As more and more workplaces in Australia transition employees to work remotely during the Coronavirus social distancing measures, many are faced with an unusual new normal.
While seasoned remote workers will likely be accustomed to the home office lifestyle, others will find themselves in this position for the first time. Today, we share our top tips on working from home effectively and efficiently.
Set up a workspace that suits you
Many work from home guides will set strict guidelines in terms of what your work environment should look like, but we say do what works for you, and mix it up to test where you feel most motivated and productive. You might work well with structure, and respond best to a full home office set up, with a chair, desk and fixed schedule. Or, you might respond to a more relaxed working environment. While experts say set workspaces are your best chance at productivity, if you're a more creative person, or want to make the most of your time working remotely, do what feels right for you. Just remember to look after your posture, and do some daily stretching and exercise to stay healthy.
Define your work hours
Not only will having a set work day start and finish time help you be get going easier in the morning, it'll also help you establish a work life balance when you clock off at the end of the day. Having your work right there with you might be an unfamiliar feeling for many – and those with a lot on their plates may find themselves putting in extra hours and working later than usual to finish off their to-do list, simply because work has become so blended with their personal life.
Speak to your coworkers and employer to establish which ranges of work hours will work best for everyone. Then, stick to those hours, including your lunch break!
Set up systems
We're extremely lucky to have access to systems that make working from home easier than it's ever been. At Ecosa, our favourite tools include Slack and Trello for social interaction and collaboration among team members, and Zoom, Skype and FaceTime for video conferencing meetings across multiple time zones.
Use this Covid-19 downtime to establish new systems in your business that can facilitate more remote working opportunities in the future. Allowing employees to work from home when necessary may be a perk you can integrate into your organisation post-Coronavirus, to enhance productivity and develop respect for your employees' personal lives.
Get fresh air
... when it's safe to do so! Depending on where you are in the world during the Coronavirus outbreak, it may or may not be safe for you to go outside for some fresh air. But, if you can, try and take a short trip outside – even just to your garden or balcony – in the morning and the afternoon. If permitted, you may even want to take a walk to your local coffee shop while takeaway is still available. This change of scenery can prove helpful if you're feeling isolated or are struggling with staying productive while working at home.
Make time for social interaction
Whether by catching up with your coworkers online or calling a friend/family member on your lunch break, look after your mental health by having conversations to stimulate your mind. Working alone can be very lonely for some. Use social media mindfully, as it can be very distracting when you're trying to smash through your to-do list.
Set rules with family members and housemates
Families and house sharers may find themselves operating a little home office coworking space, which can be distracting if multiple people are making phone calls, video conferencing and vigorously typing! Set boundaries with your home and work together to make it a pleasant and accomodating space for everyone. Consider dedicating one room to phone calls, and use headphones to block out other sounds that you may find distracting.
Get a good night's sleep
When you're relieved of your commute time, it's easy to let your sleeping habits slip. Remember to get a good night's sleep and stick to a routine if you want to maximise your productivity while working at home.