tips for working from home

Working from Home: 10 practical tips to make the new normal work for you

Working from home: it sounds great.  No commute, more flexibility for your working hours.  More time for fun.  You don’t need so many work clothes.  All sounds good?

 

If you have been working from home now for a few months, can it be done better? 

 

If you are just starting to work from home, how does the idea make you feel? Do you immediately ask yourself whether your internet is up to it?  And how can you do meetings with thin walls and a loud TV next door?  Can you cope working on your own or will you feel isolated and depressed?  And what about your family: will they resent the times you lock yourself away?

 

Let’s take a look at 10 really practical ways for you to embrace the new normal world of working from home.

 

1.  Dedicated space makes for better productivity

 

Whether it’s the cupboard under the stairs, a whole room or a desk in the corner of the bedroom, make yourself a dedicated space for working.   Try different spots:  do you want to face a blank wall or look at a view?

 

Check out behind you and avoid the embarrassment of the camera showing your bathroom or an unmade bed...Use your dedicated space only for working, so that your brain knows that when you sit down here, it’s time to work.

2. Get all the right gear for working

 

If you don’t get your equipment from your company, buy the best you can afford.  You don’t have to spend a fortune – try second hand deals.  Here’s your starter kit - some may be obvious but the better the set up the more productive you can be.

 

  • Desk

  • Chair

  • Good desk light, for working and for videos

  • Internet Connection

  • Electric sockets near your work space plus extension leads

  • Phones and chargers

  • Computer with webcam

  • Printer / scanner

  • Back up system so you don’t accidentally lose you work

  • Headphones – noise cancelling are best but more expensive

  • Microphone or good inbuilt sound system

  • Relevant apps on your phone and computer e.g. Skype, Zoom, Slack etc

  • Shelves for notebooks, pens and pencils

  • Memory sticks for transporting documents

  • VPN (a virtual private network) for greater security.

3. Make yourself comfortable and you can begin

 

Make sure that you have a comfy chair for your office that is the right height and is preferably ergonomic in design.  Chairs on wheels are usually more practical.

 

Put your screen at eye height and place the screen at right angles to the window so that you don’t get reflections or glare. A standing desk can make for a healthy change.  

4. Planning your day delivers better results

 

Keep a running to-do list, or a diary, a journal or a calendar.  Generate pop-up reminders on your computer.  That way, you won’t forget meetings or delivery dates. 

 

Block out certain hours for concentrated work and plan for phone calls or easier tasks in the times when you not on top form, such as directly after lunch.

 

Make time for training: you’ll need to learn to use lots of new apps.

5.  Eliminate distractions and set boundaries

 

Learn how to turn off notifications.  Don’t fritter your time away on social media, the TV or the radio. You’ll end up working all evening to get your work done. 

 

Get your family to understand that there are times when you have to concentrate and you are not available for them.  That can be difficult to do, but listen to their problems and agree on the boundaries for all of you.  

 

 

6.  Use clever tricks to keep up your productivity  when working from home

 

Getting into a routine really helps if you find it hard to concentrate.  Set an alarm or concentrate hard for the duration of a washing programme and feel smug when you’ve done the job and the washing.   Try techniques like Pomodoro

 

Some people focus better with music on whilst others like white noise or meditative binaural beats.  Find what works best for you.  Promise yourself treats or rewards: you can watch that TV programme you recorded if you finish that task.

    

7.  Take care of yourself with healthy habits 

 

Get Into healthy habits from the get-go.  Make it easy to eat well with a stock of healthy food so that you’re not tempted to order in junk food.

 

Keep a big bottle of water to hand and drink it. Keep it where the water doesn’t land on any of your electrical equipment or papers if you knock it over!

8.  Move around and take breaks

 

Give yourself regular breaks.  Walking into the kitchen for a coffee break or for lunch can give your eyes and mind the break they need.   

 

Can you squeeze in a walk outside at lunch time – or even 15 minutes gardening?  Promise yourself you’ll finish early and go to the gym. Or do an on-line yoga class before lunch. Another option is to take phone calls standing up and walking around.

9.  Keeping in touch isn’t just fun:  it’s vital for your health and your future

 

It’s vital to communicate what you’re doing and to be visible to your co-workers.  Go to your video conferences and virtual meetings.  Take up training offers. 

 

Don’t forget that in times of recession and job insecurity, it’s vital to keep building your network.  That’s where you’ll get support, business leads and maybe a new job if you need one. 

 

Contact is vital for your mental health too.  You need social contact – isolation is a unhealthy for everyone. Treat yourself to a little time chatting.  It’s easy to do on-line as well! 

 

10.  You still need your home even if you work from home

 

Make a regular time for stopping work and embrace your home life.  One way is to move from ‘work’ to home by clearing up her desk to make it nice for the morning.

Make Working From Home Your New Normal

 

Working from home is not always easy, but it can be made easier and more productive with a few practical tips.Sometimes it’s about focusing on the positives of the situation too – such as being able to see your family or pets more.

 

Working from home either part-time or full time is the future of work.  So why not get practical, set yourself up for the new normal and work out how you’re going to work from home?

About the Author

Rosemary Bointon is a certified content writer.  On her blog,  

Longlifefunlife.com, she helps older people work out what to

do now to live longer, in better health with more fun and

adventures.  You can find her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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