I’ve been working from home for many years and I just wanted to share some tips on how I’ve coped with the change from working in a sociable office to be at home in isolation. Here’s my 7 top tips which I hope will help. Please do share your tips too.
1.Keep your routine
So whatever time you normally get up – keep doing it. So I used to set the alarm for 7am when I worked in an office and even when I was made redundant I still set the alarm at the same time. When I’m now working from home and in control of my own time I still set the alarm at 7am but actually find that because I’ve been so used to getting up at the time I wake up at that time anyway so whilst the alarm is set I do usually turn it off before it awakes the household.
2. Washing the work off
This has been one of the most important things that I’ve kept doing and I would recommend doing something in order to make sure that you have highlighted the transition from work to home. When I worked in the office this would be either getting changed into my civvies, have a shower etc. So if I’m working from home and not expecting anyone to visit and not having any conference calls where it requires me to look the part then I will usually work my in PJ’s and then shower or bathe when work finishes between 4-5pm for me which means that my evenings are still mine. This also provides me with a deadline to get my work done.
3. Stay Sociable
One of the reasons that most people go to (or enjoy) work, apart from paying the bills is the social aspect of the job. We often make friends at work, enjoy social gatherings and ‘waste’ time during the day chatting about the weather which are all part of the reason why work is good for us. This can be one of the most difficult changes to make when transitioning from sociable work to lone working and one of the changes that I’ve made and don’t feel guilty about is having Facebook messenger open and my phone nearby when working. I have several groups on messenger for family and friends and whilst this would be frowned on at work I keep this open and my phone nearby in order to have some social contact with people. So my sociable transition has moved from direct contact with work colleagues to online socialising with friends and family and I think that’s okay.
4. Silence is golden
If like me that you don’t like too much silence at home I will often be working with some background music but actually I really like having the radio on as that means that I hear other people talking which can be quite comforting if you’re working from home for a long time. You get to know the presenters and feel part of what they do and it’s important for all of us to feel included and connected to people. I went for the radio as opposed to the TV as otherwise I would focus more on what’s on TV than my own work.
5. Keep Talking
Another important tip when transitioning to a sociable work environment to a lone working model is that you can lose your voice and I realised that when I went out I stopped being able to carry my voice and get my voice heard so I started to talk back to the cat, the radio or even myself just to share my own thoughts out loud. If you’re in a workplace where you can phone colleagues or talk to your boss then this is really important and now with conference calling this seems more ordinary then ever before so my advice would be to schedule phone calls or on the phone or online. Another thing that I did would be to make appointments on the phone such as massage treatments, dentist, hairdressers again just to have a conversation with people on a daily basis.
6. Go for a walk
I realise that I’m probably quite bad at this but realised that I could work on my laptop for several hours at home by myself and not even notice. In an office I was more likely to get distracted by other people either asking questions, offering to make drinks or pointless gossip and would often have to go other people’s work stations to ask colleagues questions face to face so one of my top tips is to get into a routine and go for a walk – even if it’s to the kitchen, open the back door and breath in the air and then come back to work. I try and get up out of my seat on the hour every hour and it can only be a few minutes but it does stop that lethargic and ‘stiff’ feeling of sitting too long.
7. Take a Break
I’m a grazer which means that lunch times become a thing of the past when working from home however one tip that I’ve benefitted from is going for a walk or doing something else over lunch times. It is important to get Vitamin D so a 20 minute walk for lunch is one of the best things to do. This obviously does depend on the weather but even when the sun isn’t shining I find that having a break from work to do something at home can be more productive.
I hope that my 7 top tips for surviving working from home are helpful. Please do share any of your top tips!