With working from home becoming increasingly popular, many are opting to embrace this alternative style of working.
While there are many benefits; just think – who wouldn’t enjoy avoiding the rush hour commute - there can be obstacles to maintaining your productivity. Home working can cause feelings of isolation and being physically disconnected from a team can hinder collaboration.
Here are collection of unique tips and insights from our Workplace Creator, Lizzy Sleeman, who worked from home for almost seven years.
Many find the challenge of home working that it can often lack the structure of a normal work day. So what’s the best way around this? Pretend you’re going to the office even when you’re staying in. Have a similar time management plan or establishing a routine can help keep you focussed on tasks at hand.
Set your alarm, get up and get dressed, make a coffee and start your day just as you would if you were leaving for work. Another tip to help you keep on-track and productive throughout the day is to establish rituals. Start with making sure you’re making a morning coffee, tea (or having breakfast) at the same time each day to keep yourself in-check. Otherwise, time can quickly start to slip away from you, and before you know if it’s midday and you’re still in your PJs. Try and keep to a similar lunch or break schedule as you would in the office, which can help with maintaining structure, too.
Set a budget
An added benefit of working from home is you save on your daily commute to the office. While lunch out may be a treat when you’ve already paid for your daily transport, you’ll be in the same financial position if you spend the money saved from your commute on supporting local businesses. Visiting independent cafes and shops will help decrease the feeling of isolation and foster a sense of community. You might be surprised to find a lot of people remotely working in your local café!
If your team is all working remotely at once, agreeing on communication standards can help everyone feel connected and ensure no-one feels isolated. If you need to focus and are going to close emails and silence your phone, then let colleagues know when they can reach you; distance shouldn’t hinder spontaneous collaboration! Plan a time in the day to catch up with the team or put some time aside for a quick call to keep human interaction.
Okay, this is one of my tips that’s raised a few eyebrows! While it’s common to FaceTime or skype for a conference call, have you ever thought about having it permanently running in the background? I used to do this with a colleague all day, every day and it really helped us feel closer and more connected. Collaboration flowed freely, we had little bits of banter, but also respected each other’s’ productivity and privacy. Best of all, we would have a break at the same time and have a natural catch-up. It felt no-where near as forced as then having a phone call with a set agenda.
Here’s one for when you’re working by yourself or you need a little more privacy than a permanent FaceTime link offers. Bring a little vanity or shaving mirror from your bathroom into your study or workspace. This may sound odd, but hear us out here – seeing your reflection, even in your peripheral vision can help abate feelings of loneliness. While we’re not suggestion starting to talk to yourself, but seeing a familiar face can often help and do wonders for wellbeing.
Don’t watch box sets
But put them on! Having familiar chatter on in the background can help emulate the murmur of your office background. Put on your favourite (or maybe third favourite) box set or TV channel if you like that background chat. We’d recommend streaming on a secondary device so it’s can’t steal too much of your attention.
Finally, if you’re really feeling like you need company, locate and name your favourite volley ball!