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6 tips on how to make the most of working from home

By Jana Angeles | 17 March 2020


With the coronavirus outbreak affecting our daily lives, the majority of people who are reading this article may have been advised by their employers to work from home in the next couple of weeks to prevent the spread from reaching a rapid rate. For many office-based workers out there, working from home is something that they are quite familiar with, however, there are some who aren’t as aware of the ins and outs of remote work.

Depending on the industry you’re part of, it may not be possible for you to work from home due to the nature of your responsibilities. Your role may rely on face-to-face interactions with customers, vendors and other stakeholders, which may mean you’re forced to take a leave of absence from work to minimise the spread of coronavirus. 

For some employees, working from home may be difficult because home is a place where distractions are and you’re more productive at the office. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus and more businesses being open to the idea of working remotely, it could encourage more companies to implement flexible working opportunities for employees, making it a commonplace for those to work from home as a way to save commuting costs and boost the productivity of employees

If your company has made contingencies in having you work from home until further notice, these are some tips to help you remain productive at a period where you’re away from the office. 

6 tips on how to work from home

  1. Make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need to do work.
  2. Know the hours of when you’re most productive and stick to it.
  3. Take regular breaks.
  4. Have an office space set up.
  5. Avoid working in your pyjamas.
  6. Minimise distractions like personal social media use. 

1. Make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need to do work.

Depending on your role, you may need certain tools and equipment to be able to undertake your responsibilities at home. You’ll need a solid internet connection, access to a desktop or laptop computer and ideally, an office space where there are minimal distractions available to you. If you’ve never worked from home before and are employed in a sector where you have access to files which contain sensitive information, you may need to enquire about accessing an external network while at home with your employer. 

You may also need to talk with IT support at your company about having access to certain applications or what alternatives you can use in the meantime when working from home. It’s important that you also have the precautionary measures of having software installed that prevents hackers from accessing sensitive information like credit card details and personal information, as well as having common sense in only accessing websites that are encrypted and not prone to computer viruses that could result in the loss of work and computer damages. 

It’s also worth noting that if you’re someone who likes working on documents and excel spreadsheets on the daily, it’s best practice to use cloud-based systems like Google Docs or Google Sheets so that your work is automatically saved. It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you still want to stay in touch with your colleagues and be on top with communication, you can use these great tools available that can help you run meetings and quickly message each other as you all work remotely.

2. Know the hours of when you’re most productive and stick to it.

planning work schedule

The beauty of working from home is that you can amend your hours slightly to suit your lifestyle needs. If you love to have a bit of a sleep in and find that you’re most productive working from the hours of 10-6, you can negotiate with your manager about changing your hours to suit your needs, especially if you recognise that this schedule means that you’re at optimum productivity

If you’re a parent struggling to find balance when it comes to looking after the kids while you work from home, you may find that working from 6-2 works best because you’re able to start early and work on your responsibilities before the kids wake up, during nap time and when they’re busy watching family movies on Netflix. 

Working from home allows flexibility when it comes to your personal schedule and can work wonders, especially if you know when you’re most productive. Ensure that you get the green light from your manager and stick to the schedule you know fits your lifestyle. 

3. Take regular breaks.

Regularly taking breaks is a must if you want to remain productive during the period where you’ll work from home. You may find it’s a different dynamic when you’re used to the social aspect of the office. When working from home, you have free reign of how you take your breaks. It’s a good idea to stretch every few hours you work or even eat a healthy snack in the afternoon to keep your energy levels up throughout the day. 

It can be tempting to skip out on lunch because you want to finish the day early, however, it’s important to take regular breaks so that you’re at your most productive state. A good way of ensuring this is to use the famous Pomodoro Technique

How it works is that you work on a task for about 25 minutes and then when time is up, you take a break for 3-5 minutes. This is a good technique because it breaks up your workday into manageable chunks, helping you manage your time better.

4. Have an office space set up. 

work from home concept

If you have the capacity and the space, setting up a home office can make all the difference when you work from home. 

You may need to rearrange the guest room in your house and make it into an office space for the interim, so getting ample lighting, a desk you can work on and plants for decoration can boost your productivity and encourage you to stay in ‘work mode’.

5. Avoid working in your pyjamas.

While the luxury of working from home means you can wear whatever you want without any form of judgement, you should consider changing yourself out of your pyjamas before you begin working. It’s been found in a study from Northwestern university that the type of clothing we wear can influence our psychological processes. 

For example, if you wear sleepwear throughout the day while you’re expected to smash through tight deadlines, you’ll most likely be tempted to take a nap instead because that’s what your brain is telling you. 

Looking professional can help you feel more present and engaged - it also prepares you for any unexpected meetings you may have with your colleagues or external stakeholders that require video conferencing. 

6. Minimise distractions like personal social media use.

With the constant live updates of coronavirus, having this habit of checking the news can cause fear and concern for our wellbeing, which is well-warranted in a trying time like this. It’s important that while you work from home to minimise any sort of distraction that takes you away from your workload, which means pausing any personal social media use or not having Netflix playing in the background. 

To help maximise your productivity, leave the distractions until lunch time and only take personal social media breaks if you know you can limit yourself to 5 mins every few hours of work you’ve done. Working from home allows you to be flexible but at the same time, take the steps necessary to avoid losing focus on tasks that need urgent attention.

Maximise your productivity at home by studying online

If you’re reaping the benefits of working from home in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, consider studying an online course with Upskilled. With qualifications in business, community services and IT, you can work towards a qualification that can help you expand your job opportunities or transition into an industry you have no prior experience working in. Enquire about a course today by calling the Upskilled team on 1300 009 924
 
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