Article by Denise Gallagher
If you are now working from home and your company has a WFH policy, then make sure you follow that closely. It is like any other policy and should be strictly followed.
Get into a “work mindset”. Get up at the same time you normally would and get yourself dressed. It doesn’t have to be into “work clothes” (unless you will be involved in video conferencing) but get showered and dressed ready to start your day. Use what would be your commute to get some fresh air, whether that’s dropping kids at day care (while it’s still open), grabbing a coffee at the local café (take away only), going for a short walk or even going into the garden to hang up some washing.
Just because you’re at home it doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. In the morning, establish what needs to be done for the day and write a list. Cross things off the list as they get done and by the end of the day you can see how much you have achieved and how productive you have been.
It might not always be possible but try and stick to the hours you would normally work. If you normally finish at 5pm then turn the computer or laptop off and pack up what you’ve been doing for the day. If you have a home office, close the door and leave the room. If you are working in a temporary workspace (i.e. the dining room table) then put everything away. Get into the mindset that you are finished work for the day and you can get your dining room table back for the purpose it is intended! Again, like in the morning, use what would have been your commute time to go outside and get some fresh air. Pick the kids up, go to the shop to pick something up for dinner, go for a walk, run, cycle. Use this time to wind down from might have been a busy and/or stressful day.
Occupational health and safety
For many people the idea of working from home seems impossible but you would be amazed at how easy it is to work from home these days. Most people have a laptop or computer. Get in in touch with an IT specialist (if you don’t already have one at work) and they should be able to assist you to work remotely. They can transfer files from your PC or hardrive onto laptops or into Dropbox (just one example) where all staff have access to them and can work remotely and still have access to your files/systems that you use. A lot of correspondence can be done via email now but you still may need to print and post mail (like us!). It might be an idea to visit Officeworks and stock up on some stationery. You may need a printer, paper, envelopes and stamps.
Set up an established workspace. Whether it be in an office, study, spare bedroom or even the dining room table. Keep your workspace clean and tidy. You may be used to working in a much larger space and now you only have a small space to work with. The important thing is to be organised and know where everything is. A messy workspace will have an impact on your productivity and don’t have files and boxes and equipment lying around that you could trip over.
Start working at the time you would normally start work. Touch base with the people you would normally work in the office with. Just like you would say hello or wish everyone a good morning. Have a conference call with them or drop them an email. Staying in contact with the people you work with is important. Not only from a communication and working point of view but for your mental health so you don’t feel isolated. Use an instant messaging system like Microsoft Teams so you can chat throughout the day, the same way you may chat to your colleagues throughout the day whether it’s about something you’re working on or whether it’s about the footy or MAFS!
Schedule breaks. Set a timer if you need to. Stop for a coffee/tea break in the morning and afternoon for 10 minutes and step away from the computer. Go and stretch your legs or pop out for some fresh air. If you have the time, stop and take a proper lunch break. Again, go outside, go for a walk, pop to the shop or put your feet up and read your book or watch your favourite television program. Once you head back to your workspace you’ll feel more refreshed.
Privacy and confidentiality
You need to bear in mind that although you are working from home you may be dealing with confidential matters and you need to be careful not to leave them lying around where people coming into your home could have access to them. It might be a good idea to invest in a shredder if needed so that anything you don’t need can be shredded instead of placed in a bin. You also need to ensure that the PC or laptop that you are working on has sufficient virus protection to protect your work. If you are going to be doing videoconferencing or Skype calls, be mindful of what is in the background or what could be seen by others. You don’t want confidential material to be on view. You also don’t want your breakfast dishes/laundry/kids toys to be in the background while trying to remain professional on an important videoconference call.
Keeping well mentally and physically
We are all mindful of what is going on in the world at the moment and many of us might feel worried or anxious. We all need to keep up to date with what is going on but it is also important for our mental health at the moment not be too consumed by what we are reading or watching. Take some time out whether it is during the day or in the evening to read, watch or listen to something other than the current situation that is happening around the globe. Watch your favourite sitcom, watch your favourite blogger online, read an uplifting book, or listen to music on Spotify or Youtube. Just try to take a small of amount of time each day to take your mind away from what is going on in this crazy world at the moment and focus on something that will put smile on your face, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. 😊 For our mental break and a bit of a laugh, we choose to follow Celeste Barber on Instagram.