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7 Tips for working from home effectively

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a world of uncertainty. 

Many businesses needed to find new ways to readjust the way they do work in order to survive.

That’s why working from home became the norm for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the globe.

But while for some, working from home was a welcome decision, others struggled with this idea.

It’s true, working in an office lends itself to continuity, offers a social work culture and there’s no element of self-isolation involved.

However, working from home is a whole different ball game and requires some preparation and readjustment in order for people to cope and not only that, to also be successful at what they do.

In this blog post, we’ve prepared seven tips for working from home effectively, so keep reading for more below:

  • Prepare the essential equipment
  • Allocate a comfortable space to work at
  • Don’t forget to get dressed 
  • Watch what you eat and drink
  • Ensure effective communication with your colleagues
  • Don’t forget to keep in touch socially
  • Set clear personal/work boundaries

To find out more about what each step entails, keep reading below! 

1. Prepare the essential equipment

Before you start working from home, you’ll need to make sure that you’ve prepared the essentials you’ll need in order to carry out your work effectively.

This will mean ensuring you have a stable and constant Internet connection, a laptop or a PC to work on, a telephone line (if necessary), the necessary chargers and electricity outlets, possibly an external webcam and headphones, a printer and copier (again, if needed), and your stationery.

You may have to secure a laptop from your employer. And you’ll also need to make sure beforehand who will cover your utility costs such as your Internet connection and phone bills.

So, make sure you discuss this with your employer or HR department before you proceed.

These elements are critical to getting you set up effortlessly so that you avoid technical glitches when they’re least expected, such as during an important meeting or call.

2. Allocate a comfortable space to work at

Your home, while being your private space, will need to face some readjustments.

You will need to find a place where you can work at, so that you’re efficient and effective at what you do.

Find a room or a comfortable corner where you can place all your equipment and gadgets, so that you can work well from this space.

Whether a table or a desk, avoid places with distractions like being near a TV, which emits constant noise.

Also keep in mind what type of work environment you usually work in when at the office.

Do you listen to music when working with your headphones in or do you prefer perfect silence?

Set the right atmosphere with regard to noise levels, too.

And finally, once you’ve decided on a ‘where’, try to stick to it for a sense of continuity.

3. Don’t forget to get dressed

There’s an element of internal and psychological change when it comes to getting dressed in the morning.

It is part of your morning routine that indicates that you’re preparing for something different and you enter a new frame of mind that prepares you for the day ahead. 

While you do not necessarily need to don a tie and a suit when working from home, getting dressed means you’re making a mental and physical change that prepares you psychologically.

Avoid working in your pyjamas. This will not only be inappropriate if you have a sudden or urgent meeting, but also to make the break in your morning routine so that you adjust to the mental space of being at work.

You’ll show yourself and your colleagues the necessary levels of self-respect, too.

4. Watch what you eat and drink

With the fridge so close to you all day long, it’s tempting to visit it for a snack now and then.

However, ask yourself: is this how you normally eat at work?

While at work, do you normally snack away at your desk or do you follow specific, regular times for eating?

Try to stick to a food regimen that’s healthy, if you do intend on snacking.

Junk food will give you a boost in energy, but this is often short lived and will make you slump soon after, making you feel tired and lacking in energy to continue being productive.

Also remember to drink plenty of water and avoid fizzy, sugary drinks or too much coffee.

Another aspect to keep in mind is to stand up from your chair often, perhaps every 25 minutes for a five-minute break and engage in some stretching.

This tip will also keep you in a physically healthy space as you continue working from home.

5. Ensure effective communication with your colleagues

Once the basics are in place, it’s time to get to the nitty gritty of actually getting your work done. 

However, most of us rely on colleagues for additional information and for the completion of tasks.

This involves effective communication and while in the office you might be able to just pick up the phone and ask someone for something, at home this is not always an easy option.

This is why setting up chat tools, email and other forms of communication are vital.

Also make sure you reply to messages and chats as quickly as possible.

This will not only ensure that you don’t leave your colleagues hanging and waiting for your response, but it also shows them a level of respect that you will normally show them while at the office.

6. Don’t forget to keep in touch socially

Self-isolation is an important way of preventing the spread and infection of COVID-19.

However, being self-isolated while working from home can cause those with outgoing personalities some trouble as they’re unable to express themselves as well as they normally would in an office environment.

This is where the social element of work comes into play in a home-office scenario.

Consider getting your colleagues together after work for some chit-chat and updates on how your lives and work are progressing.

Some people have even joined Zoom meetings to introduce their pets to their colleagues, thus creating an element of closeness and fun.

Don’t forget that although you may be physically distanced from your team mates, you’re still in the same boat and you should continue keeping up communication with them on a more personal level.

This tip will help you avoid the loneliness of working from home alone, as well as continue building rapport between you and your colleagues.

7. Set clear personal/work boundaries

With working from home, setting clear work/home boundaries can be hard.

After all, you might be on your PC at 08:00 am doing some personal things like online shopping or checking the news, and then be required to join a professional meeting at 09:00 am.

There’s very little separating your personal and professional life in this case as you’re on your PC in both instances.

This is why you need to consider creating clear boundaries related to the hours in the day – some for personal, private time, and others specifically allocated to your work.

Stepping away from your computer at the end of a work shift, logging out of your employer’s system at the end of a working day, or some other element of ‘breaking’ with your professional life will be required for you to smoothly transition to your private time for yourself.

That’s why it’s important to stick to your work hours, and not mix private and personal initiatives whilst working from home.

One great tip for doing so is to step away from your computer after work and engage in some physical exercise like going for a walk or doing some yoga and stretching exercises.

Transition to a work from home environment seamlessly!

Working from home can be a difficult transition for some people who are used to the more social element of integrating within an office environment. 

However, this doesn’t have to be the case and you can enjoy a smooth level of continuity as you move into a home office

With the seven tips listed above, we hope you’ll be successful in all your work from home endeavours and achieve even more success going forward!

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