A practical guide to working from home

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Working from home for the first time can be a bit challenging, but here are some tips on making it both productive and enjoyable.

Let’s face it, it’s work in another place – so treat it as such:

1. Keep to a work routine

Get up, shower, breakfast etc as you would normally for work. Have predetermined work day hours and stick to them. This is important to ensure that you put in enough hours (and people know when you are contactable), but also that you don’t work too much. It is important to switch off at the end of the day.

2. Dress for work

Slobbing around in your PJs and dressing gown may seem a great idea, but it does not get you in the right frame of mind for work. Additionally, assuming you share your living space with others, by dressing appropriately it sends a message that you are ‘at work’ and not on holiday, so not to be disturbed.

3.Try and set up a dedicated work space.

Things to aim for:
Make it separate from your general living area
Whilst this may be potentially challenging depending on your environment, this is important on many levels:

It reduces the likelihood of being constantly disturbed by others. You don’t want to be on a telephone call with an important client whilst being badgered by various family members.

It reinforces the point about being at work, both for own frame of mind and for others.

From a GDPR perspective, if you have personal information on a laptop etc, you need to keep these secure.

At the end of the working day, you want to be able to ‘leave work’. If you have been working on the sofa all day, it will feel like more of the same when trying to relax in an evening.

4. Make your work space comfortable to work at

Working from the sofa for long periods is not good for your back. Working a desk is preferable, but the kitchen table may be a suitable alternative if it is not too noisy. Find a chair that is supportive and puts you at the right height. Consider using additional cushions if your kitchen chairs give you backache after a while.

If you normally work from an office and are relocating to work from home…

5. Ensure you have all the tools you require to do your job

– have you got access to all the information you need?
– do you use any specific applications, such as accountancy software that you need on your PC?
– can you access your emails?
– how will calls be dealt with? Can you reroute your incoming calls? If using a personal mobile to make calls, is the cost covered and do you want to show your personal mobile number to customers?
– is it all GDPR compliant? Can you ensure the area is secure, that devices are not shared (or if they are, that separate logins are used)?
– plan ahead, test that you have everything you need before you are reliant upon it

If you are struggling with the above we may be able to help. If you need advice on the technical aspects above, just give us a call on 03333 446 441.

6. Find a reason to leave the house

Without a reason to leave, it is all too easy to find days have passed and you have not been outside, this is not good for you. If you have a dog, take it for a walk – or just walk round the block or go for a coffee once a day.

7. Talk to someone

If your job does not specifically involve talking to people, working from home can be great – no distractions! However days can again pass and you haven’t spoken to anyone, especially if you live on your own. This can be very isolating, so once in a while pick up the phone rather than sending an email.

Some additional pointers…

– it is OK to do small household jobs in the day, i.e. empty the dishwasher or washing machine while waiting for the kettle to boil for a coffee break. Short jobs of a few minutes every hour or so are good for you and mean at the end of the day you can relax more easily
– it is not OK to watch daytime TV
– would you take a call from your mother whilst at work and have a chat for 30 minutes? Try and educate family members that work hours means work

Think of your partner

It may not be immediately obvious, but you working from home can also be challenging for your partner. If all they see when they leave for work is you asleep, and on their return you in your dressing gown, you open yourself up to the ‘you’ve been at home all day could you not have done xyz jobs?!’. The answer to that should be ‘no, I’ve been working’, but it is much easier to argue that point by demonstrating that you are taking it seriously.

Think of your boss, and your job

You are being paid you for a reason. If you are un-contactable for long periods of time, your productivity falls or jobs that need to be done don’t get done, you working from home is not going to work for your boss, or for you.

The benefits

If you can make it work for you, working from home can have many benefits:
– no commuting, which is good for the environment and gains you extra time in the day
– flexibility to be at home if required, i.e. you have a child ill at home
– keep on top of the household chores
– good work life balance

Hopefully the above will help make a success of working from home.