The number of people working from home has almost doubled over the last 10 years, according to the Office for National Statistics, and while there are many benefits to this more flexible way of working, for those of us who are not used to working at home, lack of organisation and other distractions such as Netflix, deliveries, and furry friends can hinder our productivity.
If you work from home, be it a day here or there or full-time, whether you’re a seasoned WFH-er or new to the set-up, you’ll want to plan it out. Here are five tips to help you keep it together when you’re working remotely.
It’s important not to mistake flexibility with a total lack of routine. Establishing a solid routine, especially in the morning, is key to your success as a remote worker. Set your sleep schedule and try hard to stick to it, apps such as Sleep Cycle are a great way to track your sleep patterns and wake you up in a more natural way.
When you do manage to drag yourself out of bed, get dressed. We don’t mean into your hoodie and tracksuit bottoms – go for a smart-casual outfit that is comfortable but still looks professional.
And when it gets to the end of the day? Pens down means pens down. Avoid the urge to clock up hours of overtime. There may well be situations that do need a few extra hours of your time but don’t make a habit of it.
When you’re working at home, you can’t really turn off the internet – it’s a fundamental tool. But with distracting notifications from news outlets and multiple social media channels popping up every few minutes, it’s hard to remain focused on the task at hand. Why not try the Self Control app? It lets you block your own access to distracting websites, your mail servers or anything else online for a period of time you set.
A technique that works to keep you on track in the office and that will work just as well at home is segmenting your tasks over the course of the day. If you have an online calendar, set reminders that encourage you to move on to new tasks. Google Calendar makes it easy and has a good guide on it here.
As much as we like our own company, sometimes working from home can feel lonely. With nobody to bounce ideas around with you may be left feeling uninspired to get the job done.
When teams and clients are unable to meet in the same room, video conferencing tools offer a great alternative with group chat, screen sharing and instant messaging functionalities. There are loads to choose from and your office probably has its preferred channel. But just because your colleagues aren’t with you in person, doesn’t mean all etiquette goes out the window – The Evening Standard has a good take on the new meeting rules for dialling in.
If at any point you feel isolated or overwhelmed reach out to friends, family or co-workers. Alternatively, Elefriends (soon to be known as Side by Side) is a supportive online community that was set up by the Mind charity. It is a safe place to listen, share and be heard. You might be working solo, but you’re certainly not alone.
We all know that too long sitting down is bad for both our physical and mental health, but what can you do when you don’t have time to hit the gym? Well, the NHS provides a range of equipment-free home workout routines that you can do in between client calls and emails. They range from 10- minute home workouts to focused sessions on strength, balance, and flexibility. You can check them out here .
For many of us, there’s little that will challenge sanity more than being at home 24/7. Calve out time for breaks and use that time to get outside, run errands and get some fresh air. Lots of research indicates that doing this will increase productivity and aid your general well-being.
And finally, take time to find some moments of quiet. Mindfulness has gone mainstream recently and for good reason: clinical studies have shown practising mindfulness to decrease stress and improve concentration. And if companies like Google, Nike and Apple are on board with mindfulness in the workplace, chances are it’ll work for you too.
However, for something that’s supposed to leave you feeling calm and refreshed, meditation can be kind of stressful. When is the best time to do it? How do you do it? How long do you do it for? Meditation apps are a great way of aiding mindfulness practice, they’re really accessible and let you pick up your practice anywhere and anytime. The Calm app provides guided 3-25 minute sessions on various topics including calming anxiety to gratitude and mindfulness at work.