Whether we are already used to working from home, or completely new to the experience, the Coronavirus lockdowns have significantly changed life for everyone.
We must all adapt to this unprecedented situation, at home and during our working day. We would like to share some good practices with you, so we can all maintain a good quality of life when home-working.
Here are some tips for organizing your day and finding a balance between your private and working life.
Create your home working environment
- Create a clear distinction between your private space and your home workplace. Before the difference was clear, however, it’s now important to make sure that you have a clear distinction between work and home.
- Make yourself a space to work that is just as organised and efficient as your workspace in the office.
That’s why you will need a committed place to work, which should feel like a safe bubble, dedicated to working from home.
To work well from home, you need:
Set up a peaceful area
Do your best to create somewhere that is:
- Light and open.
- Quiet, away from as much noise as possible (noise can be a real distraction for homeworking)
- A surface with enough room for everything you need for the day. You don’t want to be working somewhere cramped where you could spill a drink over your keyboard.
Create an ergonomic space
Working at home doesn’t mean we can forget about desk health and safety. Ensure you’ve got the right equipment that you need in order to make your workspace comfortable and safe:
- A desk and a comfortable desk chair, dedicated to your working environment.
- If necessary, a printer and paper.
- Your usual office supplies.
- An ergonomic mouse and keyboard.
- A flexible monitor arm, for reducing backaches and for your comfort or a laptop stand to ensure that the screen is always at the right height to maintain proper neck and shoulder positioning.
The idea is to have everything to hand so that you can work efficiently. And remember to change your position often. Movement helps circulation, makes you feel better about your body and improves your mental health.
Pace your home-working day
At home, you are missing the rhythms of your regular office day. The journey, your colleagues, office amenities; the rhythms specific to your usual environment have disappeared, and it is bound to be a bit disorientating.
Try to maintain your usual office routine to your new home working schedule. It will be a big help when it comes to pacing your working day. For example, if normally in the office you would stop at 11:00 to have a drink and catch up with colleagues for 5 minutes, take the time to continue that activity. Not only will it help yourself and the rest of the team remain connected, but it will also help to continue those vital routines.
Keep those daily routines
As much as we’d love to all spend the day in our pyjamas, there’s a lot of value in still taking the time to dress and prepare for a normal day in the office. Experts are categorical on the subject: professional work attire is an essential element of concentration. Also, if you would usually change your clothes at the end of the working day, keep that routine. It’s another tool that will help to maintain that separation between work and home life.
Keep to your usual working hours
Home-working gives you certain flexibility, but you should keep to your working hours, and not go over them. Try to make sure that your entire day doesn’t become your working day. Just because you are now able to log in after dinner and finish some bits and pieces to help get ahead the next day, it doesn’t mean you should.
Collaborative work is another reason why it’s necessary to keep your schedules. You need similar availability to your colleagues, to be able to maintain communication and responsiveness.
Use a to-do list to help keep you focussed
Your home-working situation will change the way a working day will feel. A good practice is to make a to-do list every morning and assign each task to a specific period of the day.
Take regular breaks
Just as in the office, break times have two main benefits:
- Refresh your ability to concentrate.
- Give yourself time to change your environment and stretch out, keeping your mind and body healthy.
The best place to stop for a break is for 5 to 10 minutes after each hour.
Remember, you are fortunate to be at home, with the greater freedom that comes with it. Take the opportunity to do things that are good for your body:
- Take a good stretch.
- Walk around for a bit and move your arms, to give yourself a little exercise.
- Take a breath of fresh air from out of your window or in the garden if you have one.
- And don’t forget the most important break of all, your lunch break! Remember to eat and take a prolonged time away from work to help maintain your ability to focus and keep yourself happy and healthy.
Keep communicating with your colleagues
Email, telephone, Skype; any of these tools are perfect for reducing any isolated feelings, and they are freely available.
Don’t overlook the importance of eye contact. Turning on your webcam in a conversation will help you to maintain the relationship and boost your morale. It will help both you and your colleagues.
That said, it’s also important to make sure that you’re setting aside specific times to concentrate on your own tasks. Just as in the office, you need concentration-time, when you are not available to others. Set your online status to unavailable and crack on with some work.
For a lot of us, this is our first experience of home working so we’re doing a lot of learning on the go. So long as we’re making sure that we’re looking after ourselves we can continue to produce top quality work just like we would in the office. Remember:
- Keep to your usual daily office routines as much as you can.
- Maintain a separation between your professional working life and your home space.
- Find a rhythm/routine to keep yourself connected with colleagues and remain focussed.
It’s not easy and for some, it might be worth remembering that this situation will only be temporary and that life will one day return to normal, but in the meantime, these tips can help you to make the most of the situation we all find ourselves in.
If you’re looking for equipment and furniture to help create your own home-working space, click here or alternatively you can contact the Manutan UK customer service team on 0800 652 6000.