How To Get The Most Out Of Working From Home

Social distancing and gathering restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic has seen many of us confined to working from home for the most part of this year.

With no certainty of a viable vaccine coming soon, it may be that even as restrictions are lifted, we will still be required or encouraged to work from home where possible, for the unforeseeable future. If you've found yourself working from home it's important to adjust your routine and mindset to set yourself up for success.

Here are some of my best tips for keeping creative, productive and getting the most out of working from home.

Kids at home:

If you have kids online learning at home, it's important to establish a routine and workable space for them too. So that as much as possible, everyone will have their own designated space to focus on what they're working on with minimal distractions.

Our top tips:

1. Establish your own workspace

This should be away from others, if possible, who are also working or learning from home. Set up a designated space for everyone with everything they need for the day. This makes it easy to stay focussed, on task and to minimise distractions.

2. Set Goals

Set yourself some short and medium term goals based on what you'd like to achieve. Personally, my goals are usually project ideas that have stemmed from our business vision - To empower for connection - and how I can bring this vision to life.

I recommend using Google Keep for noting down your goals and project ideas. These can be visually organised with colours and reminders with options to archive or even share with your team.

3. Make to do lists

Get organised with to do lists - actionable points for you to achieve your goal. It's important not to make your list too long so you don't feel overwhelmed by how much you have to do.

I like to keep it to under ten actionable items, which I aim to get through every few days. Being a 'list person', I get great satisfaction from crossing items off, and seeing how much closer I am to reaching my goal. You can also use Google Keep for this, and check off items as you complete them.

4. Communicate

Check in with your team and colleagues often. Business messaging apps such as Slack, Discord, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts make it easy to keep everyone up to date. Be present for team meetings with your video turned on. Share your wins and your challenges. Working independently from home, means we have to make an even bigger effort to communicate clearly and effectively.

Set up a content planner with regular emails and posts scheduled. At a time where we can't physically meet our customers, letting them know how your business is progressing - new services, new hours, covid safe procedures, or just continuing to provide valuable information and content online, has never been more important to stay relevant and top of mind.

Some social media apps to help you with this are Later, Buffer, Hootsuite. For email, check out MailChimp, Constant Contact, Sendinblue.

5. Take regular breaks

For some of us, it's so easy to keep working without taking a break. Especially when working from home offers no boundaries between work and home. It's easy to let your working hours creep into lunchtimes, late into the evenings and weekends. For others, it's easy to get distracted with chores or on demand binge watching.

Just as it is important to stay focussed, taking breaks will allow us to look after our mental and physical wellbeing. Taking time away from our desks and screens will help us avoid feeling burnt out. Get outside if possible for a walk in the fresh air. Check in with everyone at home, to make sure everyone can take time out for some exercise. You'll return feeling refreshed, with increased creativity and productivity.

I've set a personal goal to get at least 10-12,000 steps in everyday. If you've not got a tracking device, you can download a free health app on your phone.

6. Look for learning opportunities

There's never been a better time for personal improvement. With an abundance of courses online, you can take advantage of using the time you've saved on your daily commute and usual pre-covid running around, to learn a language or advance your knowledge and skills.

I highly recommend checking out the free courses at Google Digital Garage, you'll even get Google certification on completion for some of them.

7. Reward yourself!

Make sure you're celebrating your wins as you achieve your goals. It could be as simple as taking a walk or grabbing a coffee for the smaller wins. For the bigger wins, there's never been a better time for some online retail therapy, ordering in, or indulging in a subscription you've never been home enough to validate. The courier pulling up to deliver your treats to your doorstep, ready for you to unbox will give you something to look forward to!

8. Keep in touch

It's easy to start mentally retreating into our own bubble with all this physical distancing. This can get us feeling down, being away from friends and family, no overseas holidays to look forward to, missed birthday celebrations and all the usual social interactions.

Make time to organise a regular virtual get together to catch up with friends and family, so we're also filling the void of social and emotional connection during this time. Our favourite app to stay connected: Whatsapp

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