6 tips to make working from home easier
Have you been asked to work from home because of COVID-19? If working from home is a new experience for you, these 6 tips can help.
1. Be positive
You might be upset about having to work from home. But you could also see it as a blessing in disguise. At least you can still perform your work and generate an income. That puts you ahead of many others, who already have or will soon lose their work because of the virus.
Being aware of this fact can make working from home easier.
It is much harder to deal with a situation if you see it in a negative rather than a positive light.
By working from home, you also help to slow down the spread of the virus, saving lives. And what could be better than that?
2. Separate work and home
If you are lucky enough to have a spare room or a room you can convert into an office, do so. Even if it is just a tiny room or a large cupboard. Being able to close the door behind you or the work area helps separate work from the rest of your life.
If that is not possible, find a place as far away as possible from everyone else in the home. That will help avoiding distractions.
If your work allows it, you might even be able to pack up everything in the evening and put it away.
Unpacking in the morning and packing away in the evening tricks your brain into signalling the beginning and the end of your workday. A great help with separating your work and private life.
Another neat trick: Get dressed for work. Just because you can work in your pyjamas doesn't mean you should. So don't. Or kiss attempts to separate work and play goodbye.
3. Stick to regular working hours
The easiest will be to stick to the working hours and breaks you are familiar with. To stick to your existing routine. For example, have breakfast and then start to work – if that's what you have always done.
Sure, you can stretch out breakfast because you have no commute. But if you are not careful you end up getting up later every day. You stretch out your breakfast, start lunch early and before you know it the day is over. And the work is still sitting there in the evening.
A big trap when working from home is the ability to move work to later in the day, so you can first finish something else. After all, there is still time after dinner.
Don't fall into the trap.
It makes it hard to complete your tasks and impossible to separate your work from your private life. And you'll end up stressing more and more about the workload which will start to pile up.
4. Stop distractions
If you are not living alone, talk to everyone in the home to make sure they respect your workplace. And your working hours.
If they aren't used to you working from home, they will treat you as they always do. Can you quickly do this or answer that? If you don't address this early by agreeing on clear guidelines, it can cause simmering disputes in your home. Just keep in mind that this can be tough on everyone at home, and everyone will have to get used to it. Especially the youngest ones, if you have a family.
Distractions are not limited to other people at home though. Right there on your computer are plenty of them. After all, no one is watching you!
Ask yourself: would you do this with a co-workers or the boss looking over your shoulder? If the answer is no, resist and do it after work. And if you catch yourself in the act, stop immediately and move back to your regular work without finding excuses. The more excuses you find to continue just a little longer with your side tracking, the less work you will get done.
5. Make lists
Making lists of your tasks is really something you should always do. Even if you work in an office. But it's even more important when you work from home.
By setting small and large goals on your list you can create a sense of achievement. It will help motivate you and make working from home easier.
Don’t forget to write down your list and to tick off the tasks as you complete them. A list in your head is useless, as you end up thinking about it constantly. A list on paper or in online tools like todoist.com or trello.com frees up your mind. And crossing out or ticking off a completed task helps boost your sense of achievement.
6. Speak to other people
Somehow talking to co-workers has become old fashioned. Even if they work in the same office. Chatting online or sending emails has replaced good old verbal communication.
Now is the time to start talking to each other again. And preferably using video conferencing tools such as Skype, Google Hangout or WhatsApp.
Working from home can be lonely. With the COVID-19 lockdown in many countries it can be even lonelier. Seeing another face every now and then will make it easier.
Sure, calling someone may interrupt their work. But so does an email. Or a chat request.
Even if the human contact is only online, it's better than just typing away all by yourself on your keyboard. Especially if you don't share your home with others.
Stay well, and keep safe...