Written by Leapers
Thousands of people are likely to be working from home for the first time this week due to the coronavirus outbreak. For others, it’s just like any other week.
About 1.5 million people work from home, and it’s becoming
more popular all the time.
So if you’re not self-isolating, but have been told to work
remotely, what’s the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
1. Get dressed
For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas
all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and
getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will
psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on
the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find
that dressing formally is helpful, and also useful if they need to dial into a
But for many others, the point of getting dressed is being
forced to shower and change out of clothes they associate with sleep and rest,
even if that means just changing into a T-shirt and jeans.
Wearing respectable clothes also increases motivation to
leave the house. Likewise, changing out of work clothes when you clock off for
the day helps your brain to understand that the working day is over.
2. Establish boundaries
If you’re employed by a company, you’ll probably have set
hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from
home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive
in your office or workplace, and finish your day at the same time.
Em Sheldon, a blogger and freelance writer, says she sticks
to a routine while working from home. She advises “going to bed at a
reasonable hour so that you get enough sleep and then wake up at your usual
When working from home, it is best to stick to a routine and
finish your day at a usual time
“I also find things like booking in a workout or
getting my gym kit ready means I have to get up and go,” she says.
“Once you do something over and over, it becomes a habit, so the first
week may be challenging but eventually it becomes part of your routine.”
At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your
computer and tidy away papers and other items. Space allowing, set aside a
specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up – ideally
with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace.
The NHS advice is that you should adjust your chair so you
can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the
If there are other people in the house, finding a space
where you’re not likely to be disturbed is essential, as Prof Robert Kelly
found out the hard way in 2017. He was being interviewed live by BBC News when
his two children burst into the room, creating a now infamous video, which has
been viewed more than 30 million times.
It’s also important to not “overcompensate”
because you’re anxious about working from home, says Ross Robinson, who manages
a team of freelancers at his Ignata Consulting firm.
“Many people tend to over communicate when working from
home – either wanting to ‘be seen’, or overcompensating to ensure people know
what they are up to. That’s fine – but don’t go over the top. You know if
you’re on task and being productive – keep yourself in check.”
3. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)
Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors
all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that
you leave the house at least once during the day.
So get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air.
A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh
pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.
Getting out and about can help increase creativity and help
undo mental blocks
If you can’t go outside, you could even bring the atmosphere
of the office to you.
4. Pick up the phone
If you’re working from home, the chances are you’ll be
alone, so you won’t get distracted by colleagues’ conversations and other
When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with
colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day
without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
It’s easy to spend the day without speaking to anyone so
it’s a good idea to call workmates or friends for a chat
Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real
conversation, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.