Remember when working from home was a novelty? When it seemed unrealistic and unachievable? You envied remote workers whom you imagined spent all day in their pyjamas. You mused at how blissful and stress-free it must be not to have to endure the everyday commute or work under constant supervision from your boss.
If you are one of those that have been forced to work from home during this pandemic, chances are that your perception of working from home is no longer the same. Without setting a few boundaries and carrying out some rituals, the lines between professional and personal life can quickly blur when working from home.
In this post, we share a few handy tips that will help you achieve some sort of balance.
1. Have a schedule for your workday
For most of us, the morning and evening commute not only allows us to physically get from one location to another, but it also gives our brains time to transition. Carving out equivalent routines will help you ease into and out of your workday.
You’ve probably heard productivity experts recommend that you come up with a priority list the night before. This works as it helps your day be structured and promotes your efficiency.
Make it clear to your family and friends that you are working even if you are at home. Remember that while you might not be available, you are not inaccessibly locked away. You, after all, talk to your colleagues as you work, don’t you?
Setting time blocks for your tasks creates a sense of urgency thus helping you get tasks completed in time.
2. Set up a dedicated workspace
Your preferred workspace depends on the size of your home, the activities you will be carrying out and whether you are sharing the home with other residents.
You will also want to consider the environment you work best in. For example, do you prefer a little background noise or would you rather total privacy? If you cannot reserve an entire room, make use of a spare corner or even the dining room.
Invest in an ergonomic chair and a desk that maintains your computer at eye-level. Reserve the workspace for the supplies you might need such as your organizer, stapler or even your stash of pens.
3. Schedule regular breaks
Taking a break once in a while gives you time to decompress and refocus. While it’s tempting to scroll through social media as a way of taking a break, take part in an activity that allows you to step away from the workstation. For instance, you could use your break to meditate, exercise, make a healthy snack or bond with your pet.
Remember to set timers for when your breaks start and end. Be disciplined by getting off and back to work once the timer goes off.
4. Dress up before you show up
While it’s tempting to stay in sweats or a t-shirt and shorts all day, how you dress can either make you feel ready and productive and vice versa. Making an effort to put on something comfortable and presentable is likely to make you approach your workday with purpose and confidence.
Try to maintain the same morning routine as you would when going to an actual office.
5. Maintain regular working hours
One of the benefits of working remotely is the flexibility it offers you. You can choose to start early or extend your day to accommodate an errand or even someone else’s schedule.
On the downside, it’s easy to allow your work life to blur into your personal life when working from home. Have a clear guideline on when to work and when to call it a day.
6. Get rid of any distractions
There’s definitely no shortage of distractions when working from home. Some of the most common ones include other family members, constantly checking your phone or emails, noise and household duties. However, with intentional focus and a solid plan, you can easily overcome such distractions.
For starters, keep your workspace clutter-free. Avoid being delayed by household chores such as cleaning your dirty dishes or doing your laundry during your workday. While you may believe you can multitask by watching the TV while working, remember doing this might compromise your productivity.
Most of us are guilty of thinking that working from means that we must overwork so as not to appear to be slacking off. Remember that by working from home, you will be cutting off a huge chunk of social interactions that help you break the monotony or feel less lonely. Therefore, constantly communicate with your co-workers. Whether it’s an evening recap or on a group chat over lunchtime, keep conversations going.
Cut yourself some slack and take a day off to assess your mental wellbeing. On such days, it’s advisable not to touch your laptop and turn off any notifications from your phone and spend the day doing something that makes you happy.