The archaic days of February 2020 are long gone: 9-5 jobs in an office. Who would have thought? Many of us are now working from home, and that comes with real challenges. We’ve compiled a list of ten tips to help you and your team work healthily and happily from home.
Give your days structure
You’re not going into an office anymore, so you’ve got to take responsibility for what your days look like, knowing your personality and tendencies. Set yourself up for success by having a clear start time each morning. Build your morning routine around preparing for a productive day. Take note of your meetings and tasks for each day and plan accordingly.
Create and discuss boundaries with those in your space
If you’re living with others who are also working from home, that means you’re spending most of your time surrounded by people, but aren’t really “with” them. You’re all technically in the same physical space, but mentally are all focused on your tasks. Everybody’s working style is different, so be sure to discuss boundaries and expectations to ensure that everyone works as well as they can – together but separately.
Take breaks in their entirety
There are enough lines blurred by working from home, don’t muddle them even further by not giving yourself proper breaks. If you get a full hour off for lunch, take it. Step away from your laptop, get something to eat, read a book, take a walk, make a phone call. Engage other parts of your brain and your life and give yourself a chance to build up capacity for the afternoon’s work.
Set up a dedicated workspace
It may not be possible to take a whole room for your office. Sometimes, a desk in your room or at the dining room table will do. However you can, try to dedicate a space that’s just for your work. It will help create a productive bubble where you can focus and keep everything in one place. Here’s a bonus tip: the couch doesn’t count.
Keep channels of communication open
It’s difficult enough to be separate from your teammates without the added complication of not being communicative. If your team uses an organisational platform like Slack, make sure that your team has at least one channel dedicated to group communication. Schedule regular video calls with your whole team and individual members to maintain clear and open relationships.
Participate in meetings
Sometimes, the first time you speak in a day will be in a video meeting with colleagues. Make the most of the opportunity to connect and foster relationships by actually participating and engaging with the time. Stay on the call’s window, look at your colleagues’ faces, listen to what they’re saying, and give thoughtful input when necessary. Ask questions and demonstrate your commitment to the project and team.
Be positive and assume positive intent in written communication
So much can get lost in translation with written communication. Everybody uses language differently, and emojis add a whole new dimension to how we speak to each other. If you receive a message or email that seems unkind or aggressive, don’t be too quick to throw your own fierce message back. Maintain an open-handed approach to your teammates; ask clarifying questions and take a curious approach instead of an antagonistic one.
Don’t be hard on yourself
We’ve all responded differently to the major shift to working from home. Depending on living and working conditions, personality, and wellbeing, remote work can be experienced as a pleasure or disaster. Whatever your feelings about it, don’t be too hard on yourself as you move through the indefinite condition of working from home.
Take advantage of the perks
Now that you’re at home most of the day, there are a whole bunch of things that have changed: no more rush hour traffic, for one. There’s more opportunity to get a pet, bake bread, do laundry, wear comfortable clothes, and cook lunches, for example. You’re not in an office for a fixed amount of time every day, so, responsibly enjoy the level of flexibility and freedom that you’re afforded by this new state of being.
End your days on purpose
There’s got to be a clear boundary between your work life and your personal life. End your work day on purpose, however that makes sense for you. If you’ve decided that 5pm is the close of work for you, close your laptop, and step away from the desk for the day. It’s very rare that a work task actually requires you to work overtime; let tomorrow’s tasks and responsibilities have their day in the sun without eating into your leisure time.
We’re all finding our way through this new industrial revolution, and everybody and every company will have a slightly different take on what’s best. As long as you make sure you’re being treated fairly and feel comfortable asking for what you need, you’ll make a success of working from home.
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