Recently, many people are finding themselves working at home for the first time. While some of us are used to working from home, others are finding it challenging, especially if you also have your children and the rest of your family around.
At Mission Talent, we have more than ten years of experience working from our home offices. Reflecting on our first-hand experience, we offer tips that could help you to adapt to working from home — without compromising your productivity and health.
Set up your workspace
- Like every great chef who prepares their kitchen to cook, you need a fresh clean space just for work. Having a designated workspace allows you to enter into work mode once you sit there, and “leave” work at the end of the day.
- If you don’t have a separate home office, you could use your kitchen table. Prepare and clean the table before you start working, and when it is time to eat, close your computer and hide it away, so you maintain small boundaries between activities.
- Just because you are working at home, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a comfortable chair, a proper mouse and keyboard, and good headphones. You will be spending a lot of time with these tools, invest in the right ones.
- Make sure you have the programmes and tools you need to start working from home, like Slack or Zoom, along with other project management tools. But just because you have online workspaces, it doesn’t mean they run themselves, we suggest setting some ground rules and designating someone to keep them organized.
Set a daily routine
- It may be tempting to work in your PJs, but don’t underestimate the power of changing clothes — it helps your brain establish clear boundaries and stimulus to get into a “work-mode” and differentiate from your home routine. You might not need to be as dressed up as you would be for the office but dress in a way that demonstrates respect to yourself and your colleagues.
- Set your work schedule, the specific time you’re going to start and finish. Be clear with your working hours and respect your schedule. When working from home it can be too easy to fall into the trap of over-working.
- Add your availability and working hours into your calendar, so it is clear for your colleagues as well. Announce when you are online, say “good morning” or “good night” to let your team know when you are switching off.
- Know what time of day works for you to do what and play to your strengths. If you like to have quiet time in the morning to work, and take your calls in the afternoon or vice-versa, try to get into a routine.
Mind your well-being
- Moving is important, mentally and physically. Put regular workout times in your calendar, even if it’s a home workout. Small workouts matter too — do some yoga at home or jump 5 times, go for a walk, or take a dance break.
- Take proper breaks. Get up from your chair and walk, have coffee or tea, or lunch. Don’t fall into the trap of eating in front of your computer.
- Get outside every day. It can be a good way to help yourself transition from working to your own time.
- Try to maintain your regular eating habits to avoid the sluggish feeling of your metabolism having to adjust to new diet patterns.
Practice healthy communication
- Have conversations with your colleagues. If you are used to working in an office with more people, you will soon miss the informal conversations and human contact. Pick a moment during early morning or at the end of the day to have a 30-minute check-in with your colleagues.
- If you struggle to concentrate on your tasks, you can connect with a colleague via Skype or Zoom and work together in silence. Working with someone else online will give you a higher sense of commitment and responsibility.
- Understand that written communication is different. Sometimes, the tone we put into a message we read is not the same as the one it was written in. If you are not sure, don’t assume — ask instead. You may not know what is going on on the other side of the screen.
- If you have a problem or a sensitive topic you need to talk about, choose a call instead of a chat. It will save you time and potential misunderstandings.
Be mindful of video-call etiquette
- If you have a conference call with your team, turn your camera on. Position the camera of your computer at your eye-level and look at the camera during an active conversation. Conversations run smoothly when we can include non-verbal communication cues.
- If you are interrupted by the doorbell, your children or your dog, the best option is to excuse yourself, turn off your video and sound for a moment and take care of what you need to do. You can also help out your colleagues if they need it — the “host” of a Zoom meeting can mute anyone.
- The people you are meeting with will appreciate it if you have a clean background behind you. It can be stressful to talk to someone who is sitting in front of a messy bookshelf, behind a bright light, or in front of an open door.
- Your computer should have a “Do Not Disturb” setting — you can enable this function when you are in an important call so that no automatic alerts can interrupt and distract you.
- Use headphones — the audio will be better and you will have less interference from external noise.
Feel free to reach out to us. We are here to support you.