Being paid to work from your sofa might sound like the dream, but if you’re not careful it could turn into a nightmare of lost productivity and zero motivation. This is how to boss WFH.
Working from home may not be a new concept to some, but for plenty of us during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the new normal and something that is going to take some getting used to. The problem areas are productivity and motivation. Who can blame you for wanting to stay in your pyjamas or having Netflix on in the background? No one. But that doesn’t make it the smart option. Far from wishing to crack the whip and have you slaving over your laptop in the home office, these tips are, instead, smart options to make sure work gets done quickly and well, freeing up more time for another super-set of watching Great British Menu and deciding which frozen pizza to eat next. There’s got to be some perks to this after all.
Maintain Your Routine
Get up at the same time you would as if you were going to work. The time you may have taken to commute to the office could now be utilised to complete a morning workout, make a more nutritious (and delicious) breakfast, or listen to that podcast you’ve been meaning to catch up on. Avoid work creep: the temptation is to start looking at emails and acting on them early, but this will slow you down in the long run. The longer hours you work, the more productivity actually falls. Work your allotted hours and make them count. Shower and get dressed in normal clothes rather than staying in your pyjamas (as tempting as that is) because this will help to put you into the proper mindset for work. Although we’ll forgive you if you forget the tie.
Create A Proper Work Space
Set up an area that can be used as your ‘home office’. Anywhere that isn’t your bed is a great start (your back will thank you), but if you have the luxury of a desk or a dining table then this should be your obvious choice. Make this area solely for work, with notepads and stationery to hand for when you need them. If you’re sharing the space with family, then try to find some quiet away from everything to avoid distraction. And if you can stack some books to rest your laptop on and create a standing desk, then all the better.
Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean regular breaks are any less important. Some may feel pressured to be ‘on’ all the time but the reality is you’ll end up being more productive if you have a few minutes away from your laptop. Take your time to make a cup of tea, go outside for fresh air (keeping 2m apart, of course!) and if you can, take a real lunch break in the middle of the day. Research found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer ones. We recommend the Pomodoro Technique, a method that breaks your working day into 25-minute chunks of graft, which are then rewarded with a 5-minute break.
With only one outdoor exercise session a day to enjoy, getting your 10,000 steps in is harder than ever. So unless you are running a 10km every day, you need to get creative with your exercise. Fear not, the fitness world has answered the call and provided an almost never-ending live stream of classes to your phone for you to enjoy at home. Here are our top tips for getting the most from home workouts:
1/ First things first, plan your workouts like you did before lockdown, find your favourite trainers on Instagram, pick the workouts you want to do and the times you want to workout, then set aside time to get set up and ready to take on the class.
2/ Be sure to warm up first, just because you aren’t in the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t get injured.
3/ Make sure you perform moves correctly and the trainers you follow are programming with care. It’s not easy to see a physio at the moment, so ease off when you think you should.
Finally, be sure to check out the Third Space Instagram account for daily live workouts, and for members, the workouts section of the Third Space App is your one-stop-shop for workout inspiration.
Get in the habit of checking in regularly with your team. What was once quickly dealt with by a team discussion IRL can become bogged down by email chains. It’s also difficult to lead effectively and decision-making over email becomes a quagmire of answers by committee. The answer is simple: get comfortable seeing yourself on screen and talking over video conference. A daily round-table on Slack, Microsoft Teams or Zoom will quickly establish the day’s work and get you moving forward. It also works just as well as a virtual trip to the pub after work on a Friday. Get in a couple of beers or a bottle of wine and log-in to chat with a friend come 6 o’clock. Maintaining a social life is hard right now but no less important.
Make A To-Do List
Finally, end every day by making a to-do list. Without constant feedback from colleagues it can be overwhelming knowing which tasks you need to prioritise. Equally, that work creep we mentioned can stop you from ever truly being able to switch off and enjoy your time at home. You might be bringing work home, but you don’t want home to become work. And so, by writing down a list of jobs you need to do tomorrow at the end of every day you can compartmentalise it mentally, which has been proven to reduce stress and help you sleep. You’ve then got a ready-made to-do list the next morning to start ticking off and power-up your motivation.