With the immediate requirement for a lot of us to work from home, we prepared this helpful guide to ensure our staff stay as efficient and productive as possible in their new working environment.
If you find yourself working from home or are planning to in the future, hopefully you can take some of the tips in this article and apply them so you too can cope and even thrive in your new working environment.
How to structure your day when you work from home
We list 29 of the best tips and practices for successful homeworking, starting with how to structure your working day:
1. Structure Is Key
Structure is the basis for any working environment, but even more so when working remotely. Make sure you have a plan for each day and try to set up a new routine that you can stick to which includes setting a start and finish time for your day. It’s really important to keep some distance between ‘home’ and ‘homeworking’ to make sure you’re not answering emails at 10pm or when you should be spending time with the family.
2. Write A To-Do List
Knowing what you need to achieve for the day is no different to when you are in your normal workplace. In the morning write out a list of tasks that you aim to complete during that day – this will help you stay on track and keep you focused.
It’s easier to get distracted at home so review your to-do list regularly and again at the end of each day so you know if you’re on track. Take time at the end of each working day to make a list for the next day – this should include anything you have not managed to complete.
3. Dress In Appropriate Attire
Whether this is putting on a particular outfit before going to the gym or ensuring your children put on their uniform, studies have shown that the clothing we wear has a direct impact on our performance in a particular situation. So for many of us, continuing to wake up at the usual time as if we were still commuting, as well as putting on the clothes we would normally wear to our workplace, will help get you into the ‘work’ mindset and help you perform to your best throughout the day.
4. Maintain A Work Telephone Manner
Just because you are at home it doesn’t mean your customers or colleagues expect less of you, so make sure you answer the phone in the same professional manner as you would while you are at your desk – always be friendly, polite and helpful!
5. Take Breaks
Your homeworking day should resemble your normal working day as much as possible, so make sure you take a short break both in the morning and afternoon.
Make sure now more than ever that you take a lunch break. This is something many of us are bad at doing whilst in the office, but when at home make sure you spend an hour away from the screen – there are more options in the home of things that can occupy you for an hour so give your mind some much-needed rest.
6. Find A Quiet Place To Work
Where possible, try to set yourself up with a quiet place to work, ideally away from where your children and/or pets play. This will help you concentrate and enable you to answer phone calls effectively and in a work manner.
Explain to partners and children who are old enough to understand that you are ‘at work’ and aren’t available for their needs like you normally would be at the weekend when you are at home.
7. Don’t Multi-Task
The temptation to multi-task is greater at home as you are surrounded by more distractions, but be strict with yourself and try to finish individual tasks one at a time. This will help you stay more productive, help you get through your to-do list and will give you a greater sense of satisfaction.
8. Turn A Spare Bedroom Into A Home Office
If you don’t usually work from home and you have space in your house, you might consider turning a spare bedroom into a home office.
If you can afford it, invest in good quality office furniture, especially when it comes to a chair as this will enable you to work in an ergonomic position, similar to your office environment – this can really help productivity and stop symptoms like lower back pain from sitting awkwardly.
9. What Day Is It Today?
If homeworking is new to you it can be difficult to remember what day it is without the usual cues and routines you experience at work. So, at the start of the working day, when you’re making your daily plan, make sure you cover the basics by reminding yourself what date and day of the week it is.
10. Check In With Your Boss
Being proactive is essential when homeworking, so make sure you check in with your boss regularly to update them on what you are doing and what they can expect from you.
Even if you aren’t being asked to document how you are spending your time so that it can be charged onto clients, it can be helpful to keep a brief diary of your work activity each day – being able to recite a clear overview of your day will help you appear much more professional and efficient when your boss asks you “How have you been getting on?” and “What were you working on today”.
Keeping a brief diary of the day will also help you refine your to-do list as you adjust to the difference in the time it may take to get some tasks completed.