If you're working from a spare bedroom, or a separate office, or even your own bedroom, it's really important to make sure that space is clutter-free and you can focus. So, that's step one – Declutter.
Make your workspace as work-friendly as possible. This will also stop you from getting distracted. I do not recommend working from your bed as this needs to be kept separate for your sleep. Your brain will start associating your bed with work.
And I also don't work on the couch, because I advise working at a desk, a table, something along those lines and now that a lot of us are stuck at home, it's really important to keep your rest spaces for exactly that rest. It's also much better for you in terms of being productive.
So remember too, if you're living with people who are also quarantined or work from home, you need to let them (respectfully of course) know that this is your work time.
2. RIGHT HEADSPACE
To be in work mode, I need to feel like I'm in work mode and I don't feel like I'm in work mode when I'm in my pajamas. It’s not like you need to get up and wear a suit. But having that routine of having a shower and getting ready for work really does help me to mentally prepare for a day of work at home.
And as I said before, it's really easy to get distracted. In the early days, I'd find myself doing “really relevant” stuff like having to sort out my pantry - you need to get yourself in a mindset that work time is for work and unrelated work
things need to happen before work or they need to happen after work. I read so many articles on how to be productive at home and this is the one tip that keeps coming up and that is: get yourself in the right mind space by getting ready. Whatever that means for you.
3. RIGHT SOFTWARE
You need to make sure you've got the right licenses and the right software that you need to attend meetings digitally. Make sure you check your company policies though - some companies have got really strict guidelines on what you can and can't download onto your work computer.
Personally, my absolute favourite virtual platform is zoom. It is fantastic and it's free to sign up. I've got the pro version, which is fabulous, but if you need a quick solution to attend a video meeting, it literally takes 30 seconds to sign up. What I love about it is I get my own personal meeting room and all I have to do is send a link to the person that I want to meet with. With the pro version, I can also hold group meetings, I can record them to the cloud, which is absolutely fantastic if I'm doing one-on-one coaching so I can film them and send them onto the person- you can use it on any device, iPhone, Androids, whatever.
Personally, I use a microphone because even though my computer and my phone has a built-in camera and audio, it is just so much better sound with the microphone. I think I bought mine from JB Hi-Fi and it was about $30.00.
The other good thing about Zoom is you can choose a virtual background. If you are in your bedroom or you've got kids running around in the background or what have you, you can impose this virtual batch background behind you and the person you're talking to isn’t going to get distracted by what's going on.
I also recommend if you're in a group meeting to mute yourself and press the space bar when you want to talk because dogs barking or kids laughing in the background is distracting. You don't want the rest of the team listening to that. Amber and I also really love to use Slack. It's really fantastic for sharing documents.
A few of my clients have recommended Microsoft teams, but what you need to do is investigate and find the one that's right for you. Ok, you’re at the halfway mark now, so if you're enjoying this video, please click the link below to get our free download of the ultimate cheat sheet on how to get a promotion, pay rise, or more perks at work.
4. UP YOUR INTERNET
So typically, home internet isn't as good as what you would get in an office scenario. And when I first started working from home, that was one of the things that I did really early on.
I upped my internet subscription because if someone else is watching Netflix, you don't want to be frustrated by your browser being super slow. Make sure you look at your package.
5. TAKE REGULAR BREAKS
What I do personally in the morning routine is in the time that I used to commute to work, I use that to ease in my day.
I do exercise, I play with my kids, I do some reading. I might do an online course, or have half an hour to myself where I can get breakfast and do whatever it is. And it's really important to, to stay off your phone during this time, particularly at the moment as it is so overwhelming, panicky and anxiety-inducing - all of the stuff that you need to be clearing your mind from.
Look, when you work from home, you can fall into the trap of planning your day around your next meal. And a bit of a warning, you do tend to eat a bit more when you're at home than you do at the office. So, scheduling proper meal breaks like you wouldn't if you're in the office is a really great tip here.
For me, when I used to work full time in an office, having people stop at my desk for a chat or going into the kitchen to get a coffee as an extrovert, that was a really big energy boost for me. When you're working at home as an extrovert, it can get pretty lonely. So, taking breaks to call a friend to say hello is really important.
For introverts who are happy not to talk regularly, I still recommend that it's really important to schedule regular breaks. I felt like if I kept up the routine that was similar to what I did when I was going to the office, it puts me in the mindset of a day at work and a good reason to take a break at the moment is, go wash your hands.
6. USE YOUR DIARY
Writing a to-do list is okay, but I found that actually blocking out times in my diary and calendar made me so much more effective at work. It helped me to stay focused on what I needed to be doing in that timeframe. I would block off times to work on specific projects and set reminders for important tasks.
7. ELIMINATE DISTRACTIONS
I found when I was working from home for some reason I got so much more easily distracted. Simple tips like turning off the email notifications when you are head down in something makes a huge difference.
And please, stay off social media, especially at the moment. It is a vortex that can suck you in for hours.
8. AVOID LONELINESS
Make sure you check in with your friends and your colleagues regularly.
Studies showed that after the SARS quarantine people showed signs of actual psychological distress and the highest reason was a sense of isolation. So those quick- “Hey, how are you going? Are you okay?” calls can really go a long way.
And you can also use this time to spend working on your networks. Are you connected to everybody you need to be on LinkedIn? LinkedIn is such a great platform at the moment, and you can use that time to make sure that you're building those corporate networks.
If you're feeling lonely, if you're feeling isolated, please do reach out to a friend during this crisis. Guys, be kind to yourself.
The P2P Learning and Development Academy will provide you with clarity and focus to maximise performance in your current role, as well as preparing you for the next role within your organisation and arming you for future career progression.
If you’re ready to get a raise, get a promotion or get more perks at work.