Practical Tips for Working From Home During Coronavirus
29th March 2020
Working from home has suddenly become the norm with Coronavirus closing offices all over the country. Surprisingly, perhaps, home working is new to a lot of people. Here are some practical tips for new home workers.
1) Keep office hours
The temptation when working from home is to be switched on permanently because access is so easy. You can’t just pop back to the office to sort something out at 10pm but opening your laptop to reply to an email seems like nothing. Before you know it however, you are doing ridiculously long hours.
In turn, this will lead to an expectation that you’ll always be contactable and you will be getting emails at 11pm. It’s a vicious cycle!
2) Get dressed
Seems simple right? Mentally, getting up, doing your usually morning routine will definitely aid concentration. And you’ll look a lot more professional during Skype calls.
3) Have a dedicated office space
If you are fortunate enough to have a garden room then it is the perfect time to convert it into an office. However, if you aren’t that lucky then a little desk in the corner of a room with plenty of natural light is much better than sitting on the sofa, and you’ll feel way more ‘in the zone’.
Sitting in a proper office chair is also far better for your back and your posture.
4) Make use of to-do lists
At the beginning of the day or week, make a list and work out in which order things need to be done. Do not go off on a tangent without first adding something to the list and reassessing the priorities. Having 13 tasks on the go at once is not the best way to get things done.
5) Use phone and video calls
People seem to be scared of phones these days. It’s really tempting to send emails and not talk to anyone at all but if you’d usually pop to someone’s office to chat to them, give them a call and get it hashed out in a fraction of the time.
6) Take breaks
One of the common feelings about working from home is that you always need to be switched on and contactable, all the time. This is of course nonsense; you’re allowed to use the toilet, and make tea, and get snacks, and have a lunch break just like you would at work.
If you don’t, you will burn out; and staring at a screen all day without a break is really bad for you.
7) Get up and out of your chair
A normal office job can be bad enough but working from home, you’re not even wandering over to say hello to a colleague and it’s easy to become entirely sedentary, which is terrible for your mental and physical health. At the very least, stand up and walk around to take phone calls and make sure you stand up and stretch your legs at least every half hour.
8) Schedule meetings with a start and end time
People get bored and lonely working from home. They don’t have anywhere else to be, so meetings can go on for ages. This isn’t productive in the least; make sure you have an agenda and stick to it, and schedule an end time or you might be there indefinitely.
9) Try to stay off social media
Almost impossible when it’s part of your job, but it goes without saying that scrolling Facebook isn’t going to get that report done, that post written, that agenda sent… Closing the browser windows so you can’t see pending notifications and putting your phone on silent will really help.
10) Understand that you cannot do everything
If you have kids at home because schools are closed or you’re self isolating, then you won’t be able to work like normal. Not all of these tips for freelancers are relevant in the current situation, but some are, so if you’re trying to work from home with kids, do check it out. We are in new and unprecedented times and clients, customers and bosses all need to to understand that business as usual isn’t an option and appreciate that everyone is trying their best, but at the moment, people’s priorities are likely to have changed.