13 Tips For Working From Home During Lock Down
Working from home isn’t for everyone. But in the time of the COVID 19 Lock Down many people are finding that they have little choice. So here are some handy tips from MY RANGGO for working from home successfully.
Some working from home tips may seem obvious or even silly. But it’s all about getting in to the right mindset. Once there you can work successfully and productively from home.
Tips for Working from Home.
1. Stick to your routine. If you usually have to get up early to commute to work, keep your alarm clock set at that time. You can use your spare time to clean, do your laundry, meditate, exercise or even pre-prepare your lunch or evening meal.
If you think you can be disciplined, set your alarm clock for an hour before you would normally arrive at work instead. Then get up and follow your usual morning routine.
2. Dress for work. That may sound silly but it can be very tempting to stay in your PJ’s. After all no-one is going to see you other than your family or housemates. But, again, it’s a mindset issue. If you dress for working from home, or at least just dress in day clothes, you’re telling your brain that you are going to be working today.
3. Switch off Social Media. Chances are you are now in a lot of chat groups. Even if you’re not, Facebook is full of bored people posting meme’s, funny videos or updates about COVID-19. Tiktok is full of challenges and funny videos.
This can be very distracting to a work mind set. Before you know it, half your working day has flown by and you haven’t tackled or achieved anything.
Mute your group chats and switch off your phone notifications. If you really can’t get through a whole day without checking your accounts, give yourself set times for a break from work. Check your social media then, set a time in your mind for starting work again and stick to it.
If you need to be online to talk and discuss things with Team Mates or your Manager, consider apps like Slack instead of using Messenger. You can download Slack to your laptop or cellphone. That way there is no need for you to be on your phone or have Facebook open.
4. Have a defined work space. That’s not always easy when it’s your home. Try to find an area that is clear of distractions such as the TV, or any area lots of people use or walk through. It might mean moving furniture or shelves temporarily.
Set the area up with the work related items you will need. This might be a notepad, your files, a jar of pens, mouse pad etc. If you have to leave your desk to find supplies or the files you need, you not only waste time but you can get distracted easily by conversations going on in another room, or a ‘quick’ job that you see needs doing.
5. Have a defined Work Time. This can depend on your job. For many people they will be working a ‘9-5’ schedule because that’s when their office operates, or it’s when their team mates will be working. Some people may find that they’re more productive in the evening, when their family has gone to bed.
What is important is letting friends and family know what your working hours are. Some of them may be at home and not working during Lock Down. You need to have firm boundaries and you need to make it clear that just because you are not in the office or at your workplace that does not mean you are not working. It does not mean you are free for chats, or for them to sit with you whenever they are bored.
6. Sharing childcare/dependents responsibilities. If you are in Lock Down at home with your family you may need to share care duty with your spouse, partner or parents. Sit together at the start of each week and schedule time slots where one can work without distraction, whilst the other looks after the children.
Introduce Nap Time for all the kids. They can either sleep or go to a quiet space and read or watch TV, or play on their phone but with headphones in. Try to also set times for the children where they can do school work or quiet activities on their own. Check out our article Things To Do When You’re in Lock Down for some free activities.
Working From Home Let’s Get to Work!
7. Have a To Do List. This will help you organize your time effectively.
Some people do better working on the boring or difficult tasks first. Others find that if they can clear some of the easy or quick tasks first they then feel inspired enough to tackle the difficult or boring tasks.
Some people are at their most alert and focused in the morning but slump a bit after lunch. Others are only really ‘getting in to their stride’ by the afternoon.
It may take a ‘try it and see’ approach to find out which type you are. At the end of the working day it can be very satisfying to look at a To Do List full of scored out tasks that have been completed.
8. Deal with Emails and Work Messages at set times during the day. Check your emails before you start working.
Add any items you need to do to your To Do List. Deal with messages which require an immediate answer and ‘star’ the messages you will tackle later.
You may wish to also check your emails after lunch and an hour before you plan to stop working that day.
9. Schedule Breaks. Set the alarm on your phone or alarm clock to remind you to take breaks.
This may be to go make yourself a coffee or get a glass of water, or have a snack. It’s also a good time to walk around and ‘stretch your legs’.
Regular breaks can help you be more productive and focused. Any ‘distractions’ that come up when you are working, you can tell yourself you will deal with them during your break.
10. Try not to Multi-task. Focus on one thing at a time and complete it. Working on several things at once can create a messy mind, loss of focus and loss of direction. You can also forget about a task completely!
11. Schedule Regular Online Team Meetings. It can be hard not having your colleagues around you to bounce ideas off or ask questions. Try to organize a regular day of the week, or time during the day, where everyone comes together online.
Zoom offers a free platform for group chats for 40 minutes at a time. Or use Slack, which is type-based, so you have a record of what was discussed to go back to.
Keep a note pad (physically or on your phone, tablet or laptop) and write down any items you need to discuss or talk about. Then raise them in your team meeting.
Having a set time for online meetings reduces the chances of you being interrupted and distracted from your work by a colleague who ‘just wants to ask a quick question’. It disciplines everyone in your team to be focused and make the most of the meeting.
12. Have a set finish time. This can help you be productive because you will work to complete your tasks before you finish for the day.
It also sets boundaries for work colleagues who are less disciplined or have a more flexible working approach.
Just make sure you communicate your finish time and be clear you won’t be taking calls or replying to emails after that time.
Obviously, you may need to be flexible if an urgent task comes up and you’re asked to assist or get it completed.
13. Stick to your usual bed time. It can be very tempting to stay up late. Especially if you are living with others who aren’t working from home during Lock Down. Stick to your normal bed routine.
The risk of staying up later than normal to watch a film with others is that you will struggle to wake up at your normal time in the morning. Or you will feel ‘hung-over’ from lack of sleep.
You could find yourself turning off your alarm clock for a ‘lie-in’ and, over time, completely changing your body clock; rising late morning and missing important morning emails etc.