10 Things you can do to make working from home easier
In the past there was only a handful of people that, most of us would say, were lucky enough to be able to work from home (some 2 million approximately prior to March 2020). Today, with the governments continued lock downs and tier systems many are working from home not by choice though by necessity to comply with regulations and either their employer or their business having to adapt for the time being.
Those of us, like myself, who have for a number of years been working from home, then you have the experience to know what your best daily routine is, having worked a 9-5 job previously I know that working from home is vastly different.
The biggest element of working from home that takes the most getting used to is the reduced face to face contact. In the current climate of covid-19 you may be working from home having previously worked in a large office environment with colleagues at desks next to you, catching up on gossip in the kitchen whilst making the coffee and enjoying a relaxing lunch break at the local dining venue with friends. You will now likely be working at home alone, a kettle to yourself and only the fridge to consult when it comes to lunch time. Your daily routine has changed drastically from no longer traveling to and from work to choosing what outfit to put on for the day ahead.
Though many will see it is as cosy, relaxing, tranquillity, easy, lucky, cheap and many more descriptive words, working from home does have many challenges and can mentally be quite damaging if we are not used to or enjoy this method of working.
Let us not forget that not all of us live in luxury flats or country home estates, sometimes working from home involves other people around you all day (you may need to brief other occupants in your home regarding your work schedules), compact living conditions, children, pets, parents, no outside space and much more to distract you and quite possibly stress you. We can all picture that perfect working from home scenario of sitting on a comfy sofa in your PJ’s, laptop and cappuccino by your side with a romantic movie playing on the 52 inch smart TV – This is rarely the case.
What can you do to make working from home more enjoyable and stress-free
Let us look at ten ideas to explore so to help you when working from home. I am writing this mostly from experience and also from ideas that others that I know who also chose to work from home have adopted:
- Plan your day: Once you get yourself a routine then you will find that time will not drag. This could be set by your employer as you are needed at varied times during the day, though for those working on projects without time slots then organise yourself a daily routine. This should include lunch and tea breaks along with exercise.
- Exercise: For those new to working from home then you are likely to have lost that commute to and from work thus an important double work out and steps that many experts will declare is important to your health. Try and put in to your daily work routine time to exercise which could simply be a walk locally or purchasing in-house exercise equipment. Youtube holds many videos to inspire you to exercise from experts such as those doing weights to simple and easy yoga.
- Outside and Sunshine: Get yourself outside once a day to breath in fresh air, grab some sun on your face and also to break the monotony. This gives you a chance for exercise and also to grab some sanity back from your loneliness as you will likely see and speak to others that you know.
- Build a work station / area: I found that by choosing the perfect setting for me to work at really helped. This could be simply a set out desk area with all the gadgets (replicate your desk at work maybe) you like about you to designating a room of the house to where you will work. Maybe choose a window area that holds a nice view or a favourite room of the house (which is what I did) that becomes your new home office.
- Food: As you will be working from home, and trust me on this, your trips to the fridge will increase and it is a hard habit to kick that of taking a peek in to the fridge even though you know fully well what it contained just 30 minutes ago. Part of my weekly shop includes foods that are healthy, that I like and are easy to prepare or made to be eaten fresh. You will be saving money by working from home from not paying for travels to clothing dry cleaning, try and put a bit of this back in to spoiling yourself with good, healthy food options at home. This could extend to hot drinks such as herbal teas or you upgrading from your kettle to a coffee machine. Try and avoid drinking alcohol too soon in the day, reward yourself maybe of an evening time a glass of your favourite wine when you working day is completed.
- Resist: I am going to use the word resist though we could also say procrastinate and this is mostly on the likes of social media, television channel surfing / Netflix, Ebay or Amazon etc, etc. If you can, set certain times of the day only for personal social media use. Do not lock yourself away from all contact of course and for shorter periods of your working day, a catch up on social media can be a good thing for us. Chose the radio or music over television which can take your eyes away from you work.
- Plants and Pets: For those who envision a longer period or indefinite working from home lifestyle then look at sharing your home with a companion. I have been to writers / artist homes and seen wonderful plant displays which keep many occupied and in great company. I know of some journalist who have chosen easy to manage pets, mostly cats to smaller caged options. Dogs are ideal for those who know that working from home is now the way ahead and the responsibility of purchasing, or ideally adopting, a dog will fit in to their lifestyle and for the life span of the dog.
- Clean and neat: Most places of work will practise clean and hygienic places for us to work in and this is a good philosophy for those of us working from home. When we work from home we are likely to untidy and dirty the house more than when we are at our place of work five days a week. Try and keep a clean place of work at least around your ‘work station’ though you will feel much fresher in mind knowing your home is looking tip top. Though we all love to feel cosy at home, clean and neat could also go towards our dress sense during our working days. I am on the side of dressing comfortably unless I am live broadcasting or working in our photo studio appearing in shots – Lots do chose to wear office clothing when working at home so to carry on the ‘working mentality’ in their mind… This though is something that usually wears off.
- Invest in gadgets and rewards: If you are to be working from home then it is useful to invest in quality gadgets especially the likes of online music streaming services, head phones, updated laptop/computer/mobile, better quality broadband speed and more. These kind of investments will enable you to work better and help your mind focus more on your work.
- Avoid family, friends (and pets?): A lot of the time I read up on advice that sees us being told to update our friends and family that we are now working from home so not to be disturbed – I say, if you were not working from home previously then this would not have been happening anyway? Pets, I think this is a good investment for those with a longer term plan for working from home, pets can help to relax you and you will know the responsibilities that come with pets so you should choose wisely – You can though make a mistake with a pet and find yourself pet sitting more than working! Visits from family and friends are a good thing, it helps to break days up, I would suggest advising the best times to have visitors, ie lunch / tea time breaks etc. Avoid too many visits for sure from friends and family who might mean well on you, but take your time away from your business.
Title image credit Pixabay.