There is no doubt that home working is here to stay.. in some shape or form. The Covid 19 crisis has highlighted for many firms that they can function successfully without all their staff needing to be together all day. For several companies , notably in marketing & social media firms this ability to work successfully from home has been well known for some time. This back to work phase of the crisis will mean many offices, indeed like ours, will now have employees working from home for some of the their week.
There are several tried and tested success stories for making home working work. Whilst many of you have discovered these over the past few weeks the key points are as follows;
i) Find the quietest area of the house or apartment to work. The key being an area that doesn’t have obvious distractions...be it TVs, childrens play areas or open terraces used by other people. Guest bedrooms (albeit with no guests!)are obvious areas in apartments. Success is proven in those quieter areas where concentration is easier.
ii) Clean & permanent desk areas. The desk area needs to look & feel like a permanent work environment. This allows work to be engaged more quickly & shouldn’t be allowed to become cluttered with the chaos often witnessed in other areas of the accommodation. Old coffee cups need to be washed up & rubbish bins need emptying (!).
iii) Use plants & paintings to make the work area comfortable & enjoyable. The office area needs to be distinct so you do not associate it with negative thoughts. I have heard essential scents can help and certainly recommend regular airing, by opening windows. Proper regular cleaning helps too.
iv) Build lists. Many office workers and home workers become more effective by detailing lists of tasks needed daily. Actionable tasks become rewarding & tend to spur productivity. Motivation for some is definitely helped by this routine.
v) Have meaningful breaks built into your day. Whether it is proper coffee at 11am.BBC TV news at 1pm or walking around the block at set times you will feel refreshed by stepping out and away. Home working , like slow days in the office need injections of motivation & inspiration. Online WhatsApp & similar coffee areas for your colleagues & you to chat are also important. Something Zoom doesn’t easily do.
vi) Finally keep making suggestions & recommendations about your work to your colleagues. Working on your own doesn’t mean you have to be alone or forgotten about!