Working from Home – A Survival Guide
Working from home – There’s more to it than meets the eye!
It sounds great in theory – but there’s more to making remote working work than meets the eye!
The thing about tech is that pretty much everyone has at some stage worked for small business, a big business and remotely, either for someone else or for themselves. So, despite the social stereotypes, techs actually know a bit about what it takes to stay productive, connected, social and sane when you’re working remotely or working from home.
If you’re new to the working-from-home game – here are some top tips we’ve pulled together from our team’s collective experience to get you working hard (as opposed to hardly working😉)!
Treat every workday as if it is an office day!
Yes – that means, get up at the same time you would when on a commutable workday, make your bed, do your chores, eat a healthy breakfast, do a workout if that’s something you would normally do in the morning AND most importantly get dressed for the day!
It’s amazing what a difference intentionally getting ready for your day does to your productivity.
“I used to get up everyday and get dressed into smart casual clothes. I used to even do my hair and makeup properly every day. I’d tell people it was because I might have to duck out to a meeting at short notice, but it really just made me feel like I was in work mode – not to mention I’d at least look half decent in video-conference meetings!”
Create yourself a different kind of commute!
Think you hate that drive to work or catching the bus? Well here’s something you didn’t expect – you might find that you miss it! Why? Because the daily commute, even with its frustrations, actually serves as a mental and physical circuit breaker to your day. It tells your brain that your getting ready to work, or that you’ve finished for the day, and without that subtle messaging, it might take a while for your brain to reschedule itself!
Create a buffer for yourself at the start and end of everyday by building a home-based or local ritual to replace your commute. You could try something like:
- Taking a coffee and spend 30 mins reading a book, magazine, reading online
- Getting that morning walk or workout in
- Doing something creative
- Spending some talking time with your kids if they’re home too
“It was a big change starting to work from home – without a commute, I suddenly found myself inside all day and it felt weird. I think I missed the routine. So every morning from 7:30 to 8 I started going for a run followed by a coffee, then I’d get ready to log-on at 8:45 each day. At night, I’d log off at 5:30, get my runners on and walk for half an hour till 6. Then I knew my day was done!”
“I’ve always been a big reader – I always had a book in my bag and the best part of my day was uninterrupted 30 minutes of reading time I’d get on my trainride to work and back each day. When I started working from home, the reading stopped. I kept buying books I wanted to read and they starting piling up unread! Instead I decided to use the same 30 mins of commute time to read out on my balcony in the mornings and then at a local park in the afternoons. It was great – I felt more normal and like I had some balance back!”
Set clear boundaries
When you’re working from home, it doesn’t take long before your work clutter starts sprawling and infecting other parts of your home sanctuary.
Define where your workspace is going to be and keep all your work-related stuff there. Don’t sit down to do anything else at your workspace before you are ready to start your day, and likewise, when you log off at night, close the door, walk away and don’t go back there till tomorrow!
“When I was working for home, the second bedroom in our house was my home office. I would keep the door closed all the time, and only leave it open when I was in there from 8:30 – 5. Even if the phone was ringing in there early, or I could hear notifications pinging through afterhours, if I wasn’t supposed to be responding to them, I didn’t go back into ‘the office’ until the next morning!”
Use OH&S to your own benefit
When you work from home, most companies these days will issue a list of recommendations to check off to ensure your home workspace is OH&S compliant. Most people treat this with a bit of an eye roll and just tick the boxes, but take a moment to read what the checklist says and make the recommended adjustments to your chair, screen heights, etc. Those recommendations have been based on medical advice and might just save you from unnecessary backaches, headaches or other work-from-home woes.
“I remember hearing that the in-office staff were getting these 5-minute back massages once a week at their desks, and meanwhile I was using a $30 office chair from Kmart at home and wondering why I was getting backaches! Once I bit the bullet, bought an ergonomic chair online and had it delivered it made all the difference.”
Get a working-from-home buddy!
“If you don’t have a moving buddy, get one!” Woody the Cowboy, ToyStory.
Same applies with working from home. Some days feel quiet because there might not be much work, and other days might be so busy that you are communicating remotely all the time but not really engaging with anyone on a personal level at all!
Find a “buddy”, either in your broader team or even just a friend who you know is generally going to be online the same time as you during the day, and strike up a regular check-in and chat schedule.
“One of the things I missed most at home was heading out to grab a takeaway coffee with someone from work, and just having a 10-minute chat there and on the way back – you know, wife, kids, weekend – that sort of stuff.”
- Get into the habit of exchanging a quick Morning! How are you? What’d you do on the weekend? How’s the new puppy going? message to your buddy to start the day.
- Why not schedule a daily coffee break? Get together with your “buddy” online, have a coffee, have the chat – do it over video chat to make it even more fun!
- Check in at the end of the day if that’s easier – Wow – what a day! Any wins your side?
- Feel like no one would even know you’re there? Reach out to your manager as ask to schedule a regular online huddle every morning to run through your to-dos for the day. It’s amazing how much accountability contributes to inclusion!
Working from home has suddenly become the new reality for millions of people around the globe right now. We’ll be collecting all the best tips and hacks were hear from our clients over the next few weeks and months and publishing them too.
Got some great remote working/working from home tips? Send them on through and we’ll feature them!
Also check out some other helpful reads we’ve found around remote working:
Business Insider: 8 Tips for Crushing Your Job While Working from Home
Employment Hero: Desk-ercise: Staying Active While Working from Home
EAP Assist: Looking After Your Mental Health during COVID-19
Other great Maxsum content you might like to read:
- Fast-Tracking Remote Working- Continue Reading
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- Do You Understand the Phishing Threat?- It’s the cycle of routine distraction and reaction – a modern-day feature of the way we work and go about our day-to-day business – which actually makes us and our people the weakest link in even the most robust cybersecurity setup.Continue Reading