How to work from home effectively
With many of us getting to grips with new ways of working, it's never been more critical to communicate effectively with your colleagues, yet it is also important to take some time to adjust to this new business landscape. For lots of us, working exclusively from home and engaging through phone calls and virtual meetings is a big change.
So if you are used to your usual office environment, how can you ensure that you stay focused on your work, whilst also maintaining connection and taking care of your own wellbeing? Here's some insight into how you can work from home effectively, to help you stay engaged and keep your energy levels up.
Before you start reading this blog, try this...
- Start by squeezing your shoulders up to your ears.
- Hold for a few seconds, then release. Repeat a few times.
- Look left and right over each shoulder.
- Drop your chin to your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your neck.
- Gently let the head drop back, with your mouth open, before letting it float back into place.
- Finally, breathe. Empty your lungs and let the fresh air fill your belly. If you free your body, your mind will follow.
Trusting yourself to cope with the unknown helps you to relax and feel confident. Relaxing and releasing physical tension enables you to respond to the situation thoughtfully, rather than react instinctively.
Keep to your usual routine
When you no longer have to commute to an office or spend time in face-to-face meetings, it can be tempting to take advantage of the opportunity to stay in your pyjamas all day.
Sleeping in later than usual, turning on your computer when you feel like it, working into the evenings if you need to – these are all things that sound like freedom, but if they mark a big deviation from your usual routine then the attraction can soon wear thin.
If staying motivated is one of your key concerns it can instead be helpful to stick to your usual routine as far as you are able to. Particularly in uncertain times, routines provide us with a little structure that helps to ensure we stay on track and make the most of our time.
If you have children at home or are working alongside family members you will of course probably need to make adjustments, but you could try:
- Setting your alarm for the usual time
- Dressing as if you are leaving the house
- Eating breakfast before you start work
- Taking regular breaks throughout the day
- Eating lunch away from your computer
- Logging off at the time you usually would
Find a suitable workspace
If you are not used to working from home this may be tricky. Perhaps you already have a study or a desk set up, or perhaps you're more used to sitting with your laptop balanced on your knees.
Obviously you will want to pick a space where you are comfortable, and if that means using your sofa or bed then that is perfectly fine. But if you are the sort of person who needs a desk space to sit down to, then it is worth taking some time to find a solution that works for you.
Here are some things you can try:
- Create a space that is specifically for you – perhaps a separate room, or perhaps just a permanent corner of the kitchen table.
- Try to keep the area around your workspace free of distractions. Clear away clutter, get yourself an in-tray, make it a child-free zone – even little things can change how you feel about a space.
Work in the same way that you would in the office
This is obviously not going to be completely achievable, but if you can, it is helpful to try and maintain your working habits.
If you are not already set up to work remotely, then ensuring your team all have access to the same remote working tools can really help with consistent and clear communication. Such tools allow people to keep in touch throughout the day in a less formal way than via email.
And think about how you prefer to work yourself. If you need peace and quiet, try to arrange times in your day when you can achieve that. If you prefer noise, keep the TV on in the next room or play music through your computer. Whatever helps you stay focused.
Here are a few more tips:
- Keep your usual meetings in the diary, even if you are conducting them digitally.
- Email things that you would normally email, but use remote working tools to check in with the person directly if you can to maintain connection.
Focus on your own wellbeing
With all that is going on, it is very easy to get distracted.
While you are of course likely to be spending time on contingency planning and considering how to achieve your business aims during the coming months, it is also essential that you build in time to consider your own personal response.
Allowing yourself space to acknowledge any difficulties and to do what you can to alleviate them, will in turn free up your brain to keep working on your business in other ways.
Here are a few things you can try to alleviate stress:
- Stay hydrated, and eat well and regularly.
- Maintain connection. Working from home doesn't have to mean working alone – keep in contact with your team, your wider colleagues, and your clients and audiences.
- Take regular breaks – get up from your workspace and walk around as often as you need.
Stay engaged – but switch off when you can
Even in normal circumstances, it can be difficult to stop thinking about your projects when you work from home. Because there is no physical break between the office and your personal life, it can be easy to just keep working through. This is even more true at the moment, when the news is constant.
But it is important to switch off, both literally and in terms of our wellbeing. Taking breaks from the regular stream of updates will help with maintaining balance.
Suggestions for switching off include:
- Identify specific times to check news and social media. You can use time limits and downtime tools to reinforce this.
- Turn your computer off at the end of the working day or when you have completed a project.
- Allow time for relaxation. From digital exercise classes to museum live-streams, there are ways to maintain your interests without leaving your house.
Plan for the future
Things may feel up in the air right now, but they won't always be.
Now is a great time to start thinking about what you would like to achieve in your career, whether that means working on your leadership style, building confidence, or improving your impact in meetings.
However you choose to move forward in the future, RADA Business will be here to help you achieve your goals.
Get in touch
Find out how our expert team of tutors can help you to maintain your performance on a virtual stage by contacting +44 (0)20 7908 4830 or firstname.lastname@example.org.