Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdown and social distancing measures, according to the Office of National Statistics, up to 49% of the working population have been working from home. Remote working was already on the rise before the virus struck, but recent events have forced employers to accelerate that shift quite suddenly, and for many, it is here to stay.
Here at Search, we help people to adapt to the changing demands of the modern workplace, and find jobs that suit their passions, their abilities, and their lifestyle. So if you’re new to the whole idea of remote working, we want to help you in your efforts to adapt.
To that end, we’ve put together this list of useful work from home tips - because we want to show you how to make remote working work for you. Once you get used to it and find a routine that suits you, you’ll see why working from home is proving so practical and convenient for so many people. Here are our top five tips on how to work from home.
1. Stick to your routine whilst working from home
The most important aspect when adapting to working from home is establishing a routine and sticking with it. You (obviously) won’t be commuting to the office or wherever else you work, which means you’ll have more time to yourself in the morning. It becomes very tempting, however, simply to use that time for an extended lie-in - and before you know it, it’s mid-morning and you haven’t so much as turned on your laptop. Needless to say, this can be a bit of a slippery slope.
So when you work from home, make sure you get up at your usual time (say, an hour and a half or so before you intend to start work) and do the usual stuff - take a shower, have a wash, brush your teeth and get dressed in your normal clothes. That way, once it’s time to actually start work, you should be feeling sufficiently alert and ready to go. Make sure you maintain a regular routine like this, as it can do a lot to help you stay focused.
2. Don’t juggle work with domestic tasks
Another thing that some people struggle with when they’re working remotely is keeping different tasks - domestic and work-based - separate. It might be tempting to get a head start on the laundry while you’ve also got work tasks ongoing. This is a bad idea: you might think that it’ll save you time, but in actual fact it’s more likely to waste it. Multitasking is a great skill to have, and it’s something employers really value. But taking on domestic and work tasks all at once can send your entire to-do list haywire. Find out our tips for staying productive whilst working from home.
3. Establish boundaries when working from home
When you work from home, it’s important to have a space to yourself, where any disruptions will be minimal. Now, granted, this is a lot easier said than done - especially if you work from home with kids around. Nevertheless, establishing a dedicated work space is a good way of helping you retain both your concentration and some sense of a normal working routine. Resist the temptation of simply parking yourself on the couch and trying to work in front of the TV: you’ll find it difficult to maintain focus.
Again, if you’ve got young children at home (especially while they’re out of school) then it can be difficult to maintain that separation. There are, however, a few things you can do. Ask your employer whether you can rearrange your working hours so that you can do your work when the children are asleep; this will ensure you get plenty of quiet time to work. For children who are old enough to understand, explain the situation - tell them you need time to yourself in your chosen work area, and that they should give you space while you’re working. Read our tips on how to work from home with kids.
4. Check in regularly with your work colleagues
When you’re in the workplace, it’s relatively easy to maintain communication with your colleagues - you know where everybody is and how to reach them, and much of the time you’re all in fairly close physical proximity. Obviously, when you’re all working from home this becomes somewhat more complicated. Although there are plenty of communication tools you can all use to stay in touch (for example, Zoom, Skype, Slack and Microsoft Teams) it’s quite easy for colleagues to lose track of one another when they all work from home.
This is why it’s a good idea to check in with your colleagues regularly when you’re working remotely. Make a conscious effort to keep in touch with everyone; whether it’s work-related discussion or just normal chat, it all helps to maintain a strong sense of camaraderie and team spirit, and to keep everyone fully engaged with the wider team.
5. Don’t work yourself too hard
We’ve already touched on the importance of maintaining a regular working routine and minimising the risk of disruptions. But at the same time, it’s also crucial that you don’t flog yourself into the ground when you’re working from home. It becomes that bit more difficult to separate your personal time from your work time; the former can be increasingly intruded upon by the latter. Try as best you can to maintain a firewall between the two, and ensure that you take regular breaks through the day. It’s generally better to take a number of shorter breaks rather than one long break - this should help keep your energy and concentration levels up.