Working From Home - Practical Tips

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This is a quick list of points to consider when working from home - compiled by people who have done it for 20 years or more.

 

1. Have a designated place in your home to do your work. But, when this becomes tedious work from different parts of your home (if this is an option). If you are lucky enough to have outside space use it in good weather, if you can work comfortably from your sofa or bed for an hour - do so.

 

2. Make your workspace as comfortable and welcoming as possible. Ensure you have a suitable desk and a better chair. Make sure your workspace is safe - no frayed charging cables or trailing wires to trip over. Do not allow your five-year-old to use your work devices - it ends badly. Use a virtual private network (VPN) for a secure Internet connection.

 

3. Don't feel guilty about working from home - you are saving lives, possibly your own too. It is common for homeworkers to be viewed as not "really" working - most of us are now homeworkers.

 

4. If you have to wear work clothes to mentally prepare yourself for work - then do so. After a few weeks, you will feel fine in a tracksuit.

 

5. Expect interruptions - children, TVs, music, the doorbell etc. Don't apologise if you are interrupted during a telephone or video call. It is your home, and your family are not on the payroll.

 

6. Keep meetings to a minimum. We have Skype, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams etc. Just because technology allows virtual meetings - it does not mean those meetings are not still a real waste of time, if you have to have meetings impose a strict 20-minute maximum time limit.

 

7. Take regular breaks, at least 10 minutes every hour. This is enough time to get up walk around, make a coffee, drink some water etc.

 

8. Get outside - if possible, take a proper break during the day to walk or ride a bike for 1-2 hours. Try not to think about work when out - your brain will problem-solve in the background.

 

9. Finish on time - do not use your commuting time as work time. Your previous commuting time is now yours to keep.

 

10. Do not work late, or work outside your usual hours - the next workday is there for a reason. Working long hours at home is just not sustainable. If you work a 12-hour day, the next day will be a 4-hour day.

 

10+1. We leave the most important tip until last - turn off your work devices outside work hours. Working outside your hours is frowned upon in some countries, Germany, for example. Germany has much higher productivity than the UK - this is not a coincidence.

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