Top tips for working from home
In light of the current situation, many of us in the creative industries are working from home at the moment. While it might be tempting to stay in our pyjamas all day and replace our daily commute with a lie-in, successfully adapting to our new work environments takes a bit more adjusting to. We’ve got a list of top ten tips to boost your productivity while maintaining your well-being:
- Set up a morning routine
Having a morning routine is useful for getting focused and ready to work. It doesn’t have to be complicated and could be as simple as making a cup of tea, lighting a candle at your desk or even going on a walk. Returning to your home after getting some exercise in the morning can also help you feel like you’re “arriving at the office” for the working day. This helps to signal to ourselves that it’s time to get focused.
- Get dressed
Getting dressed in the morning can offer a real boost to productivity levels. This doesn’t mean having to wear something smart. Changing into an outfit you feel comfortable wearing and attending video conferences in can increase your confidence and focus. This also helps to differentiate the time between when you’re working and resting, allowing you to prepare and switch off from the day when you need to.
- Organise your workspace
Setting up a dedicated work space in your home can also help you differentiate your work hours from your free time. This workspace could be one you use every day or change throughout the week, just make sure to keep this space free of distractions and organised.
If you usually work in a busier environment and the quiet of your new workspace is unnerving, try playing some ambient soundtracks in the background. Whether it’s a bustling café or rain, moderate levels of noise can help to inspire creativity. Classical music is also fantastic for getting us to focus.
- Check your tech
Lots of us are using our personal laptops and computers while working from home. Removing bookmarks, signing out of social media and using productivity extensions are helpful ways for staying focused. Setting up another user solely for your work practices is also great to avoid getting distracted and maintain your work-life balance.
We also recommend making sure you have the right equipment for video conferences. Downloading software such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom rather than using their web versions often offers a smoother experience. Headphones are also useful to make sure you can be heard clearly. If you’re struggling with slow Wi-Fi, check out these tips to boost your broadband speed.
- Manage notifications
With our phones and email as our main sources of communication, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you’re always on call and constantly receiving lots of messages. Let your manager and colleagues know what you’re working on and try muting your notifications for an hour if you’re struggling to complete a task. Take this time to check out and focus only on the task at hand. When you feel calmer and on top of your to-do list, you can have a look at your phone and emails again.
- Stay connected with colleagues
It’s likely you’re working from home alone which can feel isolating compared to usually being in an office full of your colleagues. Communicating with our colleagues over a video call or on the phone is a great way to remain connected and work together. Try setting up a group video call with a couple of team mates when next completing a task. It doesn’t matter if you’re working in silence or on different projects, it can be nice to know that they’re just there.
- Prioritise your tasks
Organising your time is an effective way to manage pressure and help you feel in control. Make a list of things you have to do and arrange them in order of importance. You can also ask your manager or colleagues to help you prioritise. You might find you have more time for tasks than you initially realised.
Try avoiding doing too much at once. Multi-tasking might make it harder to complete a task effectively as well as efficiently. Being realistic about the amount you can achieve in a day will leave you feeling satisfied rather than overwhelmed.
- Take breaks
Frequent breaks aren’t detrimental to your workflow but a great motivator. Being kind to yourself and taking a breather can help you control the amount of pressure you feel overall. The Pomodoro technique is a popular technique to make sure you’re getting regular breaks every 20 minutes while maintaining concentration.
Stretching frequently is also great for the body if you’re sitting down all day. Also make sure you always have a dedicated lunch break. Leaving your workspace completely behind for an hour can make you feel more refreshed for the afternoon.
- Clock out when you need to
At the end of the working day, it’s easy to look at the time and think ‘just one more email’ or ‘ten more minutes’. However, constantly over-working yourself can lead to burn-out and begin to blur the lines between home and work. When the time comes to stop working, turn off your work-related notifications and shut down your laptop. It’s also helpful to tidy away papers and other items, getting your workspace ready for the next day.
- Schedule screen-free time
After working, it’s also useful to get time away from the screen to refresh you and give your eyes a break. There might be things you get to do in your free time that might usually have been taken up by a commute. Hobbies like baking, painting or going for a run get you away from a screen and help you to de-stress. Think about activities you don’t usually get to do during a working day and how you can pursue them.