Good habits to develop for working from home
Making the shift to working from home can require us to use different skill sets in order to work effectively.
Becoming familiar with IT systems, particularly those for virtual communication is really important when working remotely. Spend time looking at how systems work and their functionality before you have to use them if possible, to allow you to hit the ground running.
Staff Learning and Development pages on IT systems
Establishing a place where you work at home is really important for creating a space where you can focus. This doesn’t necessarily have to be in the a separate, cut-off room, its about having somewhere where you can get in the work headspace when you are there, but also enable you to mentally separate from work at the end of the day. Consider the ergonomics of how you sit, the height of your screen,angle of your arms and wrists. As this will make you feel much more comfortable in the long term.
It is well known that people who are happy and healthy are able to be their best at work, and a big part of this is achieving a healthy balance between work and home. When work becomes something we do from home, this balance can be harder to strike as it can be more difficult to switch off in the evenings or take breaks during the day. Consider what you need to do to ensure you are able to maintain balance, for example shutting the door on your work area (if you can) or going for a walk at the end of the work day to signify a shift to home.
As we would when working on campus, set yourself a routine to help provide structure in your day. This should include your start and finish times, when you take lunch and breaks. Make an effort to stick to your routine as you would any other typical work day to create a sense of normality and consistency when working at home.
An important way to keep your motivation levels up while working from home is to simulate the working day as much as possible. Very simple steps include getting up at the same time and getting dressed in work clothes, which can have a very powerful effect in making you feel ‘work ready’. It can also be helpful to set yourself clear objectives for the day ahead to keep you focussed on what you need to achieve that day, and set small rewards for yourself as you tick things off. This little boost can give you what you need to keep up your motivation.
It is easy to feel like you are working alone when working from home. However don’t forget your colleagues are also in the same position and keeping in regular contact will help you feel more connected with the rest of the team. It is important to have social as well as work conversations; when working remotely we lose the opportunity for the office conversations about the weekend or the quick chats in the corridor. Putting social time with colleagues in the calendar can be a good way to ensure this doesn’t slip, for example a social lunch once a week, or a regular quiz that you all do together.
Time to reflect...
Think about the positives and negatives of home working for you and what you have control over.
- If you like collaborating with colleagues, set up regular catch ups so you don’t start to feel isolated
- If you get distracted by household tasks, find a place you can close the door on the rest of the house to forget about until later
Working from home effectively is all about finding what works best for you to enable you to thrive.
Top tips for staying productive when working from home
- Try and work in a bright room with access to fresh air
- Where possible use Zoom to have a call with colleagues as opposed to emails
- Try and get out of the house at lunchtime to stretch your legs
- Make sure you step away from your desk at points during the day for a change of environment