These days, many people are settling in with their home office work. The Coronavirus pandemic is currently forcing us to work from home as much as possible. This sounds comfortable and relaxing at first, but it can also become annoying and ineffective very quickly if you go about it the wrong way. Here are some tips on how to make the home office work for you not against you!
Create a fixed workspace
Working from your bed or sofa sounds cool at first, but it’s not a good idea. These places are for relaxation and are usually not suitable for creating a good working atmosphere on a permanent basis. It’s better to sit down at your desk to give yourself a clear signal: Now it’s time to work! The longer you stay in bed with your laptop, the more difficult it will be for you to switch off in the evening and to gain the necessary distance – and without that efficient work is not possible.
To switch into work mode, it helps to dress accordingly. I’m sure there are people who can just kick off the job in pajamas or sweatpants and keep it that way throughout the day, but if you’re not used to working from home, there’s a risk of not being fully in the flow. It’s best to dress in the morning as if you were actually going to work.
Fixed working hours
Sleeping longer and starting work sometime in the morning sounds tempting. But a home office doesn’t mean that you can schedule your time just as you like, taking breaks all the time or interrupting your work for little things like shopping or a trip to the mall. Even if it’s tempting to go to the café or take a spontaneous walk, it’s best not to let it happen. For every hour you waste, you’ll probably have to work longer in the evening. It also mixes your personal and professional life. This can lead to conflicts and not sufficiently satisfy your own need for relaxation. The clear separation only works if you start and finish work at set times in a disciplined manner.
So, develop a routine. Get up at the usual time, have breakfast and start working. Take break when you would in the office and finish work on time.
Working from home feels different than working in the office because you’re in your own private space all the time. This can quickly lead to not consciously taking breaks. However, these are just as important in the home office. So, take deliberate breaks by demonstratively leaving your “workplace” and going into another room or going for a walk around the block outside to clear your head and recharge your batteries.
In the home office, no one can see what you’re doing or not doing. This lack of control puts you at risk of getting distracted more often than you otherwise would. Chatting with friends and family or talking on the phone, streaming something on the net on the side – don’t do it! Otherwise, it won’t work in the long run.
Try to ban your smartphone from your desk if you don’t absolutely need it and forbid yourself to surf the web. This requires a high degree of self-discipline, because often the temptation for what is more fun at the moment is only a click away. So, it’s a good exercise to strengthen this characteristic in yourself. It’s also best to deactivate all push notifications or turn on the airplane mode. After all, we all know how easy it is to get lost on WhatsApp, Instagram and what it feels like when you don’t really feel like doing anything. Signal your roommates or family that you are generally not available and only want to be disturbed in urgent cases.
Meet with colleagues
Home office can become lonely and especially in the current time create the feeling of isolation. Therefore, create opportunities for virtual meetings. For example, bosses can invite their team to a come-together once a week via video chat. You could then talk about how you are coping with the sudden change in your working lives, share your fears and worries, but also new insights and tips, and thus strengthen the feeling of togetherness.
The majority of us are also in our home offices, but that doesn’t mean we’re closed – we’re still available and ready for action this year, organizing ourselves digitally and flexibly.
Maybe you were able to take away some helpful tips from our post. We wish you all the best and of course hope that you stay healthy.