In around March 2020, more people than ever before suddenly started working from home, without a lot of time for either companies or individuals to prepare for the changes that it would bring about. At the time, nobody knew how long the COVID19 pandemic was going to last, and health and safety was the main priority, which led to lots of home offices being set up around the world.
Over two years on, and now remote working has become the new normal. Lots of companies began to realize the benefits of a remote workplace, with the majority now offering some kind of hybrid structure, where employees work from the office part of the week, and from their home office for the rest. Whether you are fairly new to remote work or are preparing to set up to work remotely indefinitely after the COVID19 pandemic due to changes in your place of employment as a result, keep reading for some top tips and tricks for a productive and pleasant work from home experience.
Design a Separate Home Office
One of the best things that you can do if you are working from home for some or all of the week is to design a separate home office space in your home. Whether you have a spare bedroom that you can use, a second reception room, a basement, or a sunroom that might be suitable, it will help you keep your personal and professional life separate and is definitely more comfortable compared to working from the sofa while trying to keep one eye on your kids.
A home office gives you a space to store everything you need to work such as your Lenovo work laptop, paperwork, and other accessories that you probably don’t want in full view in your home when you are trying to relax and wind down. It gives you the chance to continue ‘going to work’, just without the need to actually commute.
Stick to Regular Hours
Working from home does offer a lot more flexibility, as you don’t have to be in and out of an office before the doors are locked or the cleaners come in. If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer who doesn’t really mind when you get work done as long as it gets done, then you’ll definitely benefit if you have appointments or other things to do in the middle of the day that you can simply fit your work around instead of having to take time off.
However, it’s important to make sure that you have a schedule to stick to, so you can avoid ending up in a situation where you’re working late at night or catching up on weekends. Wherever you can, keep to a routine that works for you – you don’t necessarily have to work 9-5 if you have the flexibility to choose, but it’s a good idea to figure out when you’re most productive, and plan your day around that.
Set Some Ground Rules
Getting used to working from home can take some time if you are sharing your home with others. If you have children who are at home when school’s out and you are working, for example, it can quickly become a distraction. Or perhaps you are sharing your space with another adult who is also working from home, or who works outside of the home but at different hours to you. In this case, it’s a good idea to get the family together and put some ground rules in place for remote working. Ideally, when you are working in the home, you should be treated as being at work, and others should not expect you to be available.
Take Your Full Breaks
When you’re working from home, it can be easy to end up working through your break times as unlike working from the office where you might go out and get some food, at home you have everything you need in the kitchen, or you may simply be comfortable in your familiar environment and forget to take your break. But don’t short-change yourself when it comes to breaks as you’ll only end up burning out as a result. This is especially true if you’re not being paid for your breaks; just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should be willing to work for free!
Ask for What You Need
If you are working from home and are employed by a company, then don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to make sure that you have a work from home setup that works for you. In the office, you would be provided with the essentials like a desk and chair to work at, so if you don’t have these at home and don’t have any other need to spend your money on getting them, then it’s worth asking your workplace if they can cover the cost.
Many remote workplaces that hire employees are happy to order home office furniture for you or will repay you the cost of getting them to a certain amount, which might be a better option if you want the freedom to choose home office furniture that you like and also looks good in your home.
Finally, if you’re shifting from working in the office to working remotely, then it’s a good idea to try and stay social and keep connected with your colleagues. Whether you set up a WhatsApp group or have a conference call running on Zoom for a few hours a day while you are working, staying social and keeping in touch with your colleagues will help you prevent some of the drawbacks of working remotely like loneliness and isolation. Even if you are introverted and not a huge fan of socializing, we all need some human connection from time to time.
With remote working now here to stay, more and more workers are setting up to work from home. Keep these tips in mind to make sure that your remote working experience is a good one.