With the recent government announcement that you should be now talking to your employer to “agree arrangements to return to your workplace”, many people will still have the option to work from home. If this is something that your employer agrees to and you prefer this option as opposed to being office based then you may be questioning how to efficiently organise your working day to ensure maximum output and minimum stress!
Here are a few suggestions that you may wish to consider.
Try to adhere to the same start and finish times each day. Not only will this give you the structure that you would have had in the office but it also allows you to switch off at the end of the day as no one enjoys working late into the evenings because they have been focusing on non work related tasks and allowing themselves to become distracted. If you apply the same rule for lunch and tea breaks, you will find you settle into a comfortable routine much quicker. It's all about learning when and how to switch on and switch off.
Aim to do household chores before and after work. Of course, if you want to load the washing machine during your lunch break and time is on your side, then go ahead but try not to be distracted by the beeping of the tumble dryer letting you know its finished its cycle or thoughts of vacuuming ‘just the bedroom’ whilst you are in your working time. If you are anything like me then once you start cleaning or tidying then it will be difficult to stop as one chore can so easily lead into another.
Having a tidy and clutter free working area will help prevent you feeling overwhelmed as research shows that our environment has a massive impact on how we feel emotionally and the less clutter that surrounds us, the better we feel about ourselves. A boundary that separates our working environment from our home environment is a fantastic idea. Not everyone has a designated home office but we can manage productivity working from anywhere in the home if we have that physical or imaginary boundary line in a room.
As the saying goes, never work with children or animals, yet so many of us have much loved dogs which are invaluable companions as we work from home, however they do need regular exercise, feeding and attention. A walk or run off the lead before your work begins is a good idea as it will (hopefully!) help to tire your dog out, allowing you to concentrate on your work.
It may be very tempting to wear your pajamas all day whilst working from home as it can feel tremendously comfortable and cosy and there's certainly nothing wrong with this every now and again. Nevertheless, you need to be able to maintain a professional mindset and how we feel about ourselves is often linked with our appearance so having a smart but casual working from home’ uniform or outfit would be of huge benefit in telling ourselves it's now time for work. Personally, I find that once my hair is tied up neatly, that is my signal for changing into professional mode. Of course, if you will be virtually visible to others throughout the day then it is imperative that you maintain a clean and smart impression.
Everyone is different, as are working environments and workloads so it may take some time to establish a routine but you will discover a method that ‘works’ for you!