Working from home can be a great option to build a more flexible approach to work. The following tips will help you avoid overtime creeping in at home or extra stress on return to the office, allowing you to make the most out of working from home.
When will you work from home?
If you plan to work from home part-time, it is good to agree with your manager on what day(s) are most suitable. Some days may be more suited to remote working than others. If you are struggling to identify what days are best for you, answer the following questions:
Are there certain days where there are more meetings or group work? Will the other people be in the office? Will you be happy to join remotely, or would you prefer to participate in person?
Are there days when your manager and key team members are not in the office, and does it make sense to align with them?
Looking at your home life, what day(s) would benefit the most from you not having to commute?
It may be helpful to look at your calendar for the previous weeks and think about which days would have been challenging to work from home. You may want to avoid choosing those days or else organise your week in a slightly different way.
If you decide in advance when you will work from home, it gives you some structure and helps your manager and team know when to expect to see you in the office.
What equipment do you need?
Working from home requires a laptop or desktop computer, internet access, and a connection to your company’s corporate network. Most companies use video-conferencing software like Zoom or MS Teams. It’s essential to check and test these things at home to ensure everything is working ok. If there are any problems, you have a few days to figure them out.
Plan your morning
Knowing what you will do for the first hour you are working from home is a huge help. Write this down before finishing the previous workday and block off the time in your calendar. You could also create a weekly plan to help you focus on the most important work, whether in the office or at home.
Set up a space to work from home
When you get home, find your “office space” and set up your desk. The home office may be a dedicated room for some people and a kitchen table for others. Whatever it is for you, setting it up the night before means you can come straight into a ready space to begin work – just like when you are in the office!
Follow a morning routine.
Always get dressed for work, even if you are more casual than when in the office. Getting dressed helps you get into the right mindset and prepare for the day ahead. Avoid starting work before your usual office start time. Remember, you already have a plan for the morning, so you can have breakfast, work out, or do whatever you usually do.
Write down items you start, progress and complete throughout the day. Keep the list simple; its purpose is to remind you that you are getting work done and to help you identify what you’ve achieved at the end of the day. If it’s still blank by 11.00 am, take 15 minutes to replan the remainder of the day. Take a short break and return to work.
Take Regular Breaks
Take breaks regularly. Getting up and moving about when working from home is essential, so take regular breaks and ensure you are staying hydrated. If you can get outside the house for your lunch break, all the better.
Establish an end-of-day ritual
It can be tempting to work for a little longer when working from home, but that can turn into unplanned overtime hours. Take 15 minutes before your usual end time to review the list you’ve been keeping during the day. Wrap up what you are currently working on and finish at the same time you would if you were in the office.
Put away your laptop and tidy your “office space” when you finish. Even if it is powered off, leaving the computer open may tempt you to log back on later that evening.
Find a way to physically “leave work”. One of the benefits of a commute is that it allows us to separate work from home and decompress from the day. Replicate this by going for a short walk, doing some light exercise or meditation, or perhaps simply changing out of your work clothes.
Working from home can be just as productive as being in the office if you approach it in the right way. Follow these tips and discover the benefits of remote working.