10 ways to improve working from home

For the forseeable future, most of us will be working from home day in day out without the release of a mini-getaway or splash of sun abroad. We’ve rapidly moved into work at home, live at home and please try not to leave your home, ok?

It’s a strange and slightly worrying time for us all, as what the fork is going to happen now eh? Read more here.

We’re all paranoid about whether our sore throat is actually underlying corona virus or if it’s just a cough because we’ve inhaled the dust that we’ve wiped off our desks at home, or ruined our voices from singing too loud in our dance break/indoor happy hour.

It’s a weird one, but working from home has its perks. Mainly endless supplies of tea, snacks and dogs to cuddle. Come to Mumma. Also, no 5:30am alarm! YAY.

Here’s my top ten tips for working from home:

Get dressed

Get in the shower and get dressed. Don’t go full out work attire, but do put on some clothes to feel the benefit of putting on pyjamas in the evening. Nothing fancy but even putting on some jewellery and leopard print leggings really elevates my day from lazy pyjama girl to ‘ooh I could go to the shops like this’. And that works for me.

Crank up the background noise

My home laptop super inconveniently gave up on me on Monday, so my background noise of a Friends episode I’d seen a million times has gone for now. Honestly why does the universe hate me? One of my friends suggested bad things happen to me in three sets of three as opposed to three. I mean I don’t even know what to say to that. In 2020 it feels true.

I find the distraction of the noise from the TV, a podcast or music really helpful to slightly switch off from what I’m doing. It helps me cut out the perfectionism and overthinking, to actually be more productive. Sometimes there can be quite mundane tasks or lengthy tasks that require a bit of moral support that a podcast and a great tune can provide.

Watch the clock

I realised this afternoon that I’d spent two and a half hours in the same position working since I came back from my lunch at 1pm. I hadn’t moved in two and a half hours, or noticed that I hadn’t moved. Tad worrying, but I was absorbed in the manual task I was doing.

Skype meetings

Since working from home I’ve had more skype meetings than I’ve had in a week before. Everyone is very keen to chat to each other about something that could be put in a brief email, so maybe adopt that approach too? It’s really nice to discuss work, flag any concerns or queries and have some social chatting alongside.

Dance breaks

Yes I’m mad, all the best people are, but this is SO effective. Our radio in the kitchen is left on for most of the day for when the dogs are by themselves (aka not sat on top of each other on my lap so I can’t reach my keyboard), and a great tune will often come on and I have a dance round the kitchen. It’s a normal occurrence in our household to break into a dance or song, take your pick. But it’s great to move, let off some energy and really feel the benefit of letting lose to a great song.

Hot desk your home

I mostly work in my Mum’s study as she has a lovely sofa bed that I perch on, but I’ve started my morning of work at the kitchen table. There’s so much light in our kitchen andI have a cuppa and my porridge (as I would at work too) with my laptop while working through my emails and beginning my tasks. After a few hours I make my way up to the study, but the hot desk approach of working at the kitchen table, then the study, really breaks up the day and the feeling of being stuck in one location or one room all day.

Don’t take work into the bedroom

Don’t take your laptop in, no emails, no nada. Don’t work from bed, it’ll ruin your work life balance. Trust me, I was an English student that attempted to write essays from bed (York is freezing). Never a good idea.

Take breaks

Get up regularly. Every half hour or so at work someone is making a cuppa or I have to go to the loo or a meeting on the other side of the building, so I’m clocking up my steps and wandering around away from my desk and laptop. That doesn’t happen at home. I actually reach the point where I’m thirsty again and have to go and make a drink after an hour and a half without one.

I remember a CEO talking on the news a few weeks ago about giving workers who didn’t smoke the equivalent time off of people that took 10 mins here and there throughout the day to go and smoke. It’s an interesting idea. Read more here.

Get outside

Go for a short walk around the block or to some green space if you have some, even just go out into the garden for a few minutes to get some fresh air, otherwise you’ll begin to feel all warm and lethargic like a lil baby in need of a nap.

Don’t do non-work things in work-time

We’ve all done it. On lunch we put on a wash, maybe just clean the kitchen a bit and watch an episode of something while cooking some pasta. But don’t then get distracted by all of your household chores or outside work to do list, as otherwise you fall down a rabbit hole and your lunch break will be spent, well, not on a break or lunch, so what’s the point?

Eat your pasta, chill and then sit in your filth and do your work. Worry about the mess after work eh?

Other suggestions I’ve been given, but yet to try:

  • Wearing shoes as though you’re still working as at home you don’t wear shoes (well I hope not anyway)
  • Shifting the work day to when you work best
  • Set clear working hours (I need to do this as I’m always working through lunch etc. then have ten minutes to eat at like half one when I’m out of skype meetings as I missed my usual 12-1pm lunch slot.
  • Skype lunches – my pals have suggested skyping throughout our lunch break to have a virtual lunch

What are your top tips for working from home?

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  • Niobe says:

    Great post Jess. Lots of good ideas! I must admit, its 10pm now and I still haven’t actually ‘got dressed’ today which is a bit gross now I’ve put it in writing. Next week I’ll try and be better!

    I also think setting a proper ‘break’ and ‘lunch’ time is good!

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