The Mental Health Charity Mind have expressed their concerns over people who work from home becoming lonely and isolated and with 50% of the UK’s workforce predicted to be home-workers by 2020. These concerns arise as Work Wise Week sweeps across the UK and National Work from Home Day lands on the Friday 17thMay. Around 70% of our staff here at the IOEE work from home at least 1 day a week so we’ve consolidated our best advice to work from home successfully into ten top tips.
- TAKE REGULAR SHORT BREAKS
We all know that short and frequent breaks are better than hours of slugging at a computer for an hour-long break in the middle. Science says we should technically take a 17 minute break every 52 minutes in order to remain productive. This also means that concentration during those bursts if working should be completely distraction free, that means no phones.
- BRIBE YOURSELF
Encourage your own work ethic by rewarding yourself after little bursts of work. Rewards don’t have to be extreme; a simple cup of coffee, checking your phone or working out will benefit your work ethic for the rest of the day. This will also make you work a little faster without realizing. Why have a coffee break at 2pm when you can have it at 1pm?
- NO FACEBOOK
You could use Facebook as a reward (see tip 3) or you could use tools like Cold Turkey to cut yourself off for short periods of time from your social media addiction. But whatever you do, do not check it while you’re supposed to be working. Social media is a good way of being able to develop inter-office collaborations but if Facebook is pinging or buzzing at you from your pocket, and if you cave, before you know it 2 hours have passed, and you spent all of it watching cat videos instead of working.
- WORK OUT
Working out while you work is beneficial in a couple of ways. It will increase your work output via the amount of extra energy it’ll produce in you as well as mood improvement. It’ll also save you from trying to work out when you’re tired after your day of work too.
- CREATE DEADLINES
A base level of pressure is necessary in working life. Crippling stress isn’t. Balance out your workload and take time to plan deadlines for yourself using tools like Todoist. Making deadlines for yourself will also help you to be more productive, I find that when I have a long time to complete a project, I tend to take longer than I should executing it so I set short and regular deadlines in order to increase my work ethic and productivity.
- GO OUT
Fresh is air is obviously super useful for your mood and general well-being and productivity levels. Even though there’s probably more distractions in the outside world than in your home, sitting in a café or a park takes away the obligations of your home and family which could lead to you actually becoming more focused.
- GET DRESSED
Don’t stay in your PJ. It might seem tempting but research has shown that what we wear really influences the way we act and therefore can affect our productivity, mood and attitude. Dr Karen Pine, professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, says “When we put on an item of clothing it is common for the wearer to adopt the characteristics associated with that garment. A lot of clothing has symbolic meaning for us, whether it’s ‘professional work attire’ or ‘relaxing weekend wear,’ so when we put it on we prime the brain to behave in ways consistent with that meaning.”
- SET YOURSELF AN END GOAL
It’s way too easy to get immersed into a project and to keep reassuring yourself to keep going if it’s going well. The issue here is that when you don’t clock out and run into out of office hours while you’re at home, your work life and home life will meld into each other. This could potentially have a negative impact on both the workload and family.
9. DEDICATED WORK SPACE
Working on a couch is horrible for your back and posture as well as lots more distractions existing where your couch is. If you’re working from home, dedicate a space in your home, it doesn’t have to be a, office space even just a room or a corner of a room will do. If you’re home-working and your family are there, make sure that they know it’s your office and they should treat it so. Let them know that when you’re working, you’re not available.
- AVOID ISOLATION SMARTLY
You really don’t need to log into social media constantly to feel in the loop. Maintaining work relationships can be easy and not feeling cut off by being at home can also be avoided. Create yourself interpersonal networking opportunities by inviting a colleague out for a coffee break or you could share a workspace with a fellow at-home worker.
If you’re efficient with your time, make efforts to uphold a good work ethic and also look after your self-discipline, working from home doesn’t have to be isolating.