Top tips for working from home and keeping it time-effective

Since the outbreak of covid, working from home has become the new norm for a lot of us. However, adjusting to this new way of life can take some transitioning and time, so we have put together some tips to help manage your time best whilst working from home.

You may be finding it difficult to concentrate with new distractions whether it be a needy pet, uncomfortable desk or even just low morale. It’s important to make sure that your morale is prioritised as this can have detrimental effect on your work and, more importantly, your mood.  

Set up a workstation

Depending on space in your home this can be a tricky one, however, you should set up a dedicated area to be your workstation. You should sit properly at a desk (not in bed or slouched on the couch!) ensuring your back is properly supported and you’re not straining your eyes. Equally as important you need to be able to shut down and leave the workstation when you have finished working so you’re not tempted to ‘send a quick email’. Again, this can be difficult if you are short on space and don’t want to constantly pack and un-pack work items, one idea is to get a cover and ‘hide’ the workstation under it. It may sound silly but being able to disconnect from work is incredibly important for your mental health.

Keep a routine and take regular breaks

Adjusting to a new schedule is hard, they say it takes 2 months to make something a habit so creating and settling into a new routine isn’t easy. Nevertheless, you would be in a routine of wake-up, get ready, commute, work, lunch etc otherwise so why not at home? Instead of your commute time you could make a healthy breakfast, do a chore, maybe even an exercise video. Take advantage of getting that time back, it’s most certainly worth it.

It also goes without saying that you should be taking regular breaks when you are working from home. It can be easy to fall into the trap of working through lunch to get things done, but in the long run this could make you suffer. Go and make a cup of coffee, check the news or just sit somewhere else for 10 minutes.  

Set yourself daily to-do lists

Though this may seem obvious, what you plan to do in the workplace and when working from home can often be altered. You may choose to complete your tasks in a different order or perhaps some of your deadlines have become more pressing than others. It may be worthwhile to make yourself a list of tasks to complete for each day allowing you to keep on top of your projects throughout the week.  

Stay on top of small tasks

This may seem not too dissimilar from the above, however it can be very easy to forget about small tasks in times like these which can eventually build up. Prioritise what you have to but don’t forget to make note of smaller, less pressing tasks to avoid a bigger stress when you are faced with them all at once. 

Create new communication habits

The biggest difference between office and home is the inability to walk over to a colleague’s desk and ask a question, however if you were that colleague who was always getting asked questions this is probably a perk for you. That being said, it’s also very easy to fall out of the habit of regular communication with your team and manager, this can ultimately lead to feeling disconnected and effect motivation. Set up a weekly teams call with your manager, the team and one for everyone, you can set up more if you feel is needed but one for each should be a minimum to sustain. Also remember to include time in the meeting that’s just for general chit-chat, as you would in work.

Limit distractions

Yes, this is definitely easier said then done, especially if there’s small children in the home but distractions come in different ways and can easily disrupt work. There are some things you can implement to limit distractions –

  • Maintain a clear and clean desk/working environment
  • Put a whiteboard/sign outside your door advising of meetings or other notes that tell who you live with when you can be disturbed.
  • Communicate with housemates/partners/children of expectations when working from home.
  • Organise your calendar
  • Avoid noise distractions, music may help you concentrate but that soap on the tv in the background certainly won’t – turn it off.
  • Do have lunch away from your desk, if you try and be chained to the desk you’ll come to hate it. Plus, studies have shown lunch away from your desk is good for your mental health.

Stay sociable

A less work-related theme, but just as important. Working from home can be very lonely at times and so it is important to keep balanced social life. Keeping sociable is great for morale and positivity and can really boost your productivity.

You may want to –

  • Reach out to someone for a quick conversation, such as a friend or family member.
  • Make plans for the weekend.
  • Book events/plans ahead of time to give yourself something to look forward to.


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