Working from home has become the new norm for many of us, and businesses, by necessity, have had to adapt quickly to accommodate remote working arrangements. For some, making the transition to a home office is a dream come true, while for others it presents more of a challenge.
Whether you’re required to work from home or have made the change to remote working to achieve a better work/life balance, it’s important to get the right habits in place. We’ve put together our top five tips on how to successfully manage working from home, so you and your team can work productively, stay connected, and maintain health and wellbeing.
1. Set up a dedicated working area
Setting up a work station at the kitchen counter or table may be a necessity based on your home layout, but can be less than ideal. Having a separate, dedicated working area means that’s where the work happens, without distractions (be they family, noise, the couch, or the fridge).
Making Zoom or Teams calls in a shared space can make it very hard to concentrate, as privacy may be limited and distractions rife. If you have to set up in a shared space, try to create and socialise it with family members or housemates, so they know its an area for work and not disruption. If you’re in a shared space in the house with someone else who’s also working from home, make sure you communicate; trying to both hold an online meeting simultaneously in the same area can be less than ideal, and lead to conflict. It’s a lot harder to get away from a grumpy co-worker when they live in the same house as you!
If you have scope to set up in a quiet, separate area, it does means that at the end of the day you can close down your workstation and leave the room – giving a clear separation between work and home life. Balance is important.
2. Make sure your home set up is optimised for productivity
A dedicated working area needs to be set up well to ensure you’re productive. Sitting hunched over a laptop, when you’re used to having a desk and all the technology, can make working from home both uncomfortable, and difficult.
It’s well worth setting yourself or your team up with the same hardware and software that you have in the office, which may include:
- A desk or table, plus a comfortable chair
- A monitor, to make it easier to juggle multiple applications and browser windows
- Mouse and keyboard (wireless is ideal, especially if you have limited desk space)
- A dock or hub, so you can connect your various peripherals easily and tidily
- Printer, if you need to print documents
- Software, including Microsoft Office, business applications, and remote access applications (like Team Viewer) so your company IT team or third-party IT provider can support you at home
- VPN access, to connect securely in to your organisation’s network
- A mobile phone, to stay connected with your team and manager
3. Routine, routine, routine
Creating a routine and schedule for when you or your team will start and end the day is incredibly important when working from home, otherwise you may find bad habits creeping in, that become difficult to shake.
When working out a routine, consider:
- What time the working day needs to start, and factor in what you want to achieve before you’re due to hit your office chair. This may be your morning coffee (or two), getting showered and ready for Zoom meetings, walking the dog or getting in some morning yoga.
- Regular timings for breaks, to make sure you’re getting in some movement, stretches, and structured meal breaks (while trying to avoid snacking at your desk!)
- What time you intend to end the day – this is when you’ll turn off your computer, and spend time relaxing or with your family.
Most importantly of all, don’t be too hard on yourself and your team. Working from home can be stressful, and a complete disruption to your life and theirs. There are a lot more distractions at home. If you find yourself drifting to the couch for naps every afternoon at 2pm, try to work out how to fit it into your schedule, and work around it.
4. Take breaks – and leave the house!
Making time in your working day to take breaks is critical for your mental and physical wellbeing. Even more so is making yourself leave the house for fresh air, exercise and interaction with other human beings. It can be too easy to stay indoors all day when working from home, but getting out and about will go a long way to break up the monotony of the day.
Naturally, this applies for when you’re working in the office too; getting out for fresh air will help recharge your batteries, and can be great for stimulating new ideas and approaches to work and projects that you and your team have on the go.
5. Keep regular hours, and separate your home life from your work life
It can be easy to slip into the habit of overworking when working remotely. Late night emails, calls and reports come through and, naturally, your computer’s right there – what’s the harm?
Even though you’re working from home, you need to make sure you and your team are still getting the all important work/life balance. If you know you’re going send or receive a lot of emails or calls outside of traditional office hours, adjust your routine so you start your day later, or take an extended break in the middle of the day. Keep a track of the hours and times that you work, and fit your schedule around that so you’re getting time away to avoid slipping into the habit of overworking.
Keeping connected – and supported – while working from home
Working from home, while having many perks, can lead to you or your team feeling isolated and out of touch with the business. It can be hard to work effectively, especially if you run into technical problems and don’t have your IT team there ready to step in. That’s why its important to stay connected with the people who can support you while working remotely.
Apps like Teams, Zoom and TeamViewer can help you keep connected, so that you and your team can keep working seamlessly, no matter where you need to set up. TeamViewer in particular is a great tool for helping your businesses’ IT team or third-party IT provider support you with troubleshooting hardware, software, network, data security and email issues that can happen when working outside of your typical office environment. With tools like these, it’s simple, quick and very cost-effective to support your remote workers.
Need support for your remote working organisation?
Here at Computer Cures, we understand the challenges that working from home can present when trying to setup, configure and maintain your company’s tech remotely. With our remote IT support software and expertise, we can keep you and your team working productively no matter where they’re working from. Give us a call on 1300 553 166 or fill out our contact form; we’re here to help.