10 tips for how you can work better in the ‘new normal’
Many of us have been working from home (WFH) for well over a year and a half now and at the start of lockdown, everyone had their own way of getting through what we initially thought would be a short home office stint. Whether that was in the shed, dining room, or on the sofa or bed. The very nature of combining professional and private spaces has thrown up new complications we never saw coming. While some of us have embraced this unusual situation, others, not so much. Now, as it becomes clearer that WFH is (cliché incoming) the ‘new normal’, many of us may struggle to cope with the long-term effects of this on our lives.
In May, we asked several Zzoommers what they were doing to keep busy throughout lockdown. Many months on, and with many companies across the UK embracing and strengthening working from home policies and support, we thought it would be helpful to check in with the team and see what they’ve been doing to improve their WFH life balance. Check out their top 10 tips below:
10. We know it’s great not having the commute but try to set your alarm for the time you would usually get up to travel anyway. This gives you that extra time to have breakfast, talk to your loved ones, watch the news (if you really want to) or catch up on some exercise before starting the day.
9. Pause between work and cooking the evening meal to read an article or a book as you might have done previously on your homeward commute. It’s important to remember that your commute helped your brain transition from working to relaxing. So, although your physical commute might be a thing of that ‘pre-covid’ world, keep up the mental transition. From reading that magazine or listening to a podcast for 20 minutes after work, anything to get you into ‘home time’ mode will help you relax.
8. If you don’t have a dedicated home office or desk, put your laptop and work notebooks in a bag and out of sight at the end of each day, and especially on the weekends. You’ll be less tempted to have a quick check of your emails or finish that report if your laptop is out of sight. It’s easy to justify logging in again when your set-up is ready to go, but not so much if you’ve got to get everything set up again. This is especially helpful if you’re working in the same room that you normally relax in.
7. Take stock of what alerts you’re receiving from your devices. The key to effective working from home is prioritising what alerts you need and what are just distractions. How many coats can you really be interested in on eBay?
6. It’s good to maintain regular hours and have clear guidelines when to call it a day. Eating breakfast at a regular hour daily, taking a routine lunch break, and logging off at the same time, marking the end of the day supports that separation between work and play. You could even establish an end of work horn to sound on your phone to signal that you shift is over (there’s an app for that). On that note, work phones get turned off at the weekend or WFH becomes working from shops, bars, pubs or car.
5. Socialising virtually with colleagues will help you to stay connected so try to be on camera when you have video calls, it helps your colleagues connect with you when you’re talking and vice versa. Just like emails, sometimes tone can be hard to gather from just a phone call so on those important chats with the boss or colleagues being on video will make everyone a lot more comfortable and the messages come through clearer.
4. It’s easy to think of all the things we’re saving time and money on whilst working from home – no meal deals, less petrol, not buying that weekly train ticket. But just remember that we may be missing out on those workplace social interactions where we connected with colleagues & friends at lunch or had some me-time. It’s important not to lose that now you’re WFH. Does your work allow you to work remotely from, say, coffee shops? Many workplaces are now changing their rules on remote working so meeting a colleague for a few hours to work in your local high street coffee shop can be a nice break away from the four walls of your home. Just stay safe and follow the local measures in your areas.
3. It’s so important to get changed at the end of the day into comfortable “at home” couture, whether that’s loungewear, top and tails or even your PJ’s, it helps go from work mode to chill mode and separate your personal world from the professional vision that you present.
2. Take your breaks as you normally would and leave your desk. Go for a walk, sit in the garden and listen to a podcast or just try to move around outside. The fresh air is good for you, it will help clear your mind and maybe even help you solve some problems on a project. And remember exercise is mandated by the government so it’s your civil duty!
1. Make sure you have the bandwidth to manage all your connected devices. The last thing you need is to be fighting for data with your laptop and your partner on the PS4, (especially with that important work presentation). Don’t ‘make-do’ or struggle like you may have done during the lockdown, WFH is here to stay so invest in high-quality services to make your WFH a breeze, keep you looking sharp on those calls and getting the job done as you did previously in an office.
What else do you do? Share your top tips for WFH on our Facebook or Instagram and we we’ll share these with the Zzoomming community. Remember we’re all in this together.
So, try some of these tips, get the bandwidth you need and make sure you can work from home better than ever before.
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