So, here’s what we do know, COVID-19 has everyone shook. And rightly so, loads of companies are encouraging their employees to work from home (WFH) in an effort to stop the spread of the disease and the likelihood of contracting it.
While WFH might sound pretty glorious at the beginning (hello no pants life), for those who aren’t used to working solo is can prove a bit challenging to stay on track and motivated when Neflix is just a mere click away.
To help you get through the foreseeable future, I—an all-year-long WFH gal—have rounded up six tried and tested hacks you need to know to work from home like a legend.
#1 Put Some Pants On
Ok I know I just said that this was a perk of the whole WFH situ but in all honestly, the number one key to success right now, is to go about your day as if you were headed to the office… and that involves putting on some clothes. Sure, set your alarm a little later, enjoy that sleep in that would usually be spent commuting to the office stuck in traffic, but when it’s time to log on—get up, get dressed and get going. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference it makes your overall mental state and ability to switch from chill mode to work like a beast mode simply by putting on some pants.
#2 Create A Dedicated Work Space
While it’s tempting to work from your cosy bed, don’t. Not only is it incredibly bad for your health—hey hunchback—it’s also not a solid long-term solution and let’s be honest, we could be working from home for a while. If you don’t have a spare room that can become your office space, all good, your dining table will do just fine. Just be sure to remove distractions, be it telling housemates/lovers/family that this is your work area so please try not to come over for a chat every 10 minutes. Also, turn off the TV and instead put on one of these epic playlists. If you are using the dining table, come clock-off time, clear away your laptop to signify it’s the end of the working day. When it comes to WFH, making clear boundaries is the biggest hack I can teach you.
#3 Enforce Firm Work Hours
This one probably sounds simple enough—you’ve got your work start and finish time burned into your brain, but when it comes to WFH the lines can get seriously blurred. You’re probably thinking the obvious here, that because you’re at home, away from the eyes of your boss you’re likely to slack off, take a nap, indulge in a long lunch break that turns into a series binge. But in reality, I found the opposite when learning how to WFH successfully. You need to learn how to properly switch off. If you’re a morning person or a night owl, because your “office” is just a few steps away, you can be tempted to “just get that one last task done”. Stop, check the time, then check yourself. Is your brain really working at its best at 9pm, or can it wait until tomorrow morning in your regular work hours? You already know the answer to this. The other major thing I’ve learnt over the years? Take a lunch break. Because you’re solo, it can be tempting to just push through but ensuring you take time to step away from your screen is essential to keeping your productivity high.
#4 Get Some Exercise
Again, sounds simple but chances are you don’t have the sweet ergonomic set up you have at your office, at home, so I urge you to get up and stretch for the sake of your back and shoulders. In fact, do it right now. Even better, pull on your trainers and take a short walk around your block. You don’t even need a podcast to keep you going because you’ll be too busy checking out all the comings and goings of your hood at a time of the day you’re usually in the office. You never know, you might even meet a new neighbour. Just five minutes of doing this will make a world of difference to your day. If you’re struggling to commit, pop a reminder in your calendar for every hour.
#5 Remember To Communicate
Once you WFH you’ll realise just how many little chats you have throughout the day with your co-workers—chatting about everything from the latest project your working on to what went down on last night’s episode of Married At First Sight. For better or worse, those convos are important to us, so now you’re working solo you’ll need to make more of an effort to communicate with your co-workers. That might mean being more upfront than you normally would be about letting team members, or your boss, know what you’re working on. And don’t be afraid to just generally check in. A “how was your weekend?” or sharing a funny article you’ve read will help make everyone feel more connected.
#6 Go With The Flow
This is going to be a new experience for a lot of people, so there’s naturally going to be some teething issues—more Skype meetings in the diary, technology glitches—but it’s important to remember you’re part of a team and if you feel frustrated, chances are your co-workers are too. Patience is a virtue sure, but it’s also essential in situations like these, so take a deep breath, stay calm and remain positive—happy hour is now that much closer.
While you're at it, be sure to check out these five apps to help nail your work/life balance.
Image Credit: EVA PLEVIER