Tips for productive home working
Whether working from home is something you do every day or an occasional perk of the job, sometimes getting into the right mindset and maximising your productivity can be a challenge. You have all the distractions and creature comforts of your home all around you, and with no direct supervision it can be tempting to get lost in other things or stay in your pyjamas all day. Here are some top tips to help you get in the zone when working from home so you can get the most out of your day.
It’s important to resist slipping into weekend habits, and to have a clear routine when working from home so your day has structure. Instead of heading straight to your work space in pyjamas a few minutes after getting out of bed, set your alarm a little earlier and get showered and dressed, so you feel more like you’re in work mode. If you don’t normally work from home, try replicating the same morning routine you usually have, so you are getting up at a consistent time. Cutting out commuting means you’ll have more time to yourself, so consider getting some exercise or treating yourself to an indulgent breakfast. If you’re normally grabbing a cereal bar on the way out the door, it can be a real treat to sit down to scrambled eggs on toast in the comfort of your own home on a workday. When you do start work you’ll feel refreshed and awake, ready for whatever the day brings.
Try to have a designated work space in your home, ideally in a place that you don’t tend to spend your relaxation and leisure time. Avoid the sofa or the bedroom, as working in these areas can make work life blend into your personal time and it becomes very difficult to switch off. If you don’t have a room that can be your home office then try sitting at a kitchen table, or turning a corner of the living room or your bedroom into a small desk area. The important thing is to resist the urge to turn your bed or sofa into your workspace – if you’re half watching TV, you’re not going to be as productive.
Making sure you have a comfortable, well-lit place to work is very important. Your screen should be at eye level to help with your posture and prevent back pain. If you work on a laptop, consider getting a separate keyboard and mouse so you can elevate the screen to the right level. This doesn’t necessarily require a complicated set up – a pile of books can do if really necessary. Also consider listening to music to help with your productivity, it can change the feel of your whole workspace. You can choose music to suit your mood, or even the type of work you are doing. If you have a task that requires high levels of concentration, try listening to music with no lyrics. If you’re used to a busy, loud work environment then put on the radio for some background noise – the combination of music and conversation can mimic the feel of being in a lively office.
It can be tempting to work straight through the day when you’re working at home, as there are no colleagues to chat to or have a cup of tea with, but don’t forget to give yourself regular breaks. Taking some time away from your screen will reduce strain on your eyes which is important for your long-term health. Get up, walk around, make a cup of tea, stretch – take a lunch break and go for a walk to get your eyes used to long distance focusing again. You’ll get back to your desk feeling refreshed rather than burned out.