This year has really been a doozy hasn’t it? One thing that’s become really prominent for most of the working population is Remote Working, whilst us small business owners might have been working from a home office for years the rest of the country hasn’t been and I’m sure the transition hasn’t been fun for all of you. Even for experienced remote workers it’s been a challenging time, maybe your partner is now working from home as well or maybe you had a business space that you’ve had to close temporarily and you’ve been relegated into the home office once again.
It can be a struggle logically and mentally so I’ve compiled a few hints and tips for you to hopefully make things easier for you.
Don’t feel guilty for taking sick days even if you’re working from home.
Many people seem to think that they can’t take sick days when working remotely because your computer is right there and it’s not as if you have to worry about sneezing on anyone. This kind of thinking is doing yourself a disservice though. It’s a simple fact, you won’t be doing your best work if you feel under the weather and you’re likely to end up increasing how long it takes you to get better because you aren’t resting properly.
Jazz up your workspace.
If you don’t enjoy working from home and find it hard to maintain productivity consider improving your workspace, I’m not saying you need to go all out with paint and new furniture but maybe a desk plant? Declutter the area, clean your keyboard and mouse for the tech version of fresh bed sheets. There’s a lot of little things you can do to make the workspace better for yourself and most of the time you won’t need to spend any money.
Boost your productivity.
Lean heavily into the best bits about working from home, gone is the quiet office or the noisy colleagues, whichever you had. Now you can spend your working day listening to whatever music takes your fancy, if that’s not for you consider a calming podcast or audiobook. Whatever will help you feel super chill and ready to work. Also there’s not likely to be someone looking at you during your working day so if you work best in short bursts, do it, if you find that late night is the best time for your brain juices then switch up your hours if possible. The best thing about remote working is that oftentimes, your bosses just want the work done by the deadline, if that happened because you gave yourself a lie in and worked later in the day then who cares?.
Take time for self care.
Working from home can really throw some peoples brains for a loop, you’re likely to struggle to motivate yourself or you’ll go hell for leather and work waaaay too much because the computer is there and you can’t help yourself. Remember to take time to look after yourself, don’t burn yourself out doing work you don’t need to be doing at midnight, just because you can. Try and set yourself working hours. If you’ve never worked from home before and you’re having to now because of the current pandemic it’s likely your brain is a hair’s breadth away from having a meltdown. Don’t forget to recognise that this is unprecedented and struggling to cope with it is something a lot of people are going through.
Make sure to check in regularly.
Check in with your boss and your colleagues, isolation might be something you’ve never had to deal with in your working career before so make sure that you try and keep connected to stave off loneliness. Another benefit to keeping in regular contact is reassurance that you’re doing enough work, that your work is good enough. Remote working really does seem to mess with people perceptions and a common one that crops up is quality of work, your brain will somehow convince you that everyone else is doing a much better job than you and you need to catch up, before you know it your work computer hasn’t been switched off in four days and you’ve drank all the coffee supplies in a three mile radius. Checking in with your colleagues and boss will help to avoid this, plus if you’ve been told that you’re on the right track you hopefully won’t have any back to the office anxiety.
Be firm with others that live with you.
I’m not going to lie this is a tricky one, you might find yourself working from home with people that now think you’re available for childcare, housework or DIY projects, you’ll need to be calm and fair when talking to them about your remote working and why you need to be allowed to do your work without distractions. Pop onto the internet and you’ll be able to find hundreds of stories about babies being handed to people during video meetings or teacher being interrupted during class for something menial, it can be really difficult to deal with but getting into a shouting match won’t help, you need to explain to the people that you live with that you wouldn’t be available like this on a regular workday and you aren’t available now.
Dress for work.
An unpopular piece of advice but your brain is a simple creature that enjoys routines, dress yourself for work and your brain is ready to work, dress for a movie marathon and your brain will struggle to engage with work. This won’t always apply to everyone but if you notice that you’re struggling to get yourself motivation this might help.