In response to the current Coronavirus pandemic crisis and Government guidance, many employees may find themselves needing to work from home during this uncertain time.
For some people, the opportunity to work from home is a blessing to get away from the daily office distractions and noise. For others, this can be a task in itself to force yourself to sit down and do something without getting distracted by the TV, the washing up or your dog.
Without your colleagues or management there to ensure you don’t spend your day scrolling through cute puppy videos on instagram, it can be a challenge to work from home; but it is achievable if you set yourself some goals and boundaries. Having a clear focus will allow you to be productive and to ensure you get the task done.
Get showered and dressed
Treating this day like any other work day will help you get set for the day ahead. I’m not suggesting putting on a suit, but getting out of your pyjamas will cull the temptation to crawl back into bed.
Set aside a specific work space
Make sure this space is not directly in front of the TV or in your bed whilst your prop your laptop on your knees. Sitting at a table will help you focus, as will a good supportive chair and an area to write on if needed. If you are used to the radio being on at work, put it on at home too. Pick a room that is light and airy to put you in the right frame of mind for work.
Create a work schedule
Time management is a big part of staying focused when working from home. Have a clear plan of the tasks that need to be achieved in the day. Creating a check list will allow you to plan how much time each project will take and to prioritise it. You can reward yourself once you have completed a task with a snack or a cuppa.
Stick to the same routine as if you were at work. Start at your normal time each morning and take regular breaks and lunch at the same time. The added bonus is that you can lunch on the smelly fish pie that would otherwise be social unacceptable to heat up in the work kitchen.
Easily said than done, especially if you have young children in the house. If there are other adults working at home at the same time as you, then be sure to make them aware of your schedule and set expectations with your partner around childcare. The kids’ nap times might not be so easy to schedule, but be sure to utilise this time to either be productive or to give yourself a break.
Stay in touch with your colleagues and discuss projects as you would in the office – it’ll also help you to not feel alone and encourage team spirit. There are a number of platforms out there to help you communicate such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams that allow you to speak face to face and share files.
Hold yourself accountable
Your manager may ask what you have achieved during your day. It is worth staying in touch with management whilst working from home to update them or to even ask questions on a regular basis. Why not schedule a call / video call first thing each morning to discuss the tasks of the day? By having a clear plan of action will make sure that you know what needs to be done and by when. By taking responsibility for your tasks and letting your manager know what they can expect, you’ll find it easier to stay focused and avoid the lure of distractions.