It seems as though the term ‘new normal’ is being thrown around everywhere at the moment. As we’ve all taken precautions against the recent Coronavirus outbreak, for some business owners its become clear that maybe they were doing certain things because “that’s how it’s always been done”, and that practices put in place to combat COVID-19 could actually work better in the long run.
That being said, working from home can be a massive adjustment when you’re used to an office environment. So, here are some of our top tips for helping you make working from home your ‘new normal'.
1. Stick to a Routine
The most common pitfall people fall into when transitioning to working from home is losing their daily routine. Creating and sticking to a regular routine is key to maintaining a reasonable work-life balance, as well as keeping you focused. Try to stick within the same working hours every day, taking regular breaks and finishing on time. It can be more than tempting to work the extra hour here and there now there’s no train to catch or rush hour traffic to beat. But overworking will lead to you burning out – which will benefit no one! As daft as it may sound, you should also make the effort to get dressed every morning. No one’s suggesting you should be sat at home in your power suit (although no one’s saying you shouldn’t either!) but getting ready for the day ahead will help you to differentiate between ‘work time’ and ‘down time’.
2. Create a Workspace
Working in front of the TV is possibly the worst habit to develop if you’re working from home. As hard as you might try, the TV is a distraction and your productivity levels will definitely plummet. It also starts to blur the lines between work and play. Trying to relax in the same room you’ve been sat working in all day can make it difficult to switch off. Try to set up a dedicated workspace, be it a home office or just a spare empty corner. This should help keep home life and work-life separate, as well as reducing potential distractions and improving productivity!
3. Set Boundaries
Only 20% of the population are living alone during the current lockdown, meaning the chances are you’re not the only person spending a lot of time at home right now. Whilst one of the perks of working from home is flexibility, It’s important to set boundaries and ground rules with the people around you. Your family and household members need to understand; when you’re working, you’re working! Just because you’re at home and can take care of pets or answer the door to deliveries doesn’t mean your family should assume you always will.
Arguably the biggest advantage of working in an office is the ease of communication. If you’ve got a question, there’s probably someone there to answer it on the spot. For some, working from home brings with it feelings of isolation. But working from home doesn’t mean you’re working alone! Maintaining clear and consistent communication with colleagues can reduce stress levels, improves work quality, and increase work capacity. Remember, the support network you had available to you in the office is still there – the only thing that’s changed is how you reach them.
5. Get Out and About
When you’re work and home space become one, cabin fever ensues. The best cure? Fresh air. A daily walk around the local park can do wonders for your physical and mental health, plus the change of scenery might be all you needed to spark up a bit of inspiration.
The most important thing to remember when working from home is to make it work for you. Everyone is different, what works for a colleague may not be right for you. So be kind to yourself and be patient, it may take some time to settle into a routine that feels right. But if you stick with it you’ll quickly be on your way to working happily, productively and comfortably no matter where you are!