The Westronpoint team are pros at working from home.
We’ve been a remote office for several years, and the way we work is efficient and productive. We use Microsoft Teams to communicate throughout the day, and tools like SharePoint and OneDrive for Business to share files and communications with our team and our clients. We create a dedicated Team shared space for every project so everyone has access and can contribute to the project information and so they get face time and share knowledge.
There are great benefits to your mental health and productivity that come with working out of your own personal space.
The benefits of working from home
- Reduced company overhead (rent, utilities)
- No commute
- Ability to control your work environment (noise, temperature, organisation, decor) for maximum focus, productivity, and happiness
- Flexible hours (this isn’t the case for all companies, but it’s one we enjoy!)
- 24/7 access to your garden or home gym
- Always home for package deliveries
- Wearing whatever’s most comfortable for the temperature
It sounds dreamy, and often it feels that way too. But working from home presents lots of challenges too that outside workplaces just don’t have. People often assume the temptation of TV or your phone are the only threats to productivity, but lots of other issues can arise.
Work from home challenges
- Constantly seeing things around the house that need doing (and doing them)
- Distractions like pets, children, and partners who need attention
- Skipping breaks because you can make a meal in your kitchen in five minutes
- Not taking sick days because as long as you can sit upright, you can work
- Working outside work hours because your work is RIGHT THERE
- Endless snacking because those are right there, too
- No reason to wear nice clothes, ever
- Becoming antisocial because it’s easier to stay in PJs after work
- Pets or family members wandering (or leaping) into video meetings
- Irritability toward loved ones or roommates who dare to use the home as a home during work hours
Some of the most common tips for working from home are things like keeping your phone out of reach, silencing notifications, defining your work hours, communicating well (and often) with coworkers, and being super conscious of when your camera and mic are on during video meetings.
I hope these tips will help anyone new to remote work – and those who already work from home but want to be even more successful.
Our top 8 work from home tips
When on non-video calls, put the call on speaker and move around. I also take a 15-minute run, rain or shine, at lunchtime to get fresh air and stretch my legs. I often take that time to listen to some kind of business or marketing audiobook.
2. FaceTime Family
Especially during this global situation, taking time to FaceTime family is important, both to break up the workday and to touch base with loved ones.
3. Establish a strong routine
It’s easy to get a bit complacent with routine when working from home, and wind up rolling out of bed and onto the computer. Prepare for the day as if you were going to work: have a shower, actually put on presentable clothing, even go for a short walk before work. It’s important to create a distinction between work and home life when the two intersect, and a strong pre-work routine can help.
4. Sit Up Straight!
Working in good alignment will help minimise bodily pains and improve your efficiency. Try placing multiple post-its around the workspace to remind yourself: “Watch your posture!”
5. Change your position
If you use a laptop, change up your work environment. I used to go out to Costa, but due to the current situation, a more stay-at-home option would be to change spots around your house – like your patio if it’s a nice sunny day.
6. Stay Focused
Ensure you take breaks and give yourself time to recharge. I recommend doing 30 minutes of focused work with a five minute break to get up and walk around. Also, a walk or run at lunch is a great way to break up the work day and get outside.
7. Set Goals
Create benchmarks to hit during the day, and fit your personal wellness activities around that. Go into a day knowing what needs to get done, and have a plan to accomplish it by a certain time. It can be easy to let your day expand and drift unless you stay very goal oriented.
8. Create Boundaries
Create an isolated space so that you can have total privacy from a roommate or significant other – if you can’t be separated by actual walls, put up a standing screen and wear noise-cancelling headphones. This will reduce your impulse to chat as thoughts come to mind that you’d normally send via messaging apps (like “what should we do for dinner?” and “the person next to me is chewing so loudly I can’t concentrate, oh wait, that’s you”).
The most important takeaway about becoming a remote worker is that you need to set yourself up for success. Whether you feel your best surrounded by plants and diffuser scents, or sitting on an exercise ball, or getting up once every hour to challenge yourself with a brain-teasing game – establish what works for you.