Working from home will sound fantastic to some. As workplaces around Australia and the world have suddenly closed their offices, people are abruptly finding out what the life of a freelancer is like. Not only that, but schools have done the same. For the first time this generation, everyone is at home fighting for prime real estate when it comes to ‘office space’.
How to work from home
I’ve put together 7 tips to successfully work from home during Covid-19, that I’ve learnt the hard way.
1. Create a designated working space
You need a space that’s free of clutter, near a window, has good natural light and inspires creativity and efficiency. Something like this.
Ok, this may be going a bit too far. But, the less clutter the less distractions. A window can offer good lighting, ventilation and is a good place to rest your eyes from staring at a computer screen. So if this ends up being in your bedroom, kitchen or living room, then set up your office where it’s best for you.
2. Get ergonomic furniture
Unfortunately, I’m not really practising what I’m preaching here, as I type on the outdoor furniture setting we brought indoors. I do have an office in a converted bedroom, but my son and I have started working on the same table.
A couple of years ago when I first started freelance writing, the constant sitting resulted in major back pain. Our bodies aren’t made for sitting long periods.
They also aren’t made for hunching over a laptop. Get an ergonomic office chair, that adjusts to your height. Place books under your laptop so it’s at eye height and connect a keyboard to type on. Also use a mouse. A small outlay now will save you hundreds of dollars spent at the chiro.
3. Stand up
It’s very easy to forget to stand up and walk around. Try to think of opportunities to stand while working, for example, when talking on the phone. Start the day with some form of exercise and make sure you get outside and go for a walk.
4. Get organised
It’s very tempting to leave everything in the box that you bought home from the office, but let’s face it, we could be living like this till October. Get organised.
Buy some shelves and if you can, a desk with draws. Unsubscribe from the emails you receive that you don’t need. Scan the receipts and important paperwork and organise them in a folder online. Get a rubbish bin and empty it!
You’ll also find time moves differently, so get a diary and write a to do list that you tick off. At the end of the day, you may feel like you’ve accomplished nothing until you look back at your colossal list.
Just like at work, personalise your little home office to make it your area with a couple of photos or knicknacks.
5. Reduce distractions
If kids are at home with you, you’ll find your work productivity will decrease. You’ll discover they will fall into a schedule and you may have to work around that, even if that means after they go to sleep.
Try to have set times for productivity that they adhere to, maybe use the alarm on the oven so they know when 30 minutes have passed.
Maybe a note on the door, or work when they’re playing Reading Eggs or watching BTN. It’s hard, but you have to find something that works for you.
6. Don’t let the personal hygiene lapse
Get dressed, brush your teeth, have breakfast and get ready for the day. It’s very tempting to work from home in your pyjamas and Ugg boots, but it’s best not to.
Have a clear boundary between work and home life. Otherwise, your work becomes your home life.
7. Don’t let yourself feel isolated
With a family working around you, you may feel like this doesn’t apply to you. But the little chit chat you had at the office, the cake for birthdays, the grumbling about the photocopier braking won’t be happening at home. Have regular Zoom meetings. Phone instead of emailing. Try to talk to people when you can, otherwise, you’ll lose that connection.
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