By Ray Knox, Orca Management Training
With many people now working from homer and with school closures I thought I would share my tips for working from home. These are based on 15 years of working from home and the work I do with clients.
Tip 1 – get a routine including getting ready for work. It does not matter what you’re routine is as long as it works for you. I get up at the same time, prepare for work, get dressed, have breakast and start at the same time most days. The routine should include breaks, lunch break and finish time. I tend to work in 2 hour blocks before a short break. This maximises focus and attention then allows you time away from the PC.
Tip 2 – have a dedicated work space. I am lucky in now having my own home office but for many years my space was in my bedroom. Depending on your living conditions it can be tricky to get a solo space but it is needed. Also ensure everyone in the house knows when you are in that space you are working.
Tip 3 – Focus on productivity not time worked. We should always focus on what we need to achieve, the goals to be met and the work to be completed not the hours worked. There is a tempetation when working from home to work long hours but if you can achieve everything in a shorter space of time do not feel guilty about it.
Tip 4 – Communicate with everyone in the house and agree ground rules. When you work from home if there are others around they will feel you are available. Agree when you are available and for what – you can factor these into your breaks. Especially when children are at home this will become even more important.
Tip 5 – Find out what approach works for you. If you try a way of working and it is not working for you experiment until you may find a way which does.
Tip 6 – Keep contact with people. Working from home can be a lonely experience and it is easy to feel isolated. I have a weekly call with a colleague which provides social contact outside of my immediate family. If you are part of a team working remotely factor in regular contact to ensure the team aspect is maintained.
Tip 7 – Leave work. When you finish for the day make sure you finish. It is tempting to pop back in and do a quick half hour which turns into a few hours.
Working from home has many advantages but it takes discipline from yourself and communication with those around you to make it work effectively – both family and colleagues.