As Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact and change the way we work, more and more Australians are starting to clock in remotely from home each day. Whether this is something you already do on a regular basis or it’s a completely foreign concept – there are some golden rules to working from home that will help ensure your time is as effective as it is enjoyable.
As most freelancers will tell you, working from home isn’t all about watching television in the background and never getting out of your pyjamas. While it might be fun for the first few days, having a routine that ensures you treat each day as a real work day (and get dressed, grab a coffee and remain distraction-free) is extremely important. This is especially true when considering your mental health.
The first thing to do is try to keep your schedule as normal as possible. This means waking up at your regular time each morning and creating a daily routine that will set you on the right path for the remainder of the day. This might include going for a walk during what would typically be your commute time, talking regularly scheduled breaks, eating your lunch away from your desk (yes even at home) and ensuring you’re still self-grooming even if you know you won’t see anyone that day.
You’ll also need to work on creating boundaries between your personal life and your professional life. Don’t get distracted by doing four loads of washing but do clean your desk at the end of the day as your final work ritual.
While working remotely will allow you to remain distraction free to an extent (no pesky co-workers popping by your desk), it’s still important to remain connected to those you work with. To limit any feelings of isolation, it’s worth checking in with your co-workers, either through phone calls, video calls, texts or emails on a regular basis. Everyone responds differently to working from home, so there’s no one size fits all approach – however by actively working on remaining connected, you can help reduce any feelings of loneliness and seclusion.
To ensure you’re able to have these chats with your co-workers and also get your work done, you’ll need to focus on your desk set-up. Do your best to find one set space to work from each day that has some natural light and is as comfortable as possible. If you can, try to set up the area like your actual desk at work. This will help prevent distractions.
You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t end up with any neck or back pain from a poorly set-up desk, so do your best to ensure your laptop is high on the table (a few books will help). If you already have a separate keyboard and mouse, dust them off and put them to good use. If not, it might be time to invest in some home office supplies. By having a keyboard and mouse, you’re also allowing yourself to have some flexibility around where exactly you place your screen. Have a standing desk at work? Try your best to alternate sitting and standing at home if you know you’ll be working remotely for a while.
While some people love working from home, others might struggle a bit, which is why it’s so important to cultivate a routine and a ritual, to ensure your mental health doesn’t suffer at the hands of your new work from home arrangement. Turning on the radio or having Spotify playing in the background can help re-create some of the same office buzz and noise you’re used to.
Most importantly, remember that you can do this and you’re not alone.
We’ve all got this!