7 | Minute Read
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports that as many as 1 in 12 Australians work from home on a regular basis. And that was before 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic. Now that more Australians than ever are working from home, we have tips on how to make the most out of it.
Whilst the flexibility of remote work is a definite plus, there are some downsides to working away from the office, especially when working from home. Working from home can lead to productivity issues if some boundaries and rules aren’t kept in place, and as for working this way in the long term – the ABS reports that 58% of people who work from home cite a lack of social interaction as the largest drawback.
This means we have to structure our remote working life in a way conducive to not only productivity, but our mental and physical health.
Tips for getting the most out of working from home.
1. Have a designated office space.
It’s important to draw a mental line between work, play, and rest.
Working from home can blur all three of these life domains, making it difficult to get into the correct head space to start working, and even more difficult to stop working when the day is over.
For this reason, it helps to have a dedicated office space in your home.
Whether it’s a whole room, or just a desk tucked away in a corner, as long as it’s a space where you conduct your work (and nothing else), it’ll help you foster a healthy balance between work and rest.
2. Keep a normal, getting ready for work routine.
Now that you have your own dedicated office space, get ready in the morning like you would normally if you were heading to the office.
Whilst we’re not asking you to put on a whole face of makeup, or your best suit, it’s important to change out of those comfy pajamas and into some work-casual clothing.
This is simply to help you foster the correct state of mind.
When you rise: wash up, get dressed, and grab a cup of tea or coffee. Then sit down at your desk and go over your to do list for the day. Proceed just as you would in the office, minus the water cooler talk.
3. Be available for meetings and discussions.
A major concern for employers – when it comes to allowing their staff to work from home – is that they won’t be as available for discussion and meetings as staff who come into the office. Now that the Coronavirus pandemic has forced most employers’ hands on this, it’s important to make the most out of this telecommuting opportunity.
Australians can aim to prove that working from home doesn’t impede on our ability to function as a team player.
Make sure you are available during working hours on whatever chat application your team uses.
Download that same chat application on your phone, in case you need to step away from the computer for a bit (to water your balcony garden, for example). And if you do plan on being away from your desk, make sure to forewarn your team before heading off.
If you have scheduled in meetings, make sure these are in your calendar and that you’ve set up reminders and notifications so you don’t end up missing them.
You’re going to have to be a lot more organised and vigilant in general when working from home.
4. Get out of the house every day (whilst keeping socially distant!)
During this pandemic, we’re all going to face cabin fever at one point or another.
When you work at home, then rest at home, it can feel like your house is more of a prison than a sanctuary – which can be emotionally draining in the long run.
That’s why getting out of the house once a day is important.
Obviously, getting out of the house during a quarantine might not be an option for you. If you’re in Australia, check the Health.gov.au website for the latest advice.
Depending on said advice, some ideas for getting out of the house are:
- Drinking in the sun on your balcony
- Taking up gardening (guaranteed to lift your spirits.)
- Taking a walk (whilst keeping your distance from others.)
Getting out into the fresh air at least once a day will give you a much needed mental boost.
5. Don’t work outside of normal office hours.
The line between work and play can blur when you work remotely. It’s important to stay mindful of working hours, and to avoid working outside of them.
Start work on time, and end it on time. This is where having a dedicated working space can help. You shouldn’t be at your office desk when the day is over.
Often when we work from home, if we struggle with focus, it’s easy to put things off and reason that we’ll continue working after close-of-business. However, this will take its toll eventually.
Figure out ways to be as productive as possible during your working hours, and shut everything down and put it all away when your working day is over.
6. Have a separate computer, or account, for working and playing.
Lastly, if it’s available to you, use separate devices for work and for personal use. Having a defined work device allows you to set clear boundaries. For example, you boot up your work laptop when work starts, then shut it down when work ends.
If you don’t have multiple devices, you can set up two separate accounts on your computer.
Use one for work only, and one for personal use. This also helps with file organisation, and keeping distractions at bay.