CAST your mind back to the not too distant workplace past when you would casually tell colleagues at the end of the workday that you would be working from home tomorrow.
The look on their faces said it all, implying responses such as “a nice sleep-in, I bet” or “what a coincidence that tomorrow’s forecast is for stunning weather” and a simple “of course you are”.
How quickly attitudes have changed. Working from home has become today’s default position as we do our bit to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus has changed our perception of WFH from “a nice to have” to a “must have” position.
But it has also left many of us battling to work out how to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to working from home.
There are some simple steps we can take to ease the transition from the office workstation to a pop-up or makeshift office at home.
It starts with preparing for each WFH day as if you were heading into the office. Set your alarm, shower and get dressed – it will make the transition from pillow to keyboard a whole lot simpler and help you resist the temptation to sleep in or go back to bed.
Have a plan for the day, including start and finish times, and structure your day as if you were in the office. Know exactly what you will be doing ahead of time but remain flexible.
Plan regular breaks as you would on any workday to ensure you remain focused and productive.
Log out of your personal social media accounts at the start of the workday to avoid the temptation of wasting hours on non-work matters.
Make sure, too, that you restrict work activities to a designated area in the home – preferably one that meets ergonomic design standards. Avoid remaining cooped up in your bedroom, on a couch or in any other area that you associate with rest and relaxation.
Stay connected with the outside world by taking in news at regular intervals and contact colleagues via telephone or videoconference to maintain the team approach you would experience in the office.
You will probably be more productive if you work to some background music but keep in mind the lyric-free variety is more likely to help you focus.
Avoid feeling guilty for completing house chores in and around your work activities. Having some flexibility about how you spend your day is one of the pleasures of WFH – with many hacking their lunchbreak to undertake those personal jobs.
And in the interests of a harmonious WFH experience, try to set some broad guidelines with others in the house – spouse or partners, children, roommates and even pets – to ensure your space is respected during work hours.
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