Did you know there are 1.54 million people who work from home even in non-Coronavirus times? I have worked from home in various roles both employed and freelance. It has suited me as I have juggled the competing priorities of work and parenting. My biggest challenges when homeworking involved not having dedicated space just for work and also ensuring my jobs were valued as much as those of my husband who went out to work. With lockdown forcing many to change how they work, I thought I would look at how to work from home effectively.
How to work from home effectively
Homeworking is not a holiday or a duvet day. Your job still needs to be done so do everything you can to keep your motivation levels high. Goal-setting and to-do lists help. If you feel like slacking, remember you will have to report into your boss at some point. Also your product or service users may be relying on you and at a particularly stressful time. Although you may not need to get into your office gear to work from home, doing so can help you get into working mode. If you find your motivation is not high, it may be worth spending your spare time questioning whether you should change careers. Everyone has that much more time available at the moment so it is a good time to consider life changes.
Your office space
Take it from one who knows how vital it is to set up a proper working area at home. The more like the office or workplace it feels, the more likely you are to succeed at homeworking. Working in bed or on the sofa may seem tempting but will make you inefficient and do nothing for your back! Choose a location that has good natural light so you are not straining your eyes and because it will lift your mood. If you are likely to be making video calls, consider what you have in your background and make it uncluttered and attractive.
Looking after your mental health
The Coronavirus lockdown brings many challenges from homeworking to homeschooling, from social distancing to worries about our loved ones. We really must look after our mental health at this challenging time. When you are not working, you can use video calls to catch up with friends including colleagues. Make sure you make time in the evenings for the things you enjoy such as reading or cookery. Don’t be tempted to overwork – it is important to have that balance between work and play in your day. So many people are using this time to catch up on deep cleaning homes but make it fun perhaps by playing some upbeat music. Do all you can to ensure you are eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise. Try and get into a good sleep routine too. Finally, do your utmost to restrict the amount of time you are taking in scary messages from traditional and online media outlets.
Tools that help remote working
Ian Cowley, Managing Director from Cartridge Save says “Working from home on a mass scale may seem quite overwhelming to some businesses – especially if WFH days are not part of your current initiative. But with some smart thinking and investing in the right tools, you can make working from home a seamless operation. Here are our 5 top tips on working from home:
1: Set up file sharing tools: We use things like Dropbox and Office 365. The latter is brilliant for helping Accounts share large spreadsheets.
2: Use collaboration tools: Google Docs is great for helping your team work together in real time. Edits can be made on live documents, saving you from continually making draft copies, which could lead to error or something important being missed.
3: Introduce video chat to help reduce isolation: For a few years, my business partner and I worked remotely from one another but often had Google Hangouts running in the background. It meant we could chat as we worked on a project together, so it was like being in the same office space.
4: Invest in good quality office consumables: If you’re using a laptop, invest in a good quality keyboard and mouse as they will help maintain a good posture and prevent repetitive stress injuries.
5: Buy a printer: A printer is an essential part of any office set up, whether you’re at HQ or working remotely. I’d recommend a multifunctional printer with a scanner and a small footprint so it doesn’t take up too much space. You can get a great model for around £60 that won’t cost a fortune to run and that has Wi-Fi connectivity. Not all printers do and it’s unlikely you’ll want to plug your in your printer right next to your router.”
Do you have top tips on how to work from home effectively to share with my readers?