Over the course of the last 3 years, every industry within the UK has been forced to adapt to the risks of the pandemic and the corresponding restrictions. For businesses that do not rely on physical interactions, a substantial shift from office-based working to clocking in from home unfolded across the nation as well as around the globe. For a time, coming into one’s place of work was all but impossible due to stringent lockdown rules, but even as we begin to manage the pandemic the prevalence of working from home has not faltered. Now in the first quarter of 2022, countless firms including industry leaders such as Amazon, JP Morgan, HSBC and Spotify have confirmed that even in the face of toned-down restrictions, working from home is here to stay.
When the shift from office-to-home working initially occurred in the response to the 2020 lockdown, it was a reactive transfer and both organisations and employees were relatively unprepared. Adapting to a new status quo will always come with a transition period, however now 2 years on we have the opportunity to learn from the experience of the last 24 months and work out how to get the most out of the new normal of hybrid working. From dodging the commute to having your own kitchen at your disposal for lunch, working from home can come with a lot of benefits – however – it is vital to stay productive, motivated and connected. This post outlines advice on how to make working from home work for you, improving your work-efficiency as well maintaining a fulfilling work-life balance.
Things to keep in mind when working from home:
Outlining a routine
Rolling out of bed to sit straight in front of your computer does not count as a routine. In fact, it takes roughly 30 minutes for the brain to fully awaken and reach its max functionality after sleep. Developing a morning routine that awakens and refreshes both your mind and body will allow you to start being productive from the minute you sit in front of your screen. I would personally recommend tea, some stretching and a blast of fresh air before you sit at your desk, but find out what works for you. The key is to find something both enjoyable and manageable that will be easy for you to develop into a routine and that allows you to feel awake, refreshed and ready to start the day from home.
Your working space
Back in 2020, many people working from home did not have a substantial home-working set-up. To ensure your work life stays the appropriate distance from your personal life, it is important to have a dedicated space in which you work from home, whether this simply a desk or an entire room. Separating your work space and your personal space within your home is conducive to being switched on when at work and switching off when not; dedicate an area and keep it separate from where you relax. As well as this, invest in technology to make your home set-up better. Many firms that offer work-from-home also offer a budget for your home office – if you don’t already have a good set-up, talk to your employer about the equipment you might need to see if they can assist you.
Of course, a massive difference between working from home to working in the office is the geographical isolation from the other members of your team. Though many of us are now used to the compulsory daily or weekly Teams meetings, proactive communication can create more benefits than occur from simply joining your obligatory conferences. Stay connected with your colleagues throughout the day, even when you don’t have any substantial updates. Collaboration is impossible without communication and any team will function more efficiently when its members are aware of each other’s progress and are all on the same page.
In the absence of some of the office distractions, it can be easy to get into a rhythm when home-working and many have stated they are more productive at home. Of course, it is brilliant to keep your head down and smash through some assignments, however when doing so it is important to take care of yourself and take breaks when you need them. If you feel yourself slowing down, losing focus or becoming frustrated – take a few minutes for yourself. Reset, refresh, and you will come back to your work with more focus and energy than you would have if you simply continued to sit at your desk.
Finally, when working from home – enjoy the advantages! Appreciate the extra hour of sleep you can have by skipping the commute, treat yourself to a great home cooked lunch – whatever advantages working from home brings to you, remember to relish them and enjoy this new adaptation to working life. Finally, find out what works specifically for you – these general tips outline a few things that I have found helpful but each one can and should be adapted to your own personal working style and way of life.
If you found this blog helpful, please check out the other posts below.