A laptop on a wooden table in a dining room scenario.

Tips and Tricks for Working from Home

Many of us have been working from home under lockdown/self-isolation for a good few weeks now. What was initially unique, and maybe even fun for a while may have already got ‘tired’.

Here are a few ideas and tips that have been shared with us and we hope they are helpful to you:

Arrange the day around normal working hours

It’s only your commute that has changed. Start and end work at the same time as normal. Use what would have been your commuting time for arranging your working space, or perhaps for scheduling in some exercise. Make sure you keep coffee breaks.

Designate a working area. Make sure everyone in your house understands what your working area is. It’s not easy of course, especially with everyone in the family now having to do it together in a confined space. Try changing something; rearrange a table, a chair, something, even minor, just to create that mental separation that “this area is now for work”.

Don’t go to work in your underpants! Keep things as normal as possible. You don’t need to wear high heels or a suite, but you should still make sure you get up and dressed and ready for work as you would any other day.
Try to make things as normal as possible. We don’t know how long this way of working will last, for your sanity and personal sense of accomplishment, a few small tweaks can make this a rewarding experience. Create a good, healthy routine e.g. Waking in good time before the working day starts to give yourself time to have breakfast, maybe exercise and have a cuppa before the working day starts.

Ensure you have the right equipment to do the job. If not, working from home can be frustrating. Do let us know if we can assist with any technology requirements you have.

Prep meals and snacks. Much like eating healthy at the office, the key to eating healthy at home is to stock your kitchen with healthy foods and snacks. Limit sugary drinks and foods which can lead to a lack of concentration and to feeling jittery or hungry. Having healthy food chopped and ready to eat will hopefully help you keep to a healthier eating regime. I know this sounds like an irrelevant idea, but having meals made in advance can really smooth out the contours of the day and keep you sane when you get those back-to-back calls from 12:00 to 3:00. Where possible, leave your ‘office area’ for lunch just as you would while at work.

Schedule Your Exercise. Build in time for exercise. This too sounds basic, but it’s harder than it looks. Even if you’re just taking a walk around the block, it’s necessary. Get up and get moving. Your brain will work better too afterwards. It’s easy to skip exercise when you’re working from home but making time for a walk in the fresh air or a hard working sweat session has huge mental and physical health benefits.

Drink plenty of water. The weather is warming up, make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. Dehydration may lead to fatigue and headaches, which may compromise your alertness and productivity.

Take breaks – ACTUAL breaks.

Several times a day, get up, take a deep breath, leave your workspace, go make a cuppa. Take in the fact that you may have your cat or dog by your side, or a fish tank behind you. Peer out into the garden and look at the flowers. Pausing to notice these small joys can be very uplifting. This will not only give your mind a break, it will help you feel more optimistic. Sitting behind your computer for 8 hours without moving is not a healthy way to work!

Keep your health and safety in mind. We could be doing this for months so don’t work from your bed or other non-ideal sitting position. Keep your screen and keyboard straight in front of you.

Video calls. We need human interaction so using video on a call is highly recommended. If you don’t have formal scheduled time with colleagues, create some informal opportunities by having virtual coffee breaks with your team using Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Just 15 minutes set aside for this once a day is a good way to keep in touch.

Keep your data secure. Preferably store your data on a Server. if you have to store data on your laptop, please ensure you have at least two backups, one could be to an encrypted memory stick and another to Cloud Storage eg Sharepoint or OneDrive.

Develop a shutdown ritual. In an office setting, you know it’s the end of the workday when you pack up your things and head home. But when you’re already home, the line between work and “home” time can blur. That’s why it’s helpful to develop a routine that signals the end of the workday. Your shutdown ritual can be as simple as closing your laptop and storing it out of sight.

Do feel free to share these tips with your colleagues.

Keep safe and healthy in these most unusual times in our history.

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