Eight Tips For Working From Home
Coronavirus has got a lot of people working from home at the moment, most of us included! Thankfully, we’re no strangers to this sort of thing (working from home, not novel diseases) and we’ve got a few tips and tricks that might help keep you productive, or at the very least entertained.
Here are our top tips:
Working with Pets
Now that you’re working from home, you’re in their territory, and don’t you dare forget it. They’ll jump on your laptop, keyboard, screen, and just about everything else you might need for work. You can maybe entice them to leave you alone by making somewhere comfy for them close by. Or learn to live with the fact that you have a new full-time keyboard warmer
Sure, spending the day in your PJs might be tempting, but throwing on some clothes will help you be more productive. And, even more importantly, it’ll reduce the chances of embarrassment if you join a conference call only to discover that the webcam you thought was off… wasn’t. Oops!
But here’s a little tip not many other blogs will tell you: You only have to dress your top half!
Doll up your torso in your normal work gear, but do whatever you want with anything that won’t be on camera. Pajamas are good, but why not take it one step further? Cowboy boots. Hula skirts. Neon pink leggings. Go wild.
Following on from the last point about getting dressed for the camera, remember that in a video meeting the camera can see you at all times. Don’t let them see your embarrassing habits, and whatever you do, don’t fall asleep!
Think about what’s behind you too. There’s nothing worse than finishing an hour-long conference call and realising you’ve had your tighty-whities hung up drying on a rack behind you the whole time. Trust us… nothing worse.
Well, maybe there are some things worse. If you live in a shared household, CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR. People dancing in the background, children interrupting, partners walking around in the buff not knowing they’re on video. These things can be mortifying, for you and them, but the advice for all of them is the same:
Close the door.
Working from home can be pretty lonely, especially if you live by yourself. It’ll help not to rely solely on email and text communication. Pick up the phone every now and again. Better yet, get some video calls going so you can talk while looking at your colleagues’ wonderful faces.
If you’re struggling to get in contact with people, why not remake them at home? Grab pictures of your colleagues’ faces, print them, and stick them to inanimate objects. They might be slightly less talkative than the real thing, but at least you’ll get to lead the meetings.
Specialised Communication Tools
We’ve all been there. Massive email chains where everyone hits “reply all” no matter what they’re talking about. Things quickly get off-topic, Karen starts talking about which shops still have good supplies of loo roll, and you can guarantee that as soon as you tune out you’ll miss the one email that concerns you.
To get around this, try some of these free tools:
- Slack – Easy text-based communication between multiple people. Different projects or topics can have their own channel. Karen can keep all her loo roll chat in one place, and you can ignore it.
- Trello – Use it to keep track of project timelines and create to-do lists for yourself and your team. Karen can use it to create a handy list of all the stores that have sold out.
- Zoom – Video conferencing! As close to face-to-face as you can get right now. Karen can use it to take you on a virtual tour through the empty aisles.
The Outside World
It can be easy to forget that the rest of the world exists when you’re living and working at home, especially at times like these when advice is to stay indoors and distance yourself from others. BUT the outside world is still there, and you should let it into your life.
Take some time in your garden (if you have one), go for a run or do some other form of exercise (at a safe distance from others), or just open the windows (provided it’s not raining… this is Britain, after all).
You have working hours at the office, so why wouldn’t you have them at home? Send colleagues messages when you start and finish your day. That way you reduce the likelihood of an over enthusiastic worker (looking at you, Karen) dragging you back into a project when you’ve already clocked off.
Also, try to set boundaries around WHERE you work, not just when. You’ll find it easier to start and finish work if there’s a dedicated space for it. Of course, you may need to change where you work if your ideal desk turns out to be your cat’s property. Be flexible.
Some boundaries may be a step too far…
Last one: Take breaks. If you’d normally have an hour for lunch, take your hour. If you’d normally take short breaks for tea or coffee, do that at home too. Your bosses (probably) aren’t trying to catch you slacking, and they’ll understand if you aren’t at your computer every second of the day. It’s fine – advisable, even – to take a little time away from your screen every now and again.
Well, there you have it. Our tips and tricks for working from home. Have we missed anything? Got something we should add? Is your name Karen and you feel a little victimised (sorry)? You know where to find us: