Working From Home Instead of the Office Can Take a Bit of Adjustment
Working at an office is great, you get to talk to colleagues, meet with interesting people and work on fabulous projects. Other bonuses of working in the city is that you can have lunch at a nice café, go shopping or even stay after work and have drinks with mates.
Another big plus is working somewhere different from your house, as it gets you out of comfort zone and makes you explore the world. That said, there are many benefits and wonderful things that a home office brings that a corporate office does not. Now with coronavirus (COVID-19) the world has changed. Many or more like everyone has been asked to work from home. If you have never worked from home before, then this will be an interesting time, and one that might be a bit of an adjustment.
Find a Place for Your Home Office
If you already have an office at home, you’re winning already. If you don’t then you will need to create a space where you can have a laptop or your desktop computer without being in the way of anything or anyone.
One concern about setting up a home office is if you have a small house. Some suggestions for this are to use the living room or your bedroom, not ideal but will work during the current COVID-19 emergency. Setting up your laptop on a kitchen bench is a great idea for a low-cost stand up desk – just adjust the height with some books to make it stable.
Setting up The Perfectly Cosy Home Office
What do you really need? We have provided you a quick list of just the essentials to get you started. But offices aren’t just about practicality (although that is a basic requirement) – you need a space that inspired you!
So here are the basic items:
- A desk
- Laptop/desktop computer
- Internet Connection – NBN or broadband would be ideal or your can hotspot your phone to your laptop
- Set up all your apps for work at home – make sure that you can access all applications that you need for work, and everything is working. If in doubt contact your IT department or Manager.
- Stationery – notepads, pens, pencils, diary and planner if needed
- Posters/pictures to personalise your space if you wish
If you don’t have a dedicated room or space for a home office, you can set up in your living room.
Nice things to have in the office that Aren’t Essential
Seeing you spend so much time in your office it is nice to add a few nice touches. Here are a few of my suggestions:
- Aromatherapy Diffuser
- Shiatsu Electric Leg Massagers
- Magazine Holder to keep clutter off your desk.
- Artificial Plants for a bit of greenery
Setting Up Your Office in Your Lounge Room
Get an office Lap Desk (I have this one and find it fabulous for when I want to take my work outside or while watching TV) or get a laptop tray desk that will allow you to work from a
bed or anywhere.
Once you have your laptop tray, you can add your mobile and now your mobile home office
is ready for work.
You can take your tray, computer and phone anywhere!
What to do if you have kids at home?
If you need to do work and you have children, then it is a good idea if your partner can look after the children for a bit. If your partner needs to work later, you can swap and spend time with the kids. This way both of you get some time to do some much needed work and have some down time too. Make sure that you give kids something to do while you are working: Playdough, drawing,
watch a favourite show, play an educational game on the iPad or if they are older they can read a book and do work that has been set from their school.
Note: If they are drawing or playing with playdough it is wise to check on them, they might decide to decorate the living room or other furniture with their artwork. This has happened to me before – I had crayon all over the lounge covers, thank god they could be removed and cleaned.
Schools are giving all children the ability to do their schoolwork remotely; Google Classroom, Google Docs, and Mathletics to name a few applications that the kids are using. If you don’t have any of the logins for the kid’s applications contact your teachers. Schools are still open and will be happy to give you this information.
Other Great Ways to Keep Kids Occupied at Home
Apart from doing their online school work – it is important to give the kids a bit of a mental break, this time is stressful for them as well. Grab out some board games or packs of cards. I taught my boys how to play solitaire yesterday and they have spent hours playing.
My suggestions are as follows:
- Teach them card games
- Yahtzee is fantastic because it is maths!
- Scrabble (is spelling and English)
- Jigsaw puzzles take ages and are good for small motor skills and patience
- Monopoly (maths and life)
- Download a kids book on Audible and play it to the kids (mine love Harry Potter)
The Benefits of Working from Home
Depending on your hours and agreement from work you might start the day earlier or later. You can drop kids off at school and pick them up and then make up hours later that night or the next day. However, in the current climate your kids might be at home due to the current health crisis with COVID-19. If your kids are home, working might be trickier but can be done.
Do what you can and don’t stress about it.
- No travel to get to the office and you can concentrate on work. This benefit is my favourite, I love not having to race anywhere to be at work.
- It is nice to be in a quiet place and to finally concentrate on an issue, no phone calls and no one visiting your desk to ask about anything or everything.
- Ability to stay in your PJ’s if you don’t have any online meetings.
- You will be more relaxed and believe me you will get more done in your home office.
Some Drawbacks with Working at Home
You will still be responsible for the house even though you are working…yes sad but true. In this time of self-isolation getting a cleaner is not ideal so it is up to you. Maybe you can teach kids a lesson on helping and caring by letting them help with the housework. It’s a school subject, right?
Some people might not believe you are working, and you will need to educate your family about what you need and the times you cannot be interrupted. However, interruptions happen, and you just have to go with the flow. Employers know that this is an unprecedented crisis. If the work gets done, you communicate with your team and manager, all should be okay.
How to Keep in Contact with your Team
Technology has made remote work possible and there are many ways to keep in touch with
- Google Docs and Google Drive
Tips to Work from Home Effectively & Successfully
With the fact that the world has gone crazy due to COVID-19 having some time to relax and focus before you start the day is a good idea.
Meditate to start the day – I like to do some mediation or have some quiet time before I start my day. This sets me up to be more focused and able to react to any issues that occur.
Make sure to get up at your normal time – Take a shower and get dressed like you are going to work. This will help you get into the mindset that you are ready for work and feel better
too. Remove distractions on your computer and phone – Close browser windows and turn off notifications for apps to allow you to concentrate on your work. You can use an app like Forest which helps you to stay focused and productive.
Tell family and friends that you are busy at certain times – Set up expectations for others about your time and availability. Some people feel that if you are at home you are not busy. f you tell people when are available, then you can talk and be with them at this time.
Remember to take breaks regularly – When you work from home you don’t have anyone telling you to stop or even when you should have lunch, your time is up to you. Make sure to stop every hour to give your eyes a rest and to look at something else (too much screen time will hurt your eyes – it is a advisable to go outside and look at trees/nature and to just break your day up a bit).
When you have a break, get up and walk around, do a few simple stretches and make sure to be away from your desk and phone for a little bit.
Lunch – Set a time that you down tools to make yourself some lunch and take a break. Have your schedule set up in your google calendar that 12-1pm is your dedicated lunch hour. Make a sandwich, eat it outside or put your favourite show on and relax for a while.
No fancy café lunches anymore…you could get creative and have anything that you wish, just as long as you can make it at home.
Keep in contact with your team members – Make sure that you keep in contact with your team. This helps you feel that you are not on your own. Hold weekly team meetings or quick catch ups. If you need to talk to someone, an email or quick phone call is a good idea and would be welcomed from others during this time of uncertainty.
Just make sure you’re not like Jennifer…
If you do have a face to face conference with your team, make sure to dress nicely and don’t use the bathroom. I don’t know who thinks that this is a good
idea…What were you thinking Jennifer!
There is no way to know how long the coronavirus health crisis will last, some say six months and others have listed eighteen months. We all need to do our part to keep everyone safe. If we can, we should be working from home.
Make sure to look after your mental health, sometimes working from home is hard when you are used to being with a team of people.
Take a break, take a walk around the block (making sure you are adhering to the social distancing guidelines), and take care of you and your family.