On the surface, the idea of working from home seems initially ideal; no commute, no supervision, the comfort of your own sofa. Pretty soon, though, what at first seemed like pros sneakily reveal themselves to be cons in disguise. Here’s how to make working from home work for you.
It’s tempting to do all your work reclined on the sofa – or in bed – but unfortunately our subconscious doesn’t like that. If you’re in what your brain thinks of as a relaxation space, you’ll find it significantly harder to be productive. Even worse is the fact that the more you work in those spaces, the harder it’ll be to relax in them after work. Keep your work space and relaxation spaces separate and solve that problem.
Depending on your style of work, you might find it fairly simple just to get on with what you have to do. Unfortunately, not everyone is like that, and a lack of direction and supervision from a superior can lead to a feeling of being lost. If that’s true for you, ask your boss to give you a specific task list complete with deadlines. Once you have it, break down each item into smaller steps. Not only does this help with organisation and direction – each item crossed off the list will give you a burst of motivation.
When you’re in an office, it’s very easy just to turn to the person next to you for a chinwag when you need a bit of human connection. Human contact is key for our wellbeing, and making sure you have a solid basis for it whilst working from home is essential. We recommend bookending the day with video calls with the team, and keeping a WhatsApp group chat teeming with informal chatter to keep the spirits high.
With zero supervision, it’s very easy to get up a bit later, take that extra five minutes for lunch, and clock off a little early. Pretty soon, however, you’ll find those five minutes grow exponentially to 10, then 20, then 40. We’re not saying that you need to be doing head down, solid work 100% of the time, but make sure that during work hours you are at least in your work space (even if that means a quick YouTube detour every now and then).
Most of us are used to having a commute, which means there’s a certain buffer of time from leaving our house to being at work. The issue with working from home is that as soon as you’ve finished your breakfast, you’re already at work. Even though you may be reluctant to sacrifice that extra sleep, we recommend getting up a little early and reading a little, going for a walk, anything that means that you have a little time between being ready for work, and actually starting it.
Without the necessity to leave the house, it can become easy to forget entirely to venture outside. We all get told all the time that exercise and fresh air are miracle workers, but we often wave it off like our mums telling us watching the TV would turn our eyes square. Take it from someone who now wears square glasses – exercise really does do wonders for your mental and emotional wellbeing as well as physical.
Many people receive a lot of their motivation from the validation of their coworkers for their work, but it’s difficult to high five someone when you’re at home by yourself. Sometimes you have a victory that you aren’t able to celebrate with someone else – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate. We’re not saying go wild and down a bottle of champagne at 11am – even if it’s as small as an extra chocolate digestive with your coffee, make sure to reward yourself for the work you do.