A few handy tips for working from home
Updated: Apr 13, 2020
Almost three weeks into the governments restrictions and request for people to work from home, and it's fair to say some people find it easier than others. While there are lots of upsides to working from home, there can be many distractions too, which can leave you feeling like you haven't managed to accomplish everything you usually would in a working day.
So, inspired by an article I read from the AAT recently, and for some light relief from the onslaught of COVID support updates, I thought it would be a good idea to put down a few tips from people who successfully manage to work from home, to help out anyone who is finding it difficult.
1. Get up, shower, eat and dress as you normally would for work
Sounds obvious right? But it becomes so easy to just take that extra hour in bed, and then open up the laptop while still in your dressing gown, bleary eyed and unprepared for the day. Try and do what you'd do if you were heading into the workplace. You don't necessarily have to be fully suited and booted, but make yourself presentable - consider it possible that anyone could call for a video meeting at any moment and so you don't wasn't to be sat there still in your Batman PJ's with bed hair if this happens!
Some people who regularly work from home will even go through their usual morning routine, and then leave the house for a walk, before coming back to start work - effectively simulating a commute to the workplace. It does actually work too.
2. Set small, achievable goals
Work to a list of objectives for the day and be sure to tick them off as you work through them - it helps keep focus around the many distractions of the home work place
3. Establish a comfortable workspace
You need a set area to work from, ideally well lit - when you are in that space, you are at work. Comfy chair, clear desk space - keep the space tidy and you'll be more drawn to using it each day.
4. Work set hours and Limit distractions
Decide what are your working hours. 9-5 with an hour for lunch? 5-12, 11-9 ...the point is to have a fixed time that is set aside for working.
Avoid TV, limit social media during this time, as you would in the workplace. You'll appreciate the downtime much more at the end of your working day.
Do not isolate yourself behind a screen. Emails and instant messenger services are great, but you need human interaction at times like this, so pick the phone up and talk to clients, colleagues or anyone where there is a constructive conversation to be had.
Professional development is critical to most occupations, and there is currently an increased amount of content being churned out as more and more people are filling the time while locked down. Use some of your time to read and perhaps pick up some useful information for you to implement for your own business or job for when the time comes to get back to the routine workplace.
7. Move about
Go for a short walk, get up for a coffee break your day up with short sharp breaks that get you up and moving as you would in the workplace.
8. Turn Off
Out of work hours, turn off - I know that's difficult especially if you're used to coming home from the office and continuing to work in the evenings, but while ever you are stuck at home, you must maintain a healthy work life balance. That means when the time to stop working rolls around, you should shut down where possible, and spend the time on all those things that have been tempting you all day:- whether that's Netflix, playing with the kids or mowing the lawn - the key is balance!
9. Use the available technology
There are some great online tools we'd recommend to assist you in your home working.
For video meetings - look at Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, Microsoft Teams or PowWowNow
For collaborative working and chat - You can't go wrong with Slack, although Microsoft Teams integrates with Office 365 and a couple of clients have recommended Hip Chat
For Task Management - We really like Trello, and best of all it's free. Very simple and easy Kanban board set up. Wunderlist is useful too, or for more complex teams look to Basecamp.
Also to keep in mind are the online cloud storage tools, such as Dropbox, Google One, icloud and Microsoft one drive.
And last but not least don't forget your online accounting software! We are Licensed Quickbooks Pro Advisors, so obviously they get our vote and anyone interested in taking a licence should get in touch with us. With that said, Sage Cloud, Xero and Free Agent are all excellent alternatives that we'd be happy to discuss with you too as many of our clients operate these systems.
Hope some of this helps if anyone is struggling with the adjustment to working from home. It sounds like we may be in for a few more weeks of this too, so try and make it as comfortable and productive for yourself as possible. I'm off to start a new bank reconcilliation*
(*binge watch Tiger King on Netflix)