COVID 19: Top Tips for Working From Home During a Pandemic
A huge majority of our workforce has been forced out of their offices and back into their homes as part of our attempts to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
Although the prospect of working from bed in your pyjamas all day can seem enticing, it can sometimes be difficult to be productive when you’re not in your place of work.
But fear not! In this guide we’ll go over some key ways to stay productive (and sane) while trying to work from the comfort of your own home. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to get your work done without leaving the house with the added benefit of getting back those hours you would usually spend commuting.
Maintain your existing work routine
Your newfound freedom can seem exciting and there is always a temptation to watch a couple of episodes of your favourite Netflix show before you start your day around lunchtime. However, this will usually mean you have to work later into the night when you’re tired or fall out of sync with the working times of your colleagues.
Therefore, it’s important you try to stick as closely to the set hours you usually work when you’re at the office. A key part to this is going to bed and getting up at a regular time: however tempting it is to switch your work alarm off, it’s probably best to keep it on.
Get washed and dressed every morning
‘Why do I need to get dressed if I’m not going to see anyone?’ I hear you ask; well the truth is doing these things are largely for your benefit not anyone else’s. Having a shower and putting on proper clothes in the morning will improve your state and mind prepare you to start work. You can take this a step further and work in proper business attire but even just wearing jeans and a t shirt is a good start for most of us. The other benefit of this is that your colleagues may recognise you when you join their Zoom call, rather than thinking a local bin racoon has come to offer opinions on your new marketing strategy.
Some of us may relish the prospect of not having to speak to anyone all day, particularly if you’ve got a particularly noisy colleague or would like to avoid the latest episode of office drama. However, working from home and not speaking to anyone can actually be quite isolating, particularly if you live alone. Fortunately, we live in an age where you can quickly recreate a virtual meeting room atmosphere at the drop of a hat to help check in with your colleagues and work on new ideas or proposals together. This is often much more stimulating and productive than those dreaded long email chains and is well worth making time for.
Decide on an ‘office room or space’
Though working in bed may seem attractive, for most of us this is largely unproductive. Instead you should pick a room, or one section of a room if you have limited space, that should be assigned as your ‘office’. Set aside this area or desk where you can set yourself up at the beginning of a working day, ideally with a chair with good back support. This will help you keep clear boundaries between when you’re ‘at work’ or not, allowing you to properly switch off when you get the chance to in the evenings. This is also useful if you share your living space with housemates or with your children, so they know when not to disturb you. Though, as we all know, if your children are particularly young or your housemates particularly needy, this may not be possible.
Take regular breaks
While it is important to maintain a routine, don’t just sit at your desk all day, especially if you’re struggling to be productive. Try and take a break as regularly as you can, even if it’s just going into your garden, if you’re lucky enough to have one, or just having a stretch in another room for a change of scenery. It’s best to give yourself a break limited to a certain amount of time or you may find your ‘long lunch’ ends up winding up closer to 5pm than any of us would like. Many people like the ‘Pomodoro technique’ where you break your day up by working in 25-minute chunks and taking 5-minute breaks.
Make sure you go outside (unless you’re self-isolating)
It can sometimes be hard to take a proper break when you’re working from home as you’ll probably always be in fairly close proximity to your laptop. One way to switch off for a bit is to go outside for your government mandated walk or exercise. This will allow you to get some fresh air, get energised and help you think through any mental stumbling blocks you may be struggling with, away from the distraction of a screen.
Spending time in green spaces, such as a park, has a proven benefit to your mental health so try and get to one if you’re lucky enough to have one close by. Although, you’ll need to make sure you’re at least 6 metres apart from any passers-by.
Make sure your internet is up to scratch
The final essential to working from home is having a suitable broadband connection. There is nothing worse than having to spend the first few minutes of every Skype call asking everyone if they can hear you or having to ask your boss to repeat themselves because you disconnected. Whether you need enough data to make huge downloads each day or just enough to have online calls and stream films in the evening, there are deals for everyone. Click here to use our broadband deal comparison tool to find the best deal for your needs.