Around a quarter of Brits now work from home. There are huge benefits for employees and freelancers – no commute saving time and money, the opportunity to work around other commitments, and for some, a more focused work space.
The next few months will see working from home becoming the standard way of operating in countries around the world.
So how can you make sure it works for you?
Have a routine
If you would usually get up at 7, do the same at home. Without a commute, you might have to pop to the shops for essentials or do a home work out. Then, sit down at 9 and make a to do list for the day to help keep you on track and working efficiently. Structure your day like you would in the office, and have meetings and reviews when you need to.
Use your technology to stay connected with your team and colleagues. Have regular check ins, and consider a ‘stand up’ in the morning. You might want to have an afternoon tea break together over video conferencing. Don’t forget to keep each other informed of the work and progress you’re making. Just because you’re not next to each other doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep talking.
Work when you’re most productive
If you can be more flexible about your routine, think about when you have the most energy and capitalise on your most productive periods, by saving harder tasks for when you know you'll be in the right headspace for them. Use slower points of the day to knock out the easier tasks that you’ve got lined up.
Make sure any friends and family who are at home with you know that you’re busy and still working. Communicate to them what you need, and how just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you’re always on.
Hear a voice
It’s not only important to communicate for business, but also your mental health. Working from a quiet home can be isolating, so make sure you keep talking. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and hear someone’s voice! Similarly, it can be nice to see someone’s face, so consider Zoom, Google Hangouts, or something similar.
Use collaborative tools
It’s much easier to work on collaborative projects if you use tools built for this. Rather than downloading documents on to your machine and ending up with multiple versions, plug into things like Google Docs and Microsoft Office and update in real time.
Without the office tea round and a chatter over lunch with your colleagues, it can be easy to forget to stop and eat and drink. It’s really important to fuel your body and brain, no matter where you are working. Drink plenty of fluids, have healthy snacks on hand, and stop for a proper lunch.
Have a separate space
If you can, set up a home office space, or mark a part of your living room or kitchen table to be just yours for working. This can help increase focus, as well as providing a space that you can walk away from at the end of the day. Not everyone is lucky enough to do this, we know, but it’s a smart move if you can.
With always on technology, it can be easy to be always working. But you don’t need to. It’s important to set boundaries. If you usually finish at 5.30, do the same when you’re at home. Working is becoming more flexible and fluid, but it’s important to keep space in your life for relationships, hobbies, health and wellbeing.