The 9-5 grind of commuting to and from an office is becoming an increasingly 20th century-sounding concept. These days, more of us work remotely than ever, and that is particularly the case among the self employed.
The idea of spending the day working from the sofa in your dressing gown might sound like paradise, but the reality can be very different. With a growing number of people finding themselves working from home over recent weeks, here are some tips on how to get the best out of your working day.
Go to work
Dragging yourself out of bed and straight into an armchair with your laptop (or worse still staying in bed with the laptop) will not get you into productive work mode. Use the time you might ordinarily spend “going to work” to transition your mindset. Take a shower, get dressed, make yourself a coffee and head for your dedicated work space. It doesn’t have to be at an office desk, but should be different to your “home space,” so avoid sitting on the sofa in front of the TV as you might in the evening.
Contrary to what you might think, home is often less distracting than a working office. Family members tend to stay out of your way, and as a result, there’s nobody stopping by your desk to chat about last night’s TV or a forthcoming football match. This can be something of a two edged sword. On the face of it, it’s great for productivity, but your brain needs to take a break regularly or you won’t be working at your best. Schedule times to stretch your legs, take a walk around the garden, even log on to Comeon! to play an online game or two. Whatever it takes to completely switch off from work for 15 minutes.
That includes lunch
When working from home, it is easy to find yourself existing on a constant diet of snacks and leftovers, just because they are there. Take at least a 30 minute lunch break and have something substantial. That way, the cookies and potato chips will lose some of that irresistible allure.
It’s easy to become isolated in all the wrong ways when working remotely. Schedule regular calls using your video conferencing app of choice, for example Skype, Slack or Zoom. As well as keeping you in contact with other humans, it’s another incentive to make sure you get out of those pajamas!
Finish as you started
It’s as important to conclude your day properly as it is to start it. Sure, we all have to work late sometimes, but try to finish at a reasonable hour, and when you do so, mark the end of the working day as you marked its beginning. Shut the laptop, change into comfy clothes and maybe even pour yourself a little drink. Family and TV time awaits, so if anyone emails, they will have to wait till the morning.