Updated: Jun 16
4 easy tips on how to work from home more effectively
If you work from home you already know the good, the bad and the stressful part of this new normal. I've worked from home for over 2 years and believe me when I say that things can get unpredictable. It's important to manage all sides of working from home because your personal life and work-life can quickly intertwine. Here are some tips for keeping your work arrangement professional and effective without affecting your personal life.
Tip #1 - Create an amazing workstation or two
This is the fun part, you have to create or find a workstation that will entice you to do some work. And don't work from your bed unless it's personal business. Anything work-related should remain professional and rather formal, this way you feel like being at work even when the settings are much different. Not to say that you can't work from the couch, the garden shed, the kitchen table but it is good practise to have a designated area which you call work.
when I first started working from home, I worked from my bedroom table, I later bought a new desk for my home office, I got new stationery and everything I thought I needed to feel like a working adult. Your environment is so important. I also opted to work outside of the house, usually at a working cafe. there are plenty of places you can use such as hotel lobbies, cafes, bookshops, local libraries, colleges and universities. The key here is to have a trial day to test these external establishments, you want to understand the clientele the environment, and assess if the noise and people traffic is convenient for the type of work you do, this might be possible for some people but I understand it may be unrealistic for some professional. The thing to take away is that creating a conducive work environment is key to effective and productive work effort so give it a good thought and take action.
Tip #2 -Set your working hours
Keep to your working hours. It is so easy to do unwarranted extra hours because you're at home. Don't do it, the hours can easily mount up and before you know you'll be working yourself tired. Set an alarm before you working day comes to an end and make sure you close from work ON TIME.
This tip is easier said than done and it may take practice to shut the computer down when the clock strikes. Who would have thought that voluntary extra hours would become a thing? The reason I think some people actively work longer and find it hard to close on time is because, number one we want to finish our work to a good standard, when unsupervised we want to prove to our employers that WFH is still a viable option and reason number two there isn't an incentive to close on time, there is nowhere to go to. But for the sake of sanity and keeping work and home boundary, it is good to consider going home at the appropriate time.
"All I was doing is trying to get home from work" –Unknown
Tip #3 - Dress up for Work
Working in PJs is so much comfortable. But what are the odds of having an unscheduled zoom meeting, okay let's assume that the probabilities are high. We've all seen the memes of zoom meeting gone wrong. But the main reason to dress up, even in a home setting is for psychological reasons. Dressing for work prepares our mind, it tells our body that, 'it's time for work.' For me it's a motivation, it's about having a routine even behind closed door.
The good thing about dressing up when working from home is that it doesn't have to be super formal, no one would expect a bottomed up blouse and a tight pencil skirt whilst working on your kitchen table.
The idea is to keep your hygiene routine the same, so take a shower, brush your teeth and put appropriate clothes on. I usually opt for a comfortable jogger and a nice sweater. But also undress for work have clothes exclusively reserved for home too, that way there is a clear distinction between the two.
Tip #4 - Change things up
Getting distracted when working from home is inevitable. The lurking bosses, unpromoted supervisors and the office gossips are no longer there to keep you accountable. You now rely on your own organisational skills to keep things together. Although working from home is considered the dream work setting, the truth is that things quickly get monotonous, boring and repetitive.
Going back to an office or a more traditional work environment could be beneficial to change the scenes. Staying within the same 4 walls can get overwhelming. Although I love working from home, I found going to an office refreshing, the change of scenery released inner tension which I didn't know existed.
Changing things up can also mean changing jobs, careers, work patterns, and shifts. Working from home opened up my mind to see that there is more than meets the eye. (hence this blog).
Working from home should benefit you, it should never be a chore and it should never make you feel uncomfortable. If signs of demotivation start to set in then know that something is up and you should quickly address it. Let's face the facts, working from home can get lonely, and even introverts can find it hard to adjust to. It's vital to keep good relationships and make time for social events outside of your home. Take a walk during break time, walk the dog during lunch. Find a routine that suits you and commit to improving it.