Working from Home

BY NICK DEEKS

I have always been more inclined to work from the office than work remotely, even at the weekend I preferred to pop into the office. Just something about being in the work environment changed my mindset and got me in the right frame of mind. Home always offered too many distractions. Even the things you didn’t want to do and the small jobs you’ve been putting off suddenly became interesting and pressing. Now I have adapted my work habits, something that I think you all will be doing, to a greater or lesser degree, successfully. I want to share with you my 7 tips for how to transition from an office to a remote working situation.

1. GET DRESSED

It might seem like a simple tip, but it’s a crucial one. It’s tempting to stay in pyjamas all day, but any day you give in to this temptation will be much slower to start and less productive overall. You don’t need to dress as formally as you might for work, but the simple act of changing clothes serves as a signal that it’s time to wake up and get things done.

2. DESIGNATE A WORKSPACE

One of the big challenges when it comes to working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate. If you never fully disconnect from work, your work productivity will suffer, and your home life can take a hit as well. Your workspace doesn’t have to be its own room—but if possible, try and separate it from the rest of your home. Try to make your workspace comfortable, find an area with good natural lighting, and open the doors and windows to have natural ventilation blowing through.

3. DEFINE WORKING HOURS

Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. You’ll get your best work done if you stick with a scheduled set of hours, even if they are not your normal working hours. Those with children will have a different experience and flexibility will take a different tone. Remember to also set timers for breaks. It’s important for your health and well-being to stand up, walk around, stretch, drink plenty of water and eat.

4. BUILD TRANSITIONS INTO (AND OUT OF) WORK

Your morning commute not only gets you to work but it also gives your brain time to prepare for work. Maybe you usually read or listen to music on your commute – carve out equivalent routines to help you ease into your workday at home. At the end of the day, the evening commute does the reverse, helping you to wind down from a hectic workday and mentally prepare yourself for your evening routine. Take 20 mins at the end of the day to walk around the block, quieten the mind and get yourself ready for family and evening time.

5. DON’T GET TOO SUCKED IN BY THE NEWS – THIS IS A TRICKY ONE!

Distraction is one of the big challenges we face when working from home—especially for people who aren’t used to it. The constant updates can be very distracting. Whilst it’s important to know what’s going on, be aware that governments (state and federal) make their announcements first thing in the morning and then (perhaps) in the early evening. During the day it’s pretty much white noise. Don’t let it distract you.

6. KEEP COMMUNICATING

Most of us rarely work from home, so chances are there will be some bumps in the road. The key to steering through these bumps is communication, especially with your team and director. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the same people you would usually turn to for help—even though you are now not in the same building. Schedule a morning video call kick-off with your team to make space for small talk at the beginning of the day or carve out time for other check-ins throughout the day. Also, don’t default to email if you would have spoken to a colleague face-to-face at the office. Facetime them, call them up on Teams or even just phone. This will minimise the isolation that you may feel.

7. HAVE SOME “YOU” TIME

Ask for help when you need help. As the world comes to terms with this situation, it’s more important than ever that we stay calm, stay healthy, reach out, connect, and take care of one another.