It's safe to say, we're all going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. As someone who frequently worked from home before the Coronavirus crisis I know firsthand it can be difficult to switch from working in the office to working from home. The lines between work and home life can start to blur, but there are several ways you can ensure you demarcate these lines and ensure you have a good work/life balance.
1. Optimise your home office setup
As hard as it is to resist the temptation to sit in front of the TV and do your work from the sofa, you must if you want to get anything done. Believe me, the most effective way to work from home is to ensure you have a space you can designate as your "workspace". A home office can be anywhere in your house - in a spare room, in the garage, in the shed, even a desk in your bedroom. My home office is in our spare bedroom, it's out of the way and ensures I can concentrate and work efficiently.
Now, you don't have to go monitor mad like me (I find 3 monitors helps me work more effectively), a desk and a computer is all you need. However, you may be surprised to know that my set up above cost less than £300 (excluding the Macbook). You can pick up some fairly cheap monitors from the likes of eBay, Amazon, ebuyer etc.
2. Stick to a routine
A lot of working from home is just about ensuring the correct mindset. You may be tempted to peel yourself out of bed at 8.55am, not shower, chuck on a hoodie ready to start work at 9am. Try and avoid this if you can. As I mentioned in a previous blog, both myself and my wife are now working from home with no childcare options, so we've created a rota that we stick to rigidly taking shifts to work and look after our daughter. For example, we will both get up at a reasonable time, both get showered and ready for the day and where one of us begins work at 9am the other will be preventing our daughter from breaking the printer by shoving 3 pound coins in there (genuinely happened yesterday). We then rotate every few hours, taking time out to have lunch and dinner as a family.
If you have kids, I highly advise using a rota, it prevents so many arguments and helps you work efficiently. You'll probably find you're working less hours but getting a lot more done.
3. Take breaks
It's easy to start to worry that you're not putting the same amount of hours into work as you would normally in the office, which leads to you trying to overwork at home. A lot of the time this is a really ineffective way to work. Remember, there are probably less distractions at home than there are in the office. If you feel like your mind is starting to wander, you're tired or procrastinating feel free to take a break - go for a run, watch TV, walk the dogs. Taking a break for 15-20 mins allows you to switch off and re-focus when you get back to working.
4. Get dressed for work
This one is a bit out of the box, but it definitely helps. I've talked about mindset a lot in this blog, being able to demarcate your mindset from work life to home life is really hard when you're constantly at home. One way to do it is to dress in the clothes you would wear for work - hear me out. By getting up, getting showered and dressing as you would normally for work, you are ensuring continuity with your previous work life. This will help put you in the mindset for work and not home. When you're finished with work, by all means shove on that hoodie and get comfy.
This one is just something I (and many others) like to do to keep focused. Exercise has a tonne of benefits for both you body and mind, it helps to keep you focused and drastically improves your mood. With everything that's going on right now it's very easy to feel a bit down and feel "trapped" in your own home. By getting up and out early for a run, a walk, a workout in the garden etc. really does help to set you up for a positive day.