For the majority of us, working from home has now become quite the norm. This new way of working certainly has a lot of perks – you miss the rush-hour traffic, you can save on child care fees and you can do your job from the comfort of your own home. And while some people have better discipline and can prioritise workload, others need a bit more support and guidance to find their groove.
At Spenda, we’ve been mastering the virtual office for almost a year now. And we understand that there is more to life than work. We also know that happy, well-balanced staff are more productive. So today, we’re sharing five tips to help you flourish in your home office.
1. Define and set up your work space
This is a very important and effective first step. Setting up a space in your house that is dedicated to your work helps to define your boundaries. Consider having a clean and clutter-free space and with an ergonomic set up. Be in a spot where you are comfortable and we also find that a few plants around your workspace always helps – especially ones that provide air-clearing and mood-boosting benefits, such as the Peace Lily and the Dracaena.
You also want to make sure that it’s private enough to allow you to step away from your household duties, focus, and where you can take uninterrupted conference calls.
2. Set your work hours
As hard as it may sound, give yourself the time to disconnect. Working from home can sometimes blur the lines on when your work day starts and ends. It’s too easy to just keep popping back to your computer to finish one last thing. Before you know it, this can turn into a regular habit.
See, work never ends because there is always something to do. So unless your manager pushes you to clock off (which is rare), the onus really is on you to draw the line in the sand and mark your work and play boundaries. Compare it to being in a physical office – your contracted work hours are one thing, but it’s up to you to set up and enforce your own boundaries on when you leave the office and what time after your ‘finish’ work you will stop taking calls or responding to emails. Rember, you are in control!
If your company permits, having a bit of flexibility in your work hours can also help to get you into the groove. What that means is you can plan your day around your work and personal priorities, especially if you need to drop and pick the kids up from school or have personal appointments to attend. The key is to not define your work by a 9-5 day because let’s face it, that is very restrictive. Instead, look at output over time and power through the hours you know you are the most productive.
It’s all about balance and a lot of employers these days are more ok with offering staff flexi hours, providing that work goals are still being met.
3. Change up your scenery
We get it, staring at the same four walls day-in day-out can sometimes get a bit boring. Try taking your laptop outside for a few hours, or switch things up and work from your local coffee shop. You’ll be surprised how a simple change in scenery works wonders for your concentration and creativity.
Another way to recharge if you are starting to feel a bit sluggish is to use your lunch hour to do a workout. More often than not, the endorphins will give you that little boost to power through the afternoon – plus that means you don’t have to use time before or after work to exercise.
Yes this might seem foreign but taking short breaks throughout the day helps to clear your head. Even if it’s just to go make a cup of coffee, cuddle your pet for five minutes or simply stretch your legs by taking a quick walk around the block.
In a physical office these short breaks would take the form of random water cooler chats, or talking a walk to the coffee shop. Just because you work at home, it doesn’t mean you are chained to your desk 24/7.
5. Be accountable for your work (or have a colleague support you)
Some of us are very disciplined. We can define our priorities and work well to achieve them on our own. While others need a bit more of a push. If you fall into the latter category, working from home can seem difficult.
Why not engage the help of a colleague or even your manager for that extra push. They can check in on you to make sure you are getting your work done in a timely manner. Being accountable or having an accountability partner helps to not only get your job done on time, but forces you to take breaks when needed and end your work day as planned.
When done right, working from home can work really well, it’s up to you to find a routine that works for you and that enables you to be productive and get your work done, and still allow for personal time.
To learn more about how we work and any new job opportunities, check out our careers page.