Working from home, it sounds like a dream: no commute, ownership over your work environment and your home comforts close to hand; but the reality of working from home, all day, every day, is more of a drag than we first realised.
There’s the issue of motivation, the lack of face-to-face contact, and just how do you switch off when the boundaries of work and home blur?
Here are our 10 top tips for working from home – successfully:
1. Start the day well
As tempting as it is to roll out of bed and dive straight into your inbox, most of us need to get in the mindset for work.
You might find dressing in your usual working attire helps, while others opt for preparing the night before, or linking up with a colleague on Monday morning to action plan for the week ahead.
Keep hold of your normal morning routine in as many ways as possible- make that espresso, read the morning news, find time for your usual pre-work workout.
2. Drink enough
It’s so simple and yet so many of us neglect such a basic need when we are busy, or out of our normal working environment.
A lack of H2O causes headaches, increases fatigue, impairs your memory and attention span, as well as a multitude of other unpleasant and unhelpful symptoms.
A well-hydrated brain is a happy one. So if you’re aiming for that next promotion - go grab a glass now.
3. Food for thought
Eat foods that keep you fuller for longer and steer clear of food high in fat and sugar to avoid that post–lunch slump. Wholemeal rice, noodles and pasta are a great option, as are whole grains, greens, pulses and proteins.
Keep snacks close to hand and choose wisely, too. Not all snacks were made equal. Nuts, seeds and fruits will nourish you, revive your energy levels and fuel your grey matter. Save the sugar hit for after work.
4. Take regular breaks
This one sounds much easier than it is in reality. When you’re in your stride, it’s hard to pull yourself away from work.
As well blocking out time in your calendar for a proper lunch break, it’s essential to try and take a few mini-breaks during the day. Whether that’s a quick walk or wandering to the kitchen to make a cuppa.
Staring at a screen for too long won’t do you any favours, and neither will sitting down for long periods of time.
Banish tired and dry eyes by following the 20-20-20 rule: Only stay on your screen for 20 minutes, then look away to a point at least 20 feet in the distance, for 20 seconds. And if you really can’t get away from your desk to stretch your legs, get bendy with some desk yoga.
5. Minimise distractions
How’s your self-control?
Some of us are great at zoning in on work and maintaining our focus, most of us waiver from time-to-time.
If messages from friends are sending your phone into meltdown or your email alerts are diverting you - switch off all notifications that aren’t crucial, then pick them up at a later time.
Try downloading some Chrome extensions which can help you stay on task – like setting a curfew on non-work sites, or consolidating your browser tabs.
6. Keep motivated
No matter how well we organise our time or set ourselves up, we all hit a wall at some point in our day. We do in the office, so why not at home.
Get to know what your triggers are: certain times of the day, after particular meetings, tasks or activities, etc and try to plan a break around them.
Music is really beneficial too. Make use of that Spotify subscription and switch-up your playlist throughout the day to focus, inspire, motivate or relax you.
When then doesn’t cut it, nothing quite beats the old-fashioned tonic of fresh-air. Open the window and enjoy the vista or relocate to your balcony - a new view can help you find a different perspective.
7. Chase the sun
The beauty of home working is the ability to hot-desk in your own apartment.
If you get great natural light at your workspace at one part of the day but your squinting at your laptop later in the afternoon, move around. Natural light is easier on the eyes and a great mood booster.
8. Don’t go off-grid.
A day can pass quickly when you’re busy; before you know it, it’s 5pm and you haven’t had much in the way of conversation.
Don’t clip your social wings; maintain those relationships with your colleagues and make use of that camera on your laptop.
Make more meetings face-to-face, connect your team over a coffee and catch-up once a week (where work talk is off the agenda) or link up over a lunchtime video call.
9. Switch off
Maintaining a good work/life balance is even more crucial when the world of work and home have fused.
Explore what helps you unwind once you close your laptop. For some it’s the creativity of cooking, for others it’s the release of a quick workout or a cheeky tipple and a chat with a friend.
Be strict on what time you stop work each day and make sure you communicate that with your colleagues, too. Don’t push yourself to the point of burnout by working late into the evening. Little or no downtime will start to affect your quality of sleep and your mood fairly quickly.
10. Go easy on yourself
We are all thinking on our feet, right now. So know and accept your limitations, take a break when you need it and look after yourself.
Enjoy your free time in as many ways as possible. Make full use of the glorious open spaces around Canary Wharf, order outstanding food to your door or simply kick back and take in some of London’s most iconic scenery – there’s no better place to be working from home.