Lockdown, although the new worldwide phenomenon, is also an entirely new reality for everyone. Setting up a home office, especially if you are not used to working from home, needs some thought and planning.
Here are some great tips for making working from home, work for you:
- Keep to a routine:
Working in your pyjamas is fun for a few days but, getting dressed in the morning is a better way to get yourself into gear. Maybe you can start a bit later in the day – after all, you don’t have to commute or fight the traffic. Use the time, either by having a bit of a lie in or just enjoying some spaciousness instead of the usual morning rush. However, find a routine (X number of hours a day) that works and stick to it.
- Create a workspace:
Like the pyjamas, working from bed is only fun for a few days. After that you sleep routine (and probably your self-esteem) will start to suffer. Instead of making everyone crazy turning the whole house into your office, create one specific spot where you work. Or, if your home does not allow for this, find the table and chair combination that gives you the best working position and takes minimal time to clear and set up again. Both options will help you and those around you as there will now be a boundary between ‘office space’ and ‘home space’
- Keep time boundaries:
While we are talking about boundaries, this is good time to strengthen yours. Just because you are working from home does not mean you are available to take work calls or take on work 24/7. Be clear about the times that you are available – you work hours – and let people know these. Remember we are all in this together, so we need to be considerate of others as well as taking care of ourselves!
4. Be disciplined about working and about taking breaks:
This is good opportunity to work on your time management skills. Make a list of what you need to do and set your priorities. Pace yourself and build in breaks.
If your home is quieter than the office, you may find you can concentrate better and get a lot done. Great, but don’t forget to take a break so you can recharge. The other can be true too, suddenly it’s too quiet and so you can’t concentrate. Set yourself goals and reward yourself with regular breaks for achieving them. (Avoid the temptation of watching an episode of your favourite series while you wait for inspiration. It will not stay at one episode!)
If you are sharing your space with others, you may be surrounded by constant family noises and possibly a partner who also needs to focus to get things done. Set a realistic goal of what you can achieve a day. Negotiate with those around you for a period of quiet – you may have to do this in shifts if there are little ones in the mix. Once again, build in breaks and rewards – don’t forget to reward those who kept quiet for you to do your thing!
- Planning for meals:
Your day is different when you work from home. You don’t have to commute or the brave the traffic – so use or celebrate this extra time. However, when lunch time arrives there is no canteen or handy take-away to provide a meal. Consider planning a lunch menu or pre-prepare meals for the week. Or, plan a roster and share the lunch making with others in the house. Who knows, the next Jamie Oliver may be waiting to be discovered.
- Practice self-care:
These are challenging and stressful times and this means we need to take extra care of those around us as well as ourselves. A small thing like making sure you are sitting on a chair that offers you support makes a big difference to your body. Another simple solution, seeing most of us are reduced to working on laptops and/or smart phones instead of the fancy office set up, is to pile some books under your laptop to raise it to eye level. Your neck will thank you.
Try to get some exercise each day, include some stretching and some cardio, skipping is great exercise and the whole family can do it. Drink water, it’s great for concentration and for calming the nerves.
Top tips for working from home, written by Tessa Pretorius