Working From Home Tips : Nancy Georges
So many people now having to work from home. But that’s not as easy or productive as that sounds!!
I have worked from home on and off for the last 11 years and wanted to share my tips. Please watch / listen this video or read below for more:
I’ve worked from home on and off for over 12 years now and have some tips to share.
Main points with more detail below:
- Business as usual
- Create your space
- Invest in yummy coffee & tea
- Get dressed & do your hair
- Connect with work mates daily
- Ask others for their tips
- Don’t get distracted
- Turn your phone onto silent, you control comms!
- Set new targets
Business As Usual
You have the same work to do, the only difference is the location. Stay focused on that.
A lot of what you do is the same and there are a few little adjustments you need to make. Keep the focus on the work and delivering it and try to get ‘comfortable’ with the messy bits!
Have the same breaks you have in the office, schedule them for the same time every day and take them!
Try and stick to the same working hours as you do in the office. You could start and finish your working day from the time you would normally leave and return, ie. including your commute time, to compensate for the additional things working from home needs but try to have breaks and not burn out.
Create your space
Set up your desk / work space as in the office; phone charger, box of tissues, screen / laptop, keyboard, mouse, pen pot, magazine holder with documents and workbooks whatever it is, set up your space so you have all you need to keep working.
If you have a room to work in that is easier to set up and minimise disruption.
If you are working from the dining table, kitchen bench or in the main living area, set up a corner where preferably you won’t need to set up and pack down daily which may be disruptive.
Regardless, invest in a small cabinet that you can set up by your side that holds docs and tools that you can access easily and quickly or utilise a cupboard nearby. Ikea has some great options!
More importantly, make sure your chair is comfortable! If you need to invest in a good desk chair, do so! You can do long term damage to your body sitting in an uncomfortable chair. Ikea and Temple & Webster are my go to here too!
I even bought a new mug that was my Work from Home mug, I do love mugs so this matters to me. Maybe you want a nice pen or mouse, whatever that thing is, treat yourself! It doesn’t need to be new, visit your favourite charity shop and find something uniquely special to you!
As much as you can, don’t work on the couch. This is not comfortable long term and also doesn’t signal to your brain that you are in work mode.
Invest in yummy coffee & tea
Working from home is disruptive enough without not having your favourite hot brew break and quality you get in a cafe.
There are so many great coffee makers from plungers to full blown coffee machines available now as well as at home coffee beans and artisan teas that will give you a delicious hit when you need it. My go to is Caffe Bianchi in Leichhardt, Sydney, their online store has all their goodies (yes tea too) and they ship around Australia: Caffe Bianchi online store here.
Invest in some yummy treats that you would normally have in the office. The key is not feeling deprived too much.
In the same way as you take a break in the office and walk to the cafe, take a proper break at home, to either make your drink or walk up and get it from a local cafe. Get up off your desk; have a stretch, read a magazine, call a friend, walk the dog, play with the cat, whatever it is for you.
Get dressed & do your hair
This is so so so important. You feel how you look!
Don’t wear weekend / at home clothes. Even if you don’t have a video call, dress a little more work than casual.
Brush your hair and your teeth to let your body & brain know you are awake and ready to go.
Signals are important; if you wear jewellery, your watch etc then put them on. Don’t wear flip flops or walk barefoot at home when working if you don’t do this at work!
Grooming also helps lift our spirit and pride in ourselves. We need this more than ever when working at home!
Connect with work mates
Verbal connection with our colleagues and work mates in place of physical is important too. Seeing someone and talking to someone online through video is the next best thing to being in the same physical place.
People will not tell you they are feeling isolated and you may not recognise the cause of your own ‘sadness’, lack of energy, malaise as being physically isolated but it is a big reason people don’t like to work from home and feel down.
Work video calls are one way to be connected, if feasible, do this daily so you can touch base and be productive as well as for your own human need.
In place of physically having lunch with a work mate, organise a video lunch call with one or a few colleagues and chat about your lives not just work.
Ask others for their tips
So many people, myself included, have been working from home either fully or periodically for many many years, so they will have lots of great information and advice. I see so many people who fear being seen as ignorant or silly by asking a question, which is simply not the case.
Google your questions, post in your socials, listen to podcasts, read articles and watch videos. You will learn and discover so much!
Remember what works for someone else might not work for you. With information though, you will be better equiped to tailor something for yourself.
Don’t get distracted
This is the hardest of all!
Whether it is kids, animals, partners, flatmates, the phone, emails, TV, neighbours, housework, distractions are a plenty when working from home and no one but you can keep you accountable!
Be firm and disciplined. This is the only way you can get passed distractions.
Distractions are productivity’s worst enemy! Your thought process and focus takes more time to reset with every interruption. If you stop, it will take you longer to get in the same place when you get back to it.
Set a routine that you follow daily so as to ensure work gets done and you work with little or no distractions. If you do have interruptions, don’t let them distract you from your work.
- Tell everyone at home when you are not to be interrupted! If you are working in a separate room, put a sign on the door.
- If you do get interrupted, don’t react to it and stop what you are doing, schedule it for later action
- Make your list of important things to address and do that day / week, if the distraction isn’t on the list, add it and don’t do it then
- Don’t answer the phone or emails immediately (see below)
- Enlist a baby or pet sitter as needed – you aren’t able to do everything all the time!
- Don’t do housework during the work day – if emptying the dishwasher or hanging washing is needed, do it in a break – otherwise you will be up and down all day!
- Be firm, with yourself and others
Turn your phone onto silent, you control comms!
This is such an important productivity tip that while it does get covered under ‘distractions’ above it really needs it’s own point.
In the same way you cover certain topics / issue with colleagues in preset meetings, you can answer calls and emails in a time that is good for you and your productivity.
Working from home increases the calls and emails but you need to maintain output.
Let colleagues know when you will be returning non urgent / time sensitive calls in advance. Update your voicemail if possible.
Update your email response to include response time, ‘Thank you for your email, I will be back to you in the next 24 hours’.
Set aside a time in your daily routine for returning calls and replying to emails and stick to it! Once people realise you will be replying to them then won’t keep bugging you.
Set new targets
Let’s be real, things will not happen quickly or as they did before Covid.
So set new targets that are realistic to the new reality, time frames and hurdles which are here to stay for the near future.
With everything you do, try and replicate your in office activity at home as much as you can; in your physical space, on video or phone!
Here’s to the new normal!