In a time where employers are becoming increasingly flexible to work to the needs of their employees, more Australians are making the change to work from home.
While moving away from a structured office environment into a home office sounds like a dream (what do you mean you can go to the post office during the day?!), it can be tough to transition into.
Here are some helpful tips to make sure your new chapter starts on the right foot.
1. Get in a rhythm rather than a routine
Having a routine makes sense when you work from an office. Working from an office usually offers a scheduled structure around your morning alarm, the train to work and your work hours because chances are they happen at the same time every day. When you work from home, what you need is a rhythm.
A rhythm is the free-spirited cousin of the routine. Where a routine will get you out the door when you need to, a rhythm takes advantage of your non-existent commute to ensure you’re setting yourself up right for that specific day.
Your rhythm will consist of all the same things but it allows you to be flexible in what will be most beneficial to you on any given mornings. If you want your morning walk to stretch to 40 minutes one day, and cut down to 5 minutes the next, having this rhythm allows you to work to what you need without the guilt of breaking a strict regimen.
2. Set boundaries
It’s easy for work time to bleed into personal time when you’re working from home. It starts with taking calls during the time you’ve designated for lunch and before you know it, you’re just-one-more-email-ing your way through dinner and late into the night.
A big part of transitioning into working from home is setting clear boundaries with your employer. Where you were once a glance away from knowing you’re hard at work, you now need to prove you’re on top of it from suburbs away.
- Be sure to have a thorough conversation with them on their expectations of you working remotely.
- What times will you be on and offline?
- How often do they expect to be updated on your work progress and what do they want to be updated on?
- Will they help cover your home office expenses or is that on you?
It’s easy to feel like they’re doing you a favour by letting you work from home but the reality is that this is a two-way street. Yes, they’re helping you out so you can spend more time with your family. But don’t forget that a happy employee produces the best work and if this is the best thing for you then it’s in their best interests to support the change.
3. Keep moving
A recent study by the Health Department shows that just 48% of 18-64-year-olds are meeting the recommended 30 minutes per day of physical activity which includes both intentional and incidental exercise.
Now that your daily commute is no longer, it’s important to ensure you’re moving enough every day to stay healthy.
Here are a few ways to increase the amount of incidental exercise during your workday:
- Include a walk in your morning rhythm
- Eat lunch outside, away from your work space
- Set an hourly timer on your computer to stand up and stretch
- Refill your glass of water from the tap, rather than pour from a jug at your desk
- Stretch your hands, neck and legs whilst at your desk. It’s important to note that while these movements might not be enough on their own, it does help to think about how incidental exercise can add up over time. Every movement counts.
4. Be social
We are more easily connected than ever before. Emails, instant messaging apps, collaborative to-do lists and project updates, there’s an endless supply of support for the remote worker.
While the thought of working free of interruptions from colleagues who ask quick-fire questions just as you get in the zone is very exciting – technology does not replicate in person contact so with time, it can start to feel extremely isolating.
Be sure to schedule regular catch-ups with friends and colleagues and consider going into the office for meetings where and if your schedule allows you. Your brain will thank you.
5. Set up a dedicated work space
There might not be a way to say this next sentence with enough emphasis that doesn’t involve bolded, capital letters. It’s tough. But here goes.
Do not work from your bedroom.
According to The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard University, working from your bedroom, which is meant to be a space for rest, can strengthen the mental association between work and rest time making it more difficult to relax at the end of the day.
No matter how great you are at your job, work can get stressful sometimes. It’s a normal part of life and something we all have to deal with. So, when you’re planning your new work space, opt for the spare bedroom or dedicated space in the living room instead.
How do you find working from home? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.