Home Office - Part II: Tips for employees
by Ilka Truelsen
Not only for employers, but especially for employees the switch to home office is a challenging task. How do you manage not to get into dispair while working from home? The following paragraphs will provide you with some important tips on how to maintain professional matters separate from personal ones while working from home.
Set up a permanent workplace at home.
With the purpose to maintain professional matters separate from the personal ones while working from home, it is essential to physically separate both areas. At first, it might seem comfortable to work at the dinning table, on the sofa or even in bed; in the long run, however, this is not practical and should be avoided. Instead, a quiet and comfortable space should be dedicated exclusively for work. The advantage of being at home is that you can design your own work space to literally make yourself feel at home while working.
Besides looking for a comfortable space, it is also recommendable to furnish your space with proper office supplies necessary to achieve your everyday work. If everything is at hand, you will be less tempted to leave your workplace otherwise personal distractions will keep you from working while searching for the item you need.
Establish specific office hours and stick to them.
When working from home it is easy to get distracted and mix personal and professional life, which is not at all helpful not only in terms of space but also in terms of time. It is recommended to set up a schedule according to your needs and share it with your superiors so that your availability is clearly defined.
Keeping to a self-set timetable may sometimes be challenging when working from home. Oftentimes, it is hard to stop what you are doing, mostly if you are in the middle of something, just because your working schedule has come to an end. Therefore, it is quite understandable if you occasionally overrun your schedule. Here, the important thing is not to get used to overrun your schedule. The best way to stick to your schedule is to write a to-do list of the most important tasks for the day and prioritize them in line with your daily workload.
Communication with colleagues.
Communication is essential in any work relationship, and this also applies to home office. In addition to the e-mail, the use of Skype or similar applications to maintain regular communication with colleagues is advised even when working from home. In particular, video conferences help to maintain personal contact in the best possible way.
Mobile phones, however, should be avoided as an everyday means of communication as they can be huge distractors and even more when working from home. Therefore, a good practice is to turn mobile phones off during working hours or otherwise be left in another room to avoid the temptation of getting carried away in personal conversations after chatting with a colleague via WhatsApp.
Dress as you would in the office.
Home Office might quickly tempt you to work in sweatpants or pyjamas. There is nothing wrong with working in comfortable clothes, however, in the long run, working routinely in pyjamas may impair your productivity. To switch to a “go to work“ mood while you are working from home it is helpful to dress accordingly.
This does not mean that you have to sit down in front of your desk at home wearing suit and tie or a glamorous dress. In fact, the perfect home office attire may and should be comfortable and, at the same time, different from your leisure clothes, something like “suitable for the office“, casual in the broadest sense.
Take regular breaks to keep yourself active.
Those daily journeys to and from work as well as those quick walks to the cafeteria or within the office are unavailable in home office. If your working space is restricted to a four-wall room, it is essential to combine your working time with some exercise. This does not mean that you have to go on long walks during lunch time. All you have to do is to take short breaks every 30 minutes, stretch your body, practice some stretching exercises, or even jump on the spot – there are no limits for creativity. A little exercise helps to clear your mind and be focused again.
Open the window regularly.
Breathing fresh air also helps concentration while working from home. Vetilation breaks can easily be combined with exercise breaks. Try a few jumping jacks at first, then breathe deeply in front of an open window and get your energy back!
As an employee, what are the challenges that you have faced while working from home and what has helped you to get through? We will be excited to hear about your experience!
Are you happy working from home, but dissatisfied with your job? Have a look at our job offers!