So, we’re almost two years on from The First Ever Lockdown when we shared with you our Tools to Help You with Working From Home, and guess what? We’re BACK to working from home once more!
This time two years ago, we never would have dreamt of being back in this situation in 2022 and we have to admit, we are pretty gutted. We’re all missing our fun and lively office, natters with the SoPro Team, and face-to-face client meetings – but, we are remaining positive! We are so lucky that we are all safe and well, and are able to do our jobs from home – even if it is a little lonely!
So, we wanted to share with you all we have learnt two years on, and hopefully make your work from home experience happier and more productive!
Our top tips for working at home:
I don’t know about you, but at Social Progress, we are so used to being in a lively workplace. There is often a dog or two wandering around, a Zoom meeting in progress, and lots of friendly chat withthe SoPro team. Though it may be quieter and sometimes more free from distraction at home (though maybe less so for SoPro Stacey who’s got a 1-year-old to keep her on her toes!), we THRIVE off bouncing ideas off each other and sharing expertise.
At home, it’s not quite as easy or natural to ask the team a quick question, and there’s definitely less personal ‘what did you all get up to last night’ chat, but we’ve learnt that communication is key! Our reliable friends WhatsApp and Zoom, have been keeping us connected these past couple of weeks, and we honestly don’t know what we’d do without them.
Whether we’re needing a second opinion on something we’ve created, some expert advice from other members of the team, or just a friendly bit of company, keeping in touch is essential for both our productivity and mental well-being.
2. HAVE A PROPER SET UP
I’m sure when the first work from home guidance was announced, a fair few of us had visions of curling up on the couch with a laptop on our knee and a cup of tea in the other, but the truth is, that kind of set-up is both unhealthy and surprisingly uncomfortable too!
For work from home success, we cannot recommend enough that you have a proper desk set-up, as close as possible to your office station. Before Christmas, we were all encouraged to take home laptops, keyboards, monitors, and anything else we needed to get properly set up with a functional working environment. I for one, can no longer function with just a laptop screen after growing so used to working across a laptop and monitor, and would really have struggled working from home without a monitor and keyboard set up.
Your work from home set up might not be so elaborate and you may be completely fine working on just a laptop. But even if this is the case, make sure you have somewhere you can sit and work without it being placed on your knee with your back hunched over.
If possible, we recommend not setting your at-home-office up in your bedroom or living room. Even though you are working from home, you still need to maintain a work/life balance and be able to switch off at the end of the day. Keeping your work-gear out of your bedroom and living spaces helps you to set a barrier between work-mode and chill-mode.
3. STICK TO A ROUTINE
When you’re working from home, it can be so easy to fall out of your usual routine, and start working odd hours here and there. We’ve all done it – ‘I could do with getting this finished today so I’ll just work half an hour extra’ or even, ‘I’ll take a 15 minute break now and just finish 15 minutes later’, but this leads to unhealthy work patterns and a lack of stability.
Though it’s tempting to sleep in and get up ten minutes before you should be starting work, it’s important to stick to your normal sleep and work schedule. This removes the stress of managing your work/home time, makes it easier to stay consistent (our bodies love a regular routine!), and ultimately will make it a much easier transition when we start going back into the office.
So, why not try using your commute time to do some exercise, read a book, or whatever makes you happy, before logging on and starting your work day. And just as importantly, when your work day comes to an end, shut down your computer and stop working, just as you would if you were working in the office. Don’t be tempted to go back to it after hours!
4. GO OUTSIDE
Working from home not only cuts out your time in the office, but also the daily commute to and from work, your lunchtime stroll to the sandwich shop, and any coffee-shop catch ups with clients. Before long, you can end up realising you haven’t actually left the house in days!
Getting outside is so important for your mental (and physical!) wellbeing, with many studies proving people feel calmer, more energised, and happier after being outside. Stepping away from your desk for a short walk can also increase your productivity, forcing you to switch off for a while and come back in with a new focus and fresh pair of eyes.
So instead of rolling out of bed and starting work, why not use your usual commute time to go for a wander before sitting down at your desk for the day? Or next time you’re having a mental block and realise you’ve been staring at the same blank page for ten minutes, take some time out and come back to it, even if just to walk around your garden – chances are, you’ll still get the job done quicker than if you’d have just sat there staring at it instead!
5. HAVE FUN
If you think about an average day at the office, I’m sure it’s not all doom and gloom! It’s likely that you have a catch up and bit of banter with your work pals, and find time to break away from your desk to put a pot of coffee on and maybe share some cake!
It’s important to keep smiling and not put too much pressure on yourself when you’re working from home – there’s enough stress going on in the world as it is! As long as you’re still able to get the job done, a break and a laugh is probably just what you need.
So, don’t take it too seriously when you’re working from home or feel the need to spend every minute between 9am and 5pm sat at your desk to be productive. There’s still plenty of time for a bit of banter and lots of laughs when working from home – and if you don’t believe us, just take a look at some of the pictures shared in our team WhatsApp chat this week…!
If you’ve learnt any more working from home tips over the last couple of years, we would love to hear them! Head to our social media pages to share your top tips with us.