10 Tips for Working from Home

Right now there are more people working from home than ever before. Some people are accustomed to working from home but for even the most dedicated remote worker, the novelty wears off after a couple of days. We’ve created a list of helpful tips to stay focused and lift your mood. 

Home office

1. Create Your Work from Home Space

If space allows, set up a dedicated work from home space that is comfortable and close enough to a power source to keep your laptop / monitor running. Check your Wi-Fi connection is strong in this area and that you are away from distractions (as much as possible). At a minimum you will need a comfortable chair and a table-like surface. Treat this space as your workplace so it is separate to areas in your home that you use to relax or socialise. This means that you can leave your work space for breaks. 

Tip: Learn how to create a home office space that Silicon Valley would be jealous of here.

2. Stick to Your Usual Morning Routine

Having a solid morning routine will set you up for the day ahead. Wake up at your usual time, get washed and get dressed and think of ways that you can fill the gap of time that you would have spent commuting or getting ready for the office. Perhaps you could drink your morning coffee on a walk, cook a healthy breakfast, go for a cycle or do a home workout. These activities will help your body to release feel-good hormones to get you motivated. 

3. Stay Connected with Your Colleagues 

Working from home for days on end can feel a little isolating. It’s important to stay in touch with your colleagues to stay connected. Schedule a team call for 9.30am each morning to catch up, discuss the day’s work and share your thoughts. Having some structure each day will keep you motivated and engaged in your work. Following the meeting, create a to do list for each day and make it your goal to complete it. 

Working from the sitting room

4. Take Regular Breaks

Just as you would at the office, take regular breaks to make coffee, have a snack or even put on a wash. Have virtual coffee breaks via video call with your colleagues where you can chat about things other than work for a few minutes. Breaks are important for your mental health and will help with your work too. 

5. Take Your Lunch Break as Normal

Having your lunch at home means you can cook delicious, healthy lunches and save some money that would have been spent in expensive cafes. Try to eat balanced meals that include protein, fat and carbohydrates to stay energised. You should eat your lunch away from your work space and make sure that you are fully logged out of your computer. It’s also hugely important to get outside for some air on your lunch break. Whether it's for a walk with the dog, a jog or run, or even a trip to the supermarket for supplies, getting out in the fresh air is crucial for your mental health and job performance. 

6. Stick to Normal Working Hours

Sticking to a time schedule can be difficult when working from home. However, having set times and tasks will give your day structure and will help to keep you stimulated throughout the day. Avoid waking up late, taking longer lunches or putting off tasks that will need to be completed later in the day spilling over into your free time. 

3. Declutter your home

This step is the foundation of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Marie advocates the Konmari Method - decluttering and organising your home by category, not location. She suggests beginning with clothes, then moving on to books, papers, miscellaneous items, and, finally, sentimental items.

Start by gathering the contents of the category you’re working on and place them in the centre of the floor or bed. Then, hold each item in your hands to show its value and decide there and then if it “sparks joy” within you. If it does, you can keep the item and if it doesn’t, you must thank the item and then donate it or dispose of it.

Marie says: “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go”. This style of cleaning is philosophical: it’s both effective and mindful. The process will help you to appreciate what you have.

4. Plan regular deep cleans

Get in to the routine of carrying out deep cleans on top of your day-to-day house cleaning. Aim to complete at least one deep clean every one to three months. Create a deep cleaning checklist for your home that includes the following steps:

  • Remove out of date items from the fridge and clean the shelves with warm soapy water and a microfiber cloth. Reorganise the freezer and de-ice if needed.
  • Clean your washing machine by running a cycle with ¾ cup of white vinegar in the detergent drawer
  • Remove and clean dishwasher racks, empty any waste and treat it with dishwasher cleaner
  • Clean kitchen appliances such as toaster, kettle, microwave, grill and oven
  • Dust and wipe ceiling corners, window sills and skirting boards
  • Dust areas such as the fireplace, books shelves, picture frames 
  • Move furniture to clean underneath and behind it 
  • Clean the front of any kitchen cabinets with hot water 
  • Wipe your windows clean with white vinegar and paper towels
  • Treat any carpets in the home

The more regular your deep cleans are, the less of a task they’ll become!

Tip: Don’t overspend on cleaning supplies. White vinegar, lemon juice and other household items can often be used as an all-purpose cleaner.

  • Rub half a lemon on your faucets to get rid of hard water marks and make them shine.
  • Clean your microwave by heating up the juice of half a lemon, half a cup of water and the lemon rinds for three minutes. Allow the steam to sit in the microwave for a further five minutes to loosen up any grime inside.
  • Clean stainless steel with bread soda and a wet sponge. Add salt for a more intense clean.
  • Spray some warmed white vinegar on your grill grates to loosen up residue and then scrub them with half an onion. The acid from the onion will remove all leftover remnants on the grill.
Doing up the office space with plants

7. Complete Those Training Modules You’ve Been Putting off

We’re all guilty of it, dismissing reminders to complete training modules, putting off our progression plans and forgetting about our goals. If you have some extra time to spare, begin working on your progression plan, development opportunities and goals. Break each one into steps and add these steps to your calendar and work on them bit by bit. 

8. Avoid Checking Your Phone and Social Media Accounts

We know, the temptation is much stronger when you’re working from home but try to avoid being on your personal phone to check your notifications or messages. Switch your phone on to “do not disturb” mode and only check it when you are taking a break.

9. Make Plans for When Work is Finished

Now is the time to cook new things, discover new music, watch movie classics, dive into a good book, declutter your home or complete a fitness challenge such as Couch to 5K. Try to include at least one of these activities for your evenings. 

Working at home with children? Try some of these activities for children in the home

10. Finish Work on Time

Begin wrapping up your work in preparation to finish at your usual closing time. Once that time has come the evening is yours to enjoy. Switch off the computer and switch off your mind. Move from your work space into your sitting room and give yourself a few moments to adjust. 

Remember to look after yourself and your mental health while working at home. Check in with your colleagues regularly and stay connected. Take regular breaks and make sure to get some fresh air. 

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