5 top tips for working from home

5 top tips for working from home long term

Lots of people have suddenly found themselves working from home, away from the normal working environment and without the usual interaction with colleagues. It’s strange, lonely and presents a big learning curve with new technology thrown in the mix! If you also have a partner and children at home, well that’s a whole different ball game!

As a VA, I have been working from home on my own for a long time, so this scenario is not strange to me at all. What is strange, is all of a sudden having a house full all day every day whilst I am trying to work. At the start of lockdown I was really surprised at how little tolerance I had for background noise whilst working. Being out of the office environment for almost 4 years meant that the only noise I was used to whilst working was my podcast of choice, it’s been hard to get used to! It is also a massive juggle to carry on working whilst also trying to homeschool our two children. I’m actually not sure we have cracked that completely yet, but we get through each day with them having done around 2/3 hours of school work so we are surviving and that’s the main thing!

It’s been documented in the news that twitter are going to keep their staff working at home going forward, and I am wondering how many other businesses will be considering doing the same. There are pros and cons, and it really does depend on the type of person you are as to whether or not you will think it is a good idea. Home working doesn’t suit every one, but I would like to see more businesses offering it as a choice – to increase flexible working options for those who would like it. We really could eradicate the typical 9-5 working day and start allowing people to create their own working hours, that jointly suits the person and the business.

I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips for working from home for those who may find themselves working from home long after life returns to normal:

  1.  Create a dedicated working space. Somewhere ideally where you can have a desk and where it is light, calm and quiet. This might not be possible at the moment, but if you do carry on working from home, start thinking about how that could look now.
  2. Plan your video conferences. If you have control over your own diary, plan in video conferences to suit you. For some that might mean getting them all booked in on one day so that the rest of the week is purely to get your head down and work, and for others it might mean booking one in every day and no more. Zoom fatigue is a thing!
  3. Create a structure. It might be very tempting to crawl out of bed and go straight to your computer and work in your PJs all day, but keeping a semi normal structure is essential for good mental health. Get up, get dressed and keep your normal morning routine before you sit at your desk. Make sure you take a break for lunch and always make sure you finish at your normal finish time – don’t be tempted to carry on working into the evening. It’s still important to switch off.
  4. Take regular breaks. It sounds simple, but it is very easy to get caught up in a task when you are working on your own without any distractions and suddenly hours have passed without you realising! Set an alarm every hour and get up and stretch, just like you would at work by walking to the printer or popping to discuss something with a colleague in another office.
  5.  Keep hydrated.  At the risk of sounding like your mum – it is really important to keep drinking! Get yourself a glass of water or a hot drink each time you get up for a break and you won’t feel drained by the end of day!

If you do suddenly find yourself working from home for the foreseeable, embrace it and make it work for you and it will be just fine.

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