5 Top tips for working from home

Many of us have found ourselves turning our home into an office and if you are not used to this it can be challenging to adapt to the new routine (or lack of) and keeping focused.

Here at Sillence Hurn we offer a flexible approach to our working environment and will often work from home. With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to share our top 5 tips with you.

Try and keep to a routine

Go to bed and wake up at the same time as you would if you were going into the office. The NHS advise that by keeping to regular bed and wake times you programme your body into better sleep. Adults require 6 – 9 hours of sleep so work backwards from when you need to wake up. Once awake, try and keep your normal routine of getting ready, having breakfast and then heading off to work - even if that’s your dining room. Although, I don’t think an extra half an hour in bed would hurt!

Get your workspace ready

If possible, set up a permanent workstation to be used during this period. Ideally, be near a window for fresh air and natural daylight. Use a chair with a suitable backrest and use cushions as necessary to ensure comfortable. Also, think about the space around your workstation – is it clean and tidy? Cluttered workstations are distracting.- tidy space equals tidy mind.

Most of us also work better or are used to working with background noise. Replicate that whether that is listening to music or the radio generally. However, if like me you want to limit your news intake at the moment I can recommend the Noisli app. Noisli offers a selection of background noises including coffee shop sounds, weather sounds and birds singing. Much nicer than listening to the keyboard o the noisy kids in the background! Lastly, do you have everything you need? Coffee, Water, stationary, snacks?

Plan a schedule for the day

Once sat at your desk write a to-do list of your tasks for the day. I also include any other ‘to-dos’ that are on my mind, so they don’t become a distraction. Work out how you are most productive. For example, work for two hours then take a 10-minute break or take a 5 minute break every hour. Expert advice is that you should take regular mini-breaks to ensure optimum performance and avoid fatigue. Try to also use this time to complete non work-related items on your to do list so they don’t become a distraction later in the day. It may be that your work doesn’t require you at your desk for the normal 9-5 so you might work more in the evening and early mornings for example. This may also help with point 5!

Keep in touch with colleagues

Initially you may be looking forward to working from home, perhaps you think you will be less distracted. However, after a while you may start to feel isolated and lonely. Schedule times to call colleagues. Perhaps schedule time for coffee and chat in the morning and the afternoon? In a normal office environment, you may chat to colleagues to run ideas past them or ask for help and you shouldn’t cut this off just because you are working apart. It’s likely they are feeling it too so keeping some of the normal conversations going will help everyone.

Arrange childcare

These are unprecedented times and you wouldn’t often find yourself working from home with your children in the house too. If you are a two-parent house it maybe that both of you are trying to work while caring for the children and depending on their age they may not understand. Sit down with your partner and agree a schedule for who is going to work when and therefore when the other one is on childcare duty. It maybe that you take blocks of a couple of hours or a day each. Try and work in a place you can close the door and keep away from the children when it’s your turn to work. If the child still naps, then use this time to schedule important calls or tasks that take more concentration. If you are struggling, be honest with your employer; they are likely to be understanding of the situation or be in it themselves. You may find it easier to work less in the day and more in the evening if acceptable to your employer also.

There are no written rules and everyone will have their own methods and preferences working from home. However, we hope our tips are of benefit and enable you to be both happy and productive.

Take care and be safe!

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