Whilst working from home sounds like a dream come true- conjuring up images of being curled up on the sofa with endless cups of tea and your laptop, whether you do it full time or occasionally, you’ll know it actually takes a great deal of discipline and structure to be able to work effectively.
In 2019 with home working options on the rise from employers wanting to be able to offer flexible working, it’s imperative for all involved that the conditions in which an employee is expected to perform are optimal. Modern technology allows for work performance to be monitored constantly wherever you are and whilst this backs up the fact that home workers are equally, if not more, productive than office workers, there still needs to be a strong mutual respect and trust between employer and employee.
At Urbanberry, we work from home for the most part of the week and so feel we’re in a good place to dish out some of our top tips on how to achieve that work/life balance when the two are very close to merging together..
Get your game face on: We set alarms, get up, get dressed, put make up on and are ready for the day, every day. Sitting in pyjamas immediately sets the tone for a more “relaxed” day and a shower in the morning invigorates you for the day ahead. It’s important to mentally prepare for the day (which you may well have normally done on your commute) and this starts with how you see yourself.
Keep the boundaries clear: Work and home life can become blurred when you bring the office in to your living space. If you have a spare room to work from that’s perfect, set it up as a mini office where you know you are in there to work. If you don’t have a spare room, a seat at the kitchen table will do but make sure that’s your work space for the day and at the end of the day, move your laptop, file away your work securely and turn it back in to a communal area.
Some internet browsers also allow you to set up separate profiles for individual people with toolbars for each- why not set up a work profile as well as a home life one? Then keep all the tabs you need on your “work” toolbar profile and away from your personal stuff.
Keep a structured day: To do lists, email alerts and reminders, allocating specific time in the day for certain jobs- however you want to structure your day you can. But make sure you do it. Time can actually disappear when you work from home far more than it seems to in an office! We are always looking at the clock and saying “how on earth is it 3pm already?!!”. Benefits of working from home are that yes, you are there to receive the online shopping or be in when the decorator wants to come round to quote but factor those “meetings” in to your lunch break and you won’t be distracted during core hours of your day.
Don’t allow friends and family to call or disturb you because “you’re at home”: This is a big one. People think you’re available because you work from home and will text/call you regardless of time and how busy you are. You have to be strict and tell them you’re working, ignore messages until you take a break and keep any personal calls short and sweet. If you were in the office you’d be wary of how much time you were spending on your phone and it’s the same at home, it’s a huge distraction and one that can be easily rectified by not having your personal phone by your desk.
Take regular breaks: It’s tempting to sit in the same position for hours on end, tapping away at your emails and proving how hard you are working. But everyone NEEDS a break. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Open the back door, stand and get some fresh air for 5 mins, do some stretches and don’t forget to eat and drink! Lunch breaks are hugely important that you move from the work space, don’t sit there and scour the internet. We love slotting a bit of exercise in to the day, a workout DVD, a quick swim or body pump class. It means we come back for the afternoon energised and refreshed, avoiding the inevitable 3pm slump!
Stay connected with colleagues: Definitely don’t disappear off radar all day. Let everyone know you’re there in the morning, get involved in work related discussions (not gossip!) and call up a colleague to discuss your plans for the day or ask for advice. If your job is not one that normally requires you to be on the phone, you may start to get a bit of cabin fever if you don’t speak to anyone all day so be sure to stay part of the team.
Working from home is a way of life for us now and we feel we’re far more productive than we ever have been! Of course there are days when work feels harder than others but that’s going to happen wherever you are. The main thing is that you recognise if something isn’t working for you and do your best to change it..
If you’re thinking of changing jobs this year please contact Emma or Caroline at Urbanberry Travel Recruitment for an informal, discreet and friendly chat. We’re rapidly becoming a preferred supplier of many well established Travel Management Companies and you can trust that we genuinely do care about you and your career.