, or productive. It’s all OK and normal. Any transition takes time to get used to, so try to be easy on yourself.

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