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Tips for Working at Home

Working from home

If you’re struggling to adapt working from home, you’re certainly not alone. Like most of us, you’ll be used to getting up on a morning and heading into work – enjoying the human interaction with your work colleagues whether that be grabbing a quick chat by the coffee machine, bumping into each other in the car park or catching up before you delve into your team meeting. Here are a few tips to help you keep your focus during the Coronavirus outbreak - we hope they help!

Tips for working from home

  1. Create a new morning routine

Now you aren’t commuting into work (lots of cheers for saving money on petrol!), while your routine should in theory not change too much, don’t under estimate what your “drive time” to work gave you. Although we are very lucky to have short commuting times on the Isle of Man, the 20 minutes or so that it would take you to get to work offers you a period of time to get yourself mentally prepared for work and the day ahead of you. Working from home in some respects, doesn’t do this, particularly if you roll out of bed and turn your computer on to start working straight away!

To try and keep yourself motivated and in a routine, the best thing to do is to get yourself up as normal, have a shower, get dressed, have your breakfast and if you have time, go for a walk to get some fresh air. Make yourself a tea/coffee while your laptop/computer is booting up and you’ll be ready for the day.

While we are not telling you how to dress, there are lots of articles and research you can read that suggests changing into something that is smart/casual, rather than wearing your PJ’s all day, makes you more productive as it sets you up for the day and you feel more like you are in a work environment. It is quite easy to sit at your laptop/computer and think “no one is going to see me today” but don’t forget, you may be asked to go on a video conference call so it’s better to be set up in case you get an unexpected call!

  1. Designate a work space

Most of us won’t have the room to create an office in our home so by creating a designated work space in your home is really important. It’s up to you where you work but finding somewhere quiet in your house where you can set up your laptop/computer is key, plus having the room for your note pad/other documents etc. is also important.

  1. Get organised/plan your workflow

It might seem obvious but deciding about what you’re going to do for the day isn’t always easy. One of the best things to do will be to speak to your line manager before the end of the day/or the very start of your morning, and write yourself a list of things you would like to get done by the end of the day. It will hopefully help you keep on track and stay focused with what you are doing.

  1. Communication

Speak regularly to your team – have phone calls/video calls, it will hopefully keep your spirits up and will help you feel less isolated. Use these facilities for both work and social interaction.

  1. Schedule regular breaks

Regular breaks are important for mental balance. When you are in work, a break comes in the form of a colleague stopping by or a trip to the coffee machine. While you are working from home, set up your alarm for regular breaks for meals, tea/coffee, or simply to get up from your seat and stand for a bit. Scheduling regular breaks will make you more productive.

  1. Transition out of work/end your day with a routine

Just like your morning routine, your end of day routine is just as important in order to help you switch off. Once you’ve finished for the day, log off and shut down your laptop/computer. Put your work things away as much as you can so they are out of the way which will hopefully enable you to switch off from your work. Go for a walk/do some exercise, chill and relax as you would normally.

Ways to stay focussed

We are going through a difficult time at the moment and it’s easy to worry and panic about the situation, whether that be you are worried about a loved one, your colleagues, or just generally what is going on. 

  • Try to remind yourself that this is a temporary period of isolation;
  • Remember that your effort is helping others in the community;
  • Stay connected with friends, family and colleagues via email, social media, or phone;
  • Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing;
  • Keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy foods;
  • Try to maintain physical activity;
  • While working from home, try to maintain a healthy balance by allocating specific work hours, and taking regular breaks;
  • Avoid news and social media if you find it distressing.
Peregrine Tiagnet ICAEW