Whilst many of us are likely to have worked from home at some point in recent years, facilitated by the spread of dynamic working and growth of communications technology, not as many are likely to have operated in this way for a sustained period of time. Even fewer are likely to have worked from home at the same time as family members and housemates, as is now the case as the global health crisis of 2020 unfolds.
Whether you are newly adjusting to this new way of operating, or are a seasoned homeworker, the situation is throwing up a whole range of challenges. To help you with getting adjusted, we have put together some top tips for our top tips for working from home… when you’re not alone.
1. Plan your day
If you are working from home, it is useful to plan out your day and set yourselves tasks to complete before your working day is up. Working from home grants you the opportunity to be flexible with your working day. Buffer carried out a survey on the State of Remote Work in 2019 and discovered that a flexible schedule was the most beneficial element to remote working, with 40% of respondents stating this was the biggest benefit to them.
If you are working with others in the house, it is much easier to get distracted by a multitude of things. Plan out your day and make sure you stick to it, and you are likely to find it easier to keep your productivity levels up.
2. Plan your child’s day
If you have children and you expect them to be with you whilst you are working from home, you may be concerned about the various challenges this brings. Do not be afraid to voice your concerns to your employer; many others are in the same boat and it is may well be that they will already have a policy on how to handle the situation which could involve flexible hours or other adjudgments.
Although your child or children may take a couple of days to get into their new routine, it is important you make one for them from the outset. Set out games, learning time, a lunch hour, and any other forms of entertainment to keep them busy and stimulated while you work.
3. Seek help from family members
The Government has made it clear that you should not ask your elderly relatives to help to look after your children at this time. However, if you have relatives that live nearby that maybe are not able to work from home due to their profession or have more capacity to look after children, it could be worth seeing if they would consider operating as emergency childcare? This will help to lighten the load and give you the time you need to get work tasks finished.
4. Separate yourself when you need to
Having company when you work from home can be great, but too much contact, especially if you live in close quarters, can be stressful and overwhelming. Although a lot of people do live in small flats or houses, it is important to find some alone time when you need it. Try moving to another room for as long as you need, and make sure you swap this with who you live with so you can both be as comfortable as possible.
5. Take regular breaks and conversate
It is important to take regular breaks when you work from home. When you are in the office, you will regularly be taking breaks away from the screen to speak to your colleagues, attend meetings, amongst other things. Be sure to do this when you are at home, as it is easy to get stuck to your screen all day.
Chat with your relatives or flatmates about things other than work, to maintain your work life balance. According to the Buffer survey, one in five homeworkers struggle with switching off and maintaining boundaries between work and home life. Clocking off at the end of the day is important, as tasks carried out when you are tired are never going to be your best work – and could well lead to burnout after a sustained period of over-working.
6. Make use of your headphones
In the current climate, lots of businesses will be making the most out of video technology to host meetings and catch ups between the teams. It is important that you are engaged with these meetings so that you can make the most out of them. Using headphones can mean that you are able to be fully immersed in your meeting, even if the people you live with also have video meetings on throughout the day.
7. Be conscientious
Further from our previous tip, it may occur that you have online meetings happen at the same time as your housemates or family members who are also working from home. Make the people you live with aware of your scheduled meetings at the beginning of the day so that they know they need to be out of the room or quiet during that period.
It is important to be flexible with your meeting requirements and to be conscientious of the others in the household. Not only will this keep harmony between you all, but it will mean that you can both make the most out of the working day.
8. Keep a tidy household
It is clear that the environment that you are in affects your mood and those around you as well. Be sure to keep a clean and tiny household, especially if your living space is smaller in size. This will keep the mood up of everyone in the household and decrease the risk of feeling bogged down by housework or getting distracted because you need to get it done. Do the housework in the morning or as soon as you clock off, to feel the most productive in both your personal and professional life.