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How you can successfully work from home sounds so easy but it isn’t. People imagine you can jump out of bed, grab a cup of coffee and jump on your laptop and start your day. That won’t work for anyone and it will only end up making you frustrated and putting you under pressure. You need to have a strategy in place, you need to be organised and determined to stick with your strategy.
With the COVID-19 virus outbreak, we are all learning new ways of doing things. New ways of working. The following tips are to help you stay focused so that you can successfully work from home.
One secret of successfully working from home is to schedule your day. The first thing I do when I log into my work laptop is to go to my calendar.
I review what is on my calendar for that day. That could be an online conference or a report that needs to be completed on that day. deadlines are good for us too, it helps to work successfully from home.
I then look at the blanks in my calendar and start to populate them with things I need to do that day such as check emails. That could take me an hour or more so I put in my calendar “Emails” from 8:00 am until 9:00 am.
If I were in the office I would take my lunch break at 13:30 and although I am working from home I still put in my calendar “Lunch” from 13:30 until 14:00. Why do I do that? It isn’t just to remind me that it is time to eat, though sometimes I have found I need that reminder. It is also so that my colleagues can see my calendar and what I am doing at that time.
It is my lunch break so it might be that I decide to go for a walk at that time, so I won’t be at my desk and if a colleague wanted to get hold of me they can see that for the next 30 minutes, I may not be available.
Another thing that is important to help you successfully work from home is to check your surroundings. Ask yourself “Where am I going to set up my office at home?” You may be fortunate to have a spare room in which you can set up a little office for yourself with a desk. If that is the case then you are halfway to being able to work successfully from home.
Not everyone has the luxury of having a spare room that can turn into an office. You may have to be imaginative and think of alternatives. One thing I would not suggest is sitting on your bed with a laptop trying to work. You will end up with backache, and neck pain aches in areas you would not imagine.
My suggestion would be to sit at the kitchen, or dining room table. make sure that you clear things away so that you have room for a laptop, your work phone (I use a mobile) and all the other peripheral devices that you will need to successfully work from home.
I mentioned peripheral devices there, let me explain what I mean by that! A peripheral device is a mouse or a keyboard, and maybe you will be provided with a printer.
if you are using a laptop at home, you are probably working on that for between seven hours to seven and a half hours. if you are using the touchpad on your laptop you will find that you will be pushing your elbows into your side to make it easy to access the touchpad. Using a mouse it will make your life so much easier.
If your employer hasn’t provided you with one I would recommend that you buy one. they are relatively inexpensive and if you can afford it buy a wireless mouse. That way you can move it out of the way if you need to. Also, you will not have a wire hanging down that might get caught up around your leg when you stand up.
I have already mentioned the aches and pains you can get from the different parts of your body if your home office isn’t set up correctly. here are a few of my suggestions.
If you have the laptop on your tabletop and you are looking down at it all day you will do some damage to your neck. I suggest that you place your laptop on some books so that it lifts your screen up to eye level. Maybe you have a box lying around somewhere that will do the same job.
Do you have a computer chair in the house? if you are like me you probably just have the dining room chairs. If they don’t have cushions then by the end of the day you will end up with a very numb bum. Why not take a cushion from the sofa, or a pillow from your bed, place it on your chair and sit on that?
I know some people do suffer from back pain and coxes pain. in that case, go out and buy a rubber or memory foam ring to sit on. Amazon sells rubber and memory foam rings to sit on. That helps with comfort if you are sitting on a hard chair like a dining room chair.
There are a lot of websites around that will give you advice about setting up a home office and I would suggest that you take a look as they will help you from injuring yourself when working from home. All these things will help you to successfully work from home.
Another tip for working successfully from home is to take breaks. If you are working in front of a computer you should really take a short break every hour. I don’t mean to go off and read a newspaper or have a laydown. I mean rest your eyes for 5 minutes or so.
In that 5 minutes, you could do some deep breathing. If you are feeling stressed you could do some mindfulness. If you are not sure what mindfulness is then it is simple.
This is how I have practised mindfulness. I take off my shoes, close my eyes and just concentrate on my breath. I am conscious of breathing in and feeling my chest expand and then breathe out feeling my chest contract. Don’t think about what you are going to do in 5 minutes’ time, don’t even think about the time just concentrate on breathing in and out.
The benefit of mindfulness is that you will feel refreshed as you will have absorbed more oxygen into your blood by breathing deeply. You will feel less stressed and also be ready to concentrate on your next task.
If mindfulness isn’t your thing then get up and walk around the room for a moment or make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
An essential part of working successfully from home is to have regular contact with your colleagues. Don’t just drop them an email but organise a conference call. We use Skype for business to stay in touch, we have a meeting every day at a set time on Skype just to catch up on what is happening within our team. We are also allocated tasks and deadlines.
There are different methods of staying in contact with your colleagues. We use Skype for business but there is also Zoom or Microsoft Teams which can be downloaded on a smartphone or you can log on to the website. It is free to sign up for and free to use.
Most people now have Whatsapp too which you can use to text, call or have a video chat with work colleagues.
You can also make a good old-fashioned telephone call for a chat with a work friend or colleague.
You have been working hard all day. You have had all kinds of pressures and deadlines to meet and it is the end of the day. You probably have been stuck at home most of the day now it is time to make the most of your free time.
My advice to you is to make sure you get out for a walk and have some exercise and fresh air and let your mind wander. You have done all you can for that day. you successfully worked from home and now it is time for you.
What do you enjoy doing to relax? that isn’t an easy question to answer. Most of us don’t know how to relax as we are thinking about tomorrow and the work we have got to do. Stop there! tomorrow will bring enough pressure without you anticipating it.
If you enjoy reading then sit down with a good book and a comforting drink, for me that would be a cup of tea if I really want to spoil myself I would make a latte. Maybe there is a box set that you want to watch or a Netflix series! Don’t feel guilty you deserve it.
I can hear some of my readers say “I have kids and family to look after or cook for” Take them for a walk too then come home and cook dinner together. when the kids are in bed then read your book, and watch your TV series. The biggest secret of how to successfully work from home is your own well-being and mental health.
A while back I wrote a couple of blogs that I would say cover well-being and they are five lessons I have learnt from life in which I talk about where to find happiness I recommend that you read it.
I also wrote about how to live a happier life. I give 8 tips to live a happier life. There is no great philosophical discussion it is just simple things I have learnt.
Are you working from home? How are you finding it? do you have your own tips and comments to help people successfully work from home? Please comment below and let me know what you think.