For some of us, working from home has been a challenging change of pace. The shift came quickly, and we all made do as best as we could — waiting for the day that we’d head back to our workplaces when everything was back to normal. Now that many of us have a year of working from home under our belts, it’s time to take a look at the habits we’ve formed and move towards really thriving in a work from home environment.
Working from home has many unique challenges when compared to the work environment you’re likely used to, so we’ve collected a few tips and tricks to make sure you’re at your most productive whether you’re at a full-on personal office space, or at your kitchen table.
Stick to a routine
This is the most essential first step to a happier and healthier work from home environment. Before you start anything else in the morning, get yourself ready for the day just as you would if you were going into an office. That means waking up on time, getting dressed (though you may go more casual than you would in the office), and generally taking care of yourself.
Next, you’ll want to carry out your day and your work schedule just as you might do in an office environment. If you’re expected to be at work from 9-5 you should be in a working mindset from 9-5 and not allowing your attention to wander off to other things. It’s much easier to focus and be productive if you’re sticking to work during work hours, and you’ll get your best work done. This also leads nicely into our next point…
Take your breaks, personal time is sacred
Working from home doesn’t need to mean that you’re always working while you’re home. Keep clearly defined work hours and don’t allow work time to overtake your personal time. Make sure you take your dedicated lunch breaks and take them in their entirety.
Once time for work is over, make sure you take yourself away from your workspace and into another room if possible, as this helps to break you out of a work-focused mindset. When we work in an office space, our commute time creates a natural transition process from work to personal time. Try to create the same thing at home by taking a walk after work to clear your mind and help yourself ease into the rest of your day.
When you’re going into work every day you’re entering a whole new space dedicated to work both physically and mentally. While working from home you’ll want to emulate as much of that as possible to help avoid blurring the lines between work time and personal time.
Creating a dedicated workspace doesn’t necessarily mean committing a whole room’s worth of space to your personal home office. Creating a routine around how you enter your workspace will help you make the mental shift into working. If you’re working in a location you need to use outside of working hours, pack up your work materials as soon as you’re finished work for the day to wrap things up. This could mean closing work related tabs on an internet browser, or filing away physical papers, but the key is to do what you need to do in order to “leave” your workspace.
Show up and communicate!
It’s easy when working remotely to feel disconnected from your coworkers when you’re not seeing them every day. Keep on top of the communication platform your team uses (such as Slack or Teams) and become a regular contributor to ongoing conversations. If your workplace doesn’t have a dedicated chat channel for more casual conversations consider creating one, as this can be a great alternative to the kinds of water cooler conversations you’re missing out on.
If your team has ongoing group meetings or calls, you should try to always show up with your webcam ready! While it’s not exactly the same as having a face to face conversion, it gets much closer when everyone on the call has a camera on.
That’s a wrap on our favourite work from home tips! If you have some tips you’d like to share, please let us know on one of our social channels. We’re always looking for ways to boost our own productivity in new and creative ways.