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How to win when working from home

18/03/2020

Working from home is not new for many. Our latest 2020 Market Report found that 67% of marketing, digital and communications professionals work from home on a regular basis. 

Addressing the fact that you’re now a home worker, full-time for potentially months, however, is another matter. Not only do you need the technological infrastructure to do your job, but have you thought about your home ’office’ set up, your routine, or your state of mind, for that matter?

Working from home can sound like a joy for some, but many of us still crave the structure and support that comes from visiting an office and working with a team every day. Here is how you can set yourself up to ensure that your home working is productive, positive and enjoyable.

1. Up and ‘out’

It’s really important that you maintain your regular office hours at home, especially now as so will everyone else. Treat your mornings as you usually would and use them to get freshened up and prepare for your day. Set your alarm, get up, have breakfast and a shower! It sounds simple, but actually they are easy things to forget if you dive in to work straight away. That may work for some people ad hoc, but sticking to your usual routine means you maintain some sense of normality and are then prepared to ‘go to work’, wherever that may be…

2. Have a dedicated office space

Obviously you’ll need your laptop, phone and space for your work. In an ideal world, you’ll have a desk and chair available that can be your ‘office’ whilst at home. You want to maintain that sense of ‘going to work’, as well as being able to separate work from home life. 

This may be tough if you are now sharing your home with others who are also working remotely, and even tougher if you have children at home! Wherever it is - your bedroom, an office, dining table or living room, try to ensure you have a space dedicated for you and that you can concentrate. Noise cancelling headphone might come in handy in a busy household!

3. Plan your day – including breaks

Structure is so important when working more independently. Plan your day and set yourself realistic goals that you can check off once complete. This sense of achievement will really help as the day nears the end. You’ll be amazed how that 2-3 o’clock sluggishness can give way to the realisation that it’s 5pm already and the rest of the household may be nearing clocking off time!

Plan your breaks too. You may still have local shops you can pop to for lunch, but if you don’t, make sure you down tools and make yourself a proper lunch. Learn when your sluggish zones appear and start to plan productive time-outs – from making a coffee, to walking around the block, to mindfulness and yoga. Or it could be catching up with your fellow home workers.

It is now more important than ever to stop and take a breath of fresh air. Sitting inside all day can take its toll and lead to headaches and stress. 

4. Stay connected

If your whole team or company is now home working – you all need to retain a sense of connection to one another. Not only for motivation and morale, but to maintain productive business conversations. Keep those one-to-one or team meetings – but use video calling. You can read our article on the top video conferencing tools here.

Even though everyone may be in front of their emails more, just think twice before you email. Could it be a much nicer, and easier, phone conversation instead? 

5. Mitigate distractions

Distractions will vary dependant on your circumstances and personality. It may be the baby, your fellow homeworkers, music or the TV. Try to limit your exposure to them however possible. Having your own office space is the ideal way to do this. But it could come down to communicating your expectations with others in your household about what is and is not allowed around you between your working hours. 

Phone distractions are ever tempting especially when you’re on your own and craving connectivity. Switch off notifications for things like What’s App or Facebook whilst you’re in work mode. Or, if you don’t need your phone for work, switch it to silent. 

6. Finishing up

Just as important as starting your day, is finishing it. Stick to your existing office hours if you can. Logging off and distinguishing your homeworking self from yourself at home is very important mentally. Depending on your home situation, you may have others around you that will demand this of you! But even if you don’t, shut down physically and mentally. Discover a ‘going home’ routine. This could be anything from a walk outside, to speaking to your family, to having a drink or switching on the TV. 

 

All of our consultants are working from home and we are readily available to help you throughout these challenging times. Contact us here

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