With advances in instant messaging technology and cloud storage, working from home and working remotely has become commonplace in recent years. In recent times, with the national lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been thrust in to working from home for the first time, trying to figure out how to work from home effectively.
At Viking, we know how challenging home working is and how ensuring you remain productive can be a task. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to work from home, including finding the right office furniture and how to plan your day. Using this guide, we’ll help you through the difficulties and make the most of the benefits.
What Do I Need to Work from Home
First things first, when working from home you’ll need all the equipment to make it work. Many people will have a work laptop to use, however these aren’t ergonomic for use over sustained periods of time. So what else do you need to work from home effectively? Here are a few items that you’ll need to make your home office complete:
If you work from a laptop, having a separate keyboard will help you make your workspace much more ergonomically friendly. This will also mean you can keep your arms comfortably in the DSE-recommended position.
As with the keyboard, using a laptop scroll pad is simply not going to work for long periods. Having a separate computer mouse will make navigating your computer much easier.
For many people, having a separate monitor away from the laptop screen can make a big difference. This will often be larger and easier to navigate around, as well as easier to put at the right height. If you don’t have a separate monitor, ensure you have a laptop riser to keep your computer at the correct height. Remember, your eyes should be roughly in line with the top of the screen.
- A Desk
Unfortunately, most kitchen tables and coffee tables simply aren’t made for working. Their height means that you’ll find it a struggle to sit in a comfortable position. Your arms should always be angled slightly downwards when typing, so it’ll be necessary to purchase an office desk where you can do this.
- Office Chair
Bringing a dining chair up from the kitchen table just won’t work, you’ll need an office chair with the correct back support. For those with back problems, an ergonomic chair can be a great solution to prevent it from being worsened whilst working at home.
A fast broadband connection plays a vital role in facilitating home working. Most homes in this day and age will already have one but, if yours is temperamental, it may be worth upgrading to a new one.
- Access to Online File Sharing
Online file sharing services such as Office365, Google Docs and Dropbox are essential for working from home. These services will allow you to continue to work collaboratively with colleagues and share work securely without the need for on-site hardware.
- Web Chat
A web chat service such as Microsoft Teams or Skype will make communicating with colleagues and clients much easier. If you have a webcam, you can hold regular internal and external meetings to keep things moving smoothly.
When it comes to setting up your workspace at home, following will help ensure you’re as comfortable and as safe as possible. Remember, these guidelines are just as important whether you’re in the office or the spare room at home.
How to Be Productive at Home
The biggest challenge when working from home is staying productive and avoiding distractions. With no management watching on, Netflix available in the other room and a fridge full of coffee break snacks, it can seem like the biggest challenge is to just get your head down and get some work done. It may take a little to get into, but working from home can be productive if you remain disciplined. Here are some tips to show you how to be productive at home:
- Create a Working Space
As we’ve covered above, creating a space where you can quietly work away from distractions. Having a separate space means it’ll be easier to avoid things like the TV in the background or getting up to wash those few dishes in the sink. Similarly, working from the comfort of your bed may seem nice, but it really isn’t a good idea.
- Follow a Routine
We’ve all got a routine for our working day, try to bring this into your home working life. Take breaks at the same time you usually would and go on your lunch break at the same time, this regularity will help keep you in a working mindset.
- Keep in Touch with Colleagues
Make sure you’re still communicating with colleagues as you would in the office. This means on both work-related matters and social. Working from home can make you feel isolated, so keeping social is vital for morale.
- Set Boundaries with Family
If you live with a partner and/or children, working from home can take a lot more understanding and organisation. Make sure you set clear boundaries about when you’re working and when you’re available, make it clear that it’s just like any other working day. If you have young children and no childcare, communicate with your manager to set expectations and work out how to manage your time.
How to Focus When Working from Home
Once you’ve got your workspace set up and are prepared to be productive, the next hurdle is keeping focused on what you’re doing. Take a look at these ideas when you’re wondering how to work at home effectively.
- Plan Your Day
It’s not possible in every role but planning your day out can give you the vital direction and motivation you need. If you know you have an hour to do a certain task, it should help you make sure it gets done in that time.
- Keep Off Social Media
In the modern world, social media can be one of the biggest distractions. It’s all too easy to pick up your smartphone and start scrolling aimlessly through social media feeds. Keep your mobile phone out of arms reach and save social media for break time.
- Set Goals
At the start of each day, make sure you’ve set a goal for exactly what you’d like to achieve. This will give you a sense of satisfaction when you can tick off what you’ve completed.
- Reward Yourself
Working from home can require the odd morale-boosting treat every now and then. Make sure you’re giving yourself a little boost every now and then, whether it’s a cup of coffee and a biscuit or thirty minutes sat in the garden. It’ll all help give you an all-important break and get you away from your screen.
Short Term Work from Home
For some people, working from home is a regular part of their job, whereas others may have to adapt due to circumstances. If you are one of those who are having to quickly adapt to working from home on a short-term basis, such as during the coronavirus pandemic, the key is being organised and not being too hard on yourself.
Finding that perfect working space isn’t always possible, so you’ve got to make do. Getting the right equipment in place is easy enough to do. When it comes to office furniture, it may be worth investing for future use. Maybe you’ll find that having a quiet space to do work at home is ideal for the future.
Working from home can be productive and easy to adjust to if you follow some of these tips and try to get yourself into the right mindset to make it work. Making sure you give yourself everything you need including equipment and a routine should set you on the road to a successful time working at home.
Have you got any tips for working from home? Get in touch with us @viking_chat to share them!