We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: working from home is an art! If it’s the first time you’re trying it, and you’re finding it hard, trust us, that’s normal. For most people, it takes a few weeks, even months, to get to a point where they can say “I’m a working from home pro”. And by home, we also mean cafés, libraries, communal workspaces, and remote working in general. The good news is that it’s something you can learn. So below are some tips we’d like to offer you to fast track that learning. Some you may already be doing, others will require you to be just a little more disciplined!
Nail that To Do List
It should go without saying: you need to maintain a to do list properly. Amanda, one of our very own virtual assistants, who has been working with us for 6 years, says it helps her not to get side-tracked and recommends marking, “urgent tasks and then not so urgent tasks”. On that note there are literally hundreds of To Do list apps out there, but our tip is to keep it simple – just make sure it’s clear and prioritised each day.
Keep work and home life separate
It’s a common challenge for people who have only just started working from home, but it is so important to draw a clear line between your work life and your non-working home life. Our VA, Jo, says, “put your laptop away when you have finished for the day, like you would in an office…it will still be there the next day!”.
Plan your day and stick to your schedule
Planning ahead and being disciplined about the tasks you’re doing is essential. For those of you that tend to get stuck on one thing, or get distracted easily, allotting set times to different tasks allows you to progress more effectively, gives you a much greater sense of achievement once the day is over. Another PA Business Support VA, Gemma, offers this: “Even though it can be tempting to reply to emails when they pop up in the evening, you need to switch off from work”. Good advice, Gemma!
Stay in the conversation
Those of you who have become used to working in a physical office will probably experience feeling disconnected from colleagues. You may miss those ‘by the water cooler moments’ and perhaps long for the office banter. Our tip for filling the gap is to stay active in the work chat groups whether that’s Slack, Workplace, MS Teams, Skype, or whatever – this will keep you on the radar and feeling like you’re part of a team.
Set up your designated workspace
The area where you work should be conducive to working efficiently and healthily. Get your sitting position right, make sure the monitor is at the right height (if using a laptop we recommend buying/using an external monitor adjusted so that the top third is level with your eyes) and clear away all the surrounding clutter, including tucking or tying cables out of the way.
Don’t sit down all day
Make sure to give your body a break from sitting. We are big fans of a standing desk – not only does it reputedly have health benefits (including burning more calories), but we find it’s a great way to feel more energised. If you don’t have one, or don’t have the space, there’s a lot of adjustable options out there for converting your current desk into one.
Know when to take a break
Believe us when we say it, knowing when to step away from your desk is key to keeping stress levels low. We recommend adopting the Pomodoro technique (so do the NHS) to take 5 minutes every 25 minutes as a time management method that will keep you focused and productive, while preventing you from feeling run down at the end of each day.
So there you have it – our best tips for improving how you work from home! Follow these and you should start to be more productive, and feel a reduction in stress levels. And if you’re interested in joining us as a Virtual Assistant, click here for more info.