Working from home can sometimes be more chaos than calm.
It can be difficult to avoid distractions and really focus on the tasks at hand.
As with so many things in life, organization is key.
Here are some tips to ensure your home working life is harmonious and efficient.
Many Australians have had to change the way they work since the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to stay at home.
For many of us, that has meant adapting to working from home.
While that may be a dream for some, others may find it challenging to keep rigid work hours away from the office.
To help make your work from home life easier, here are our top seven tips.
#1 Keep regular work hours
That doesn’t mean you need to work nine-to-five.
Depending on the kind of work you do, you may have the flexibility to work whenever you feel most productive.
But before you decide on your schedule, you need to consider the following questions:
- When does your boss need you to be available?
- When do you need to be available to communicate with customers and co-workers?
- What time of day are you most productive?
Once you’ve worked out who needs you and when, you can create a regular schedule for yourself.
While it’s tempting to give yourself total flexibility when you’re not being supervised, a lax work routine will only set you up to fail.
Not only will people find it challenging to know when they can contact you, but you’ll likely find yourself scrambling to finish work at the last minute.
Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still keep a working routine.
#2 Separate work and your personal life
It’s just as important to give yourself the time to work as it is to schedule in time for your personal life, or you’ll risk burning yourself out.
The trick is to compartmentalise; it’ll help you stay focused while working and reduce your stress when you’re meant to be off the clock.
#3 Plan your workday
To make your work from home life easier, plan your days ahead of time.
That might mean spending five minutes at the end of the day preparing for tomorrow, or you might take the time to plan your day first thing in the morning.
- Which tasks are essential to complete that day;
- Make a list of any phone calls or emails you need to return; and
- Find jobs that you can achieve if you have any spare time.
To keep you motivated, do the hardest (or most boring) tasks first.
#4 Plan your breaks
While planning your day, ensure you also plan to take breaks.
When you were in the office, you were entitled to take regular paid breaks, and it should be no different when you are at home.
People are more productive when given the time to rest and refocus their energy; you won’t be doing yourself any favours by burning yourself out.
Take a break every two hours and grab a snack, go for a walk or switch off with an episode of whatever you’re currently binge-watching.
The rest will give you time to refocus on work, making you a much more productive employee.
If you have trouble sticking to a time limit for your breaks, set an alarm to remind you to get back to work.
#5 Keep your home and office clean
You’ll be much more productive if your office space is and tidy and you can easily find what you need when you need it.
When your office is your home, the task of keeping up with the cleaning is up to you.
Keeping your home office clean helps you stay focused, get organised, and be productive.
Even if you aren’t particularly bothered by a messy desk or workspace, keeping some semblance of order helps ensure that nothing gets forgotten or lost in a stack of paper.
Keeping tidy extends beyond the office space.
If your home becomes untidy, you could find yourself procrastinating on work tasks by cleaning your house instead – bad news for your productivity.
You can easily set yourself a weekly cleaning schedule to keep yourself on track or call in a domestic cleaning service such as Jim’s Cleaning to help keep you focused on work.
That advice goes for the garden as well.
Since you’re now home through the day, you are literally watching the grass grow.
If an untidy yard distracts you from your work, schedule weekend or after-hours time to mow the lawns and weed the garden beds so it doesn’t bother you through working hours.
If you can’t find the time, call in a local gardener and lawnmower such as Jim’s Mowing to take the task off your hands.
#6 Create an at-home office
Don’t be tempted to work from the couch or in bed – those are places you associate with relaxation, which can significantly inhibit your work ethic.
You don’t need a complete home office, which can be challenging to achieve when you don’t have the space.
All you need is a nook that you can set up as a designated space to do your work.
This might be a corner of the living room or bedroom, or you might take over a rarely used dining room or spare bedroom.
If your new workspace is a nook or corner, you could consider hiring a handyman to come and build in shelving, a drop-down desk or even a wall to keep your space separate from the rest of the house.
#7 Don’t forget office ergonomics
Office desks are set up to ergonomically eliminate discomfort and risk of injury due to work.
That means setting up computers at or above eye level, giving employees desk chairs with the right back support and a spacious desk.
IT also needs to be considered essential in an ergonomic work environment, where internet access is reliable and you have the right tools to complete your work, whether that having means specific computer programs available to use or the passwords to all the cloud files you will need.
Your home office should be no different – your workspace still needs to be set up in a way that makes doing your job easy.
Depending on your job and the tools or programs required to do it efficiently, you may need to bring in an IT specialist to set up your computer with access to everything you need.
Shifting your work environment to your home can be challenging, but with a few simple changes to your routine and space, you’ll find you can still have a productive work day.
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