How To Effectively Work Offsite
Working from home is a challenge many of us didn't think we'd be facing at the start of 2020. Now, the home office is an all too familiar sight, and programs such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and thousands of others shape the way we work, and are commonplace in many organisations.
Even though you may know your way around virtual meeting software nowadays, that doesn't necessarily mean you are working as effectively offsite as you could be in an office, as the office has some subtle mental advantages to the home office that you might not have picked up on yet. It takes a lot of self-discipline and organisation to be able to manage your own time effectively, and as such we've compiled a list of tips, processes and viewpoints that you can have a look over and will hopefully help maximise your work output from the comfort of your own home.
Get in the right mindset for work - Working from home is all about mindset; you must prepare yourself to defeat all the distractions that will come your way throughout the day. There are a few small but really helpful tips that you can use to empower your start to the day:
Use your commute time to your advantage. One of the greatest benefits of working from home is that zero commute time, but don't let that time go to waste! Use whatever your usual commute time would be to get into the zone and prepared for the day ahead. This might mean doing some exercise, not skipping breakfast, or doing any of the other tips below to get ready for the day. Besides, you can still use your return commute time for whatever you might like!
Don't wake up at 8:55am. Yes, we've all thought it - it's incredibly tempting to just wake up right before you'd normally start, roll out of bed straight into the office chair, turn your computer on so that everyone can see that you're online, and then sit there slowly waking up. Don't. Give your body and mind it needs to start functioning properly, and give yourself the best chance to be in the right mindset to smash out some work.
Get dressed for success. It might seem silly, but there is a lot of power in getting out of your PJ's and wearing something energising and comfortable to help you get ready for the day. For many people, this might be casual clothes, smart casual clothes, or even gym gear if your situation allows for it. Mind you, this definitely doesn't have to mean getting into a full suit and tie or putting on lots of makeup in the morning, if it's not something you'd otherwise need to kickstart your day.
Set a routine for the day. Schedule in your meetings, your coffee breaks, your lunch time, and whatever other tasks you might have to do. This will make the time go by so much quicker, as you get stuck into work leading up to every new event during the day.
Make some goals for the day and tick them off as you go. In addition to setting a routine each day, scribble down a quick list of things you want to achieve that day, and make sure you cross each one off once you've done it. This is a really good way of making sure you feel like you're achieving something each day - whether that be "send an email to HR" or "launch the new website" - ticking these tasks off is an incredibly good way to keep track of what you're working on, as well as give your day some kind of meaning.
Use a dedicated work space. Having a desk, office or study that you can call your own is a very powerful tool for working effectively at home. Knowing that that place is "work", you can then seperate your home life from that part of your life, and switch between the two without the lines getting blurred too often. Not only will this help you get into the work mindset, but it will also help you relax and unwind in your own time, when the last thing you want to be thinking about is work. Additionally, while we've all thought about working from the beach or the park or wherever it may be, it's a fairly reasonable thing to say t hat working in those locations is usually a treat for yourself - you won't be getting as much work done there than you would in your dedicated space - however they can be a much needed change of scenery from the same four walls at home!
Know when to have a break. Possibly the most important part of this is knowing that putting a load of washing on or making a cup of coffee in the kitchen doesn't count as a break. These things are chores - they are mindless, easy tasks - and as you take 5 minutes to do them your mind is probably still thinking about work anyway! When taking a break, try to get out of your working area, go outside, or do some activity that is genuinely relaxing, and all about you! This might sound like slacking off, but will help you in the long run as you will be more able to focus in those times that you are working.
Stay connected to your network. Keep in touch with the people in your circle, as remote work can make you feel removed you from your clients and colleagues. There are plenty of useful communication tools that can help improve how you interact with people from home; the one that we and many other industry professionals would recommend is Slack.
Make sure to get outside and get some rays as often as you can! Remember the quarantine blues you were feeling in May and June last year? You definitely don't want to be feeling that again! Going outside either during the day or in your own time is vital to staying sane while working from home, as it breaks up the day and stops life from feeling too stagnant. Exercise or time in the sun is the most effective way to be doing this, and as little as thirty minutes outside can really help you stay on track during the time that you are working in the home office.
Defeat distraction - get rid of the phone, tv or anything else that can make you get off track. If all else fails and you are sitting in front of the screen not able to focus at all, the best thing you can do is get all of those distractions as far away from you as possible. Turn the TV off or even unplug it from the wall if you need to. Put your phone in the draw or maybe in another room so that you can't be distracted by it. Close any and all social media sites, and keep the household tasks to a minimum until you've got a hand on some of the work that needs to be done.
Hopefully taking onboard these ideas will help elevate your workflow in the home office, and allow you to thrive while taking on some opportunities with us at FLEXSTA!
If you'd like to learn some more about effectively working from home, you might also like our article here about tools you can use in the home office to further strengthen your output.