Up until recently, working from home is something few workers had experienced, particularly for an extended period of time. Now, for many, it is part of a hybrid working structure or even full-time for some employees. The world has adapted to a diverse way of working; however, many people are still not utilising their space to its full capability.
Your working from home setup is key, as you want to be able to differentiate your work environment from your home. Having the correct equipment and practices can make all the difference to your mindset and your ability to focus whilst away from the office. Our best-practice tips mean you are well-equipped for whatever working setup you are facing!
Tools for working from home
Ensuring you have the correct software installed is key. This is what connects you to the rest of your team whilst working separately. Video conferencing software means you can easily meet, collaborate, and work alongside your team, even if you are not physically with them. It is important you get to grips with how this work prior to working from home as your IT specialist may not be as easily available. If you can, you should also test any other software you use to ensure it is compatible with your home Wi-Fi. This is particularly important if you will be relying on video conferencing software to connect with colleagues or any other form of online chatting.
Of course, you can install more software as time goes on to suit the needs of your role. But, when first working from home, it is important to be content with the basics. At Virtual First, our customer success managers are on hand from the start. We guarantee that you will have continuous IT Support to meet the ever-demanding need for technical resources.
When you’re working from home, many things which you had at your disposal in the office may not be available at home. Offices predominantly provide workers with laptops, which come with a trackpad mouse. However, these don’t often work as well as we hope! Ensuring you have a functional and easy to use mouse and keyboard is essential. They are the elements of hardware that we take for granted but are used the most frequently throughout the day. If you are not happy with your current equipment, you should raise this with your manager to ensure you can work to the best of your ability.
Moreover, your desk setup is crucial for a comfortable working environment. You should consider the position of your desk and the height it is, so you are not putting any unnecessary strain on yourself. Some people prefer to have a desk that they can stand at to ensure they are looking after their back. If this is not an option, you should aim to have a chair that provides optimal comfort. This could be in the form of back support, having the armrests at a certain height, or whatever else suits your needs.
An ideal working from home setup has multiple screens, so you are not squinting whilst trying to manage numerous different tasks. This would also allow you to collaborate efficiently if you are presenting or sharing a screen for a demonstration. Dual monitors increase your productivity as you can achieve more. Moreover, the time it takes to do things is drastically reduced, as you have more options at your disposal, and you don’t have to keep going in and out of things. Furthermore, if you are having regular meetings, it will become increasingly easier to take notes as you go. Through this, you can still see your colleagues and feel like you are part of the team, whilst taking notes or fact-checking as you go.
Working from home habits
Having a schedule can really improve your productivity and happiness when working from home. It gives you something to stick to and rely on when you may not necessarily have colleagues around you. If you aim to achieve certain things throughout the day, you are able to track your achievements. For example, if you know at the same time every day you will catch up with your colleagues, then you can plan what notes you will be taking to that meeting and what you hope to get out of it. Also, if you plan with your colleagues or manager that you will have a piece of work completed by a certain time, you more likely will.
The structure of your day can also really help. For example, starting the day with a shower can get you in the right mindset. You should schedule regular breaks where you move away from your working area and do something else for 5 minutes. If you find this difficult to stick to, you could try setting an alarm on your phone as a reminder to get up and do something different, or you can plan something in your break that you enjoy. Doing something for your lunch break can also really help to break up the day! Even though these are things you likely did during your usual working day, this is more important than ever to differentiate from your home environment.
When working from home, it is important to still take part in regular exercise. This is crucial for your productivity levels and your mental well-being. It can feel very repetitive being in the same environment for too long, so you should schedule regular exercise intervals. This could either be a walk before, during or after work, a short workout session, or even some yoga. The key thing is to engage in regular movement to keep your brain occupied, release endorphins and encourage productivity. Exercise is proven to boost your mood! So it’s really important that you keep doing things which make you feel positive alongside your workload.
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It is important to regularly keep in touch with your colleagues so you feel connected and are all on the same page with tasks. This can also fit in with planning your schedule, so you are aware of the time you need to put aside. This could be either work-related or personal! The aim is to connect with your colleagues to still a closeness to those whom you are working with. Moreover, when working from home, you may find you are not talking to people as often as you once were. So, to avoid feeling lonely or disconnected, it could be an idea to schedule daily catch-ups with your team. This also gives you a tangible part of your work routine where you know you will be connecting with others.
A trend that is here to stay
It is worth investing in a working from home setup you are comfortable with, as it is a trend that is here to stay. There are also many benefits of working from home, such as saving money on commuting, reducing your carbon footprint and freeing up time so you can have a better work-life balance. However, you do miss out on the office comradery which will often make your working life more enjoyable too. If you can get a mix of both, that would be ideal! Get in touch for more assistance with a hybrid working routine. Our experts are always on hand to help!