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Like so many people around Australia, at Beechwood Homes many of our office-based staff have shifted to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what we’ve learnt from our own team and from our customers about working from home.
1. Set up a separate area
Our number one tip for working from home is to set up a separate work area if you’re able to. Ideally, this would be a separate room in your home with a door so you can shut out the noise of your household but setting up a study nook could work equally well.
For those starting a home business or shifting permanently to working from home, you might consider building a workspace away from the main house. A Granny Flat could be a fantastic way to create that separate space, while also being multi-purpose in the long run, with the opportunity to rent the space out or house relatives down the track.
2. Establish a routine and stick with it
One of the greatest, and yet also one of the trickiest, parts about working from home is the potential for flexibility. If, for example, you find yourself having to supervise your children’s home schooling, you might segment your day to fit in with those commitments and work in time blocks rather than a typical 9am to 5pm work day. However, if you don’t establish a routine and stick with it, that flexibility could quickly turn into chaos.
Make sure to create a schedule that works for your household and make your colleagues and family aware of it. If you’re lucky enough to have a separate workspace either within the house or in a granny flat, you could even have a sign on the door to indicate whether your office is ‘open’ or ‘closed’.
3. Get organised
Staying organised is one of the most difficult aspects of working from home, because the structure, storage and systems of a typical workplace are usually missing.
To stay on-track with your work without getting overwhelmed, organisation will be key. Get organised by creating specific filing systems, schedules, and task lists that help you feel in control. Depending on your occupation, you may also want to create a specific storage area for your work, especially paperwork that can easily get lost among household correspondence.
4. Dress the part
Although working from home allows you to dress in more comfortable clothing than you may in an office, you may want to create a pseudo uniform or put limits on what you can wear during your work hours.
Sitting around in your pyjamas all day might make you more comfortable, but you probably won’t feel like a professional worker and could make it harder for you to switch off from work at the end of the day. You’ll also look pretty silly when you participate in video calls.
5. Switch off at the end of the working day
Maintaining that work-life balance can be hard when your work is always right there staring you in the face. It’s important, however, not to get into the habit of working all day and night and having no leisure time. Train yourself to switch off your computer and other devices when you finish your day and don’t constantly check emails or other messages.
This is easier to do if you have a separate work area. The act of physically leaving a work-specific room or area and shutting the door behind you can help you mentally break away from the daily grind as well.
6. Take regular breaks
When making your schedule consider working in smaller spurts and allowing yourself time to get up from the computer to stretch. Without co-workers around, you may forget to take time away from your desk but doing so will help you to re-set both physically and mentally, improving your efficiency.
7. Exercise and stretch
When you do take breaks make sure you stretch and exercise, even if it’s just walking around your house, or visiting the kitchen. If you live in a double-storey house, make use of your stairs to do an impromptu workout.
Exercise stimulates your body and brain and will make you more alert and energised, which means you’ll be ready to dive back into work after your break.
8. Use technology
Since the majority of your work will likely be done on your computer, you will need to be computer savvy. Ensure that you have remote access to your company server and logins for programs you routinely use. Your employer may be able to loan you some equipment to use at home and provide assistance in setting it up.
9. Stay connected
Make sure that you’re readily available via email, phone, text, instant message, or conference call. When in doubt, over-communicate until told otherwise. Be vocal about your activities and achievements while away from the office.
10. Learn how to deal with distractions
Pets, TV, and family members are just a few distractions you’ll encounter when working at home. Having a separate office space can help minimise distractions, but ultimately it is up to you to stay focused.
Want to know more about Beechwood Homes?
With many years’ experience in building homes in NSW, Beechwood can work with you to design your new home around how you want to use it, including home office space, or even a granny flat for a permanent home office. Contact us today to start your Beechwood Homes journey.