Taking breaks, cat-proofing your laptop, and keeping work hours: remote workers share their top tips on working from home.
It’s looking more and more likely that people across the UK will need to start working from home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. But while getting to work in your pyjamas from the comfort of your favourite chair might sound like a dream scenario to a lot people, it can be a bit of a shock to the system if you’re not used to it. Particularly if you work in a busy office environment surrounded by colleagues, working from home can feel isolating and make it harder to motivate yourself.
If you have unanswered questions about the coronavirus or want to know the facts behind the headlines, you can find everything you need to know about symptoms, spread and the recommended safety precautions here.We’ve also shared some tips on coping with the anxiety around coronavirus.
If you’re not used to working from home, or are worried about how it will impact your work, experts have come together on Twitter to share their useful tips on how to work best from home. From showering to snacking and blocking out noisy flatmates, here’s what they talked about…
Scientist and author Emily Lakdawall started the conversation by tweeting: “Friends, there are going to be a lot of people newly working from home starting this week, and it will be a difficult transition for some. *IF AND ONLY IF you are experienced at working from home*, please reply with tips for working effectively and avoiding distractions!”
Fellow scientist Sophia Gad-Nasr replied: “I work from home most of the time anyway. My advice:
• stay away from the TV
• if your bed triggers nap mode, work in the living room. If not possible, fill room with LIGHT (natural, or desk lamp)
• keep your phone on another desk and put on silent for the hours you plan to work.”
She added: “More tips (especially if you live with someone else):
• wear headphones and listen to music to block out external noise
• if music doesn’t work for you, get earplugs! They’re extremely useful
• schedule work time! Set up times with your roommate for using the living room for work.”
Freelance editor Rebecca Eisenberg added: “Set work hours and have a distinct work space. When you’re done working for the day, leave the space, and leave your computer there. Do not check email on your phone after hours, or if you do, do not respond until the morning unless it’s urgent
“Make sure your friends/family/roommates understand that just because you’re home doesn’t mean you can talk or hang out during work hours. Talk to them BEFORE this becomes an issue.
“Managers: It can help to set up a slack channel for people to ‘clock in’ and ‘clock out’ — not to keep tabs, but to mimic the flow of a normal office day and so that people don’t feel obligated to respond after they’ve ‘signed of’ or before they’ve ‘signed on.’”
Geologist and science writer Mika McKinnon advised: “Set and stick to work hours. You can split hours morning/night with afternoon “off” or timeshift, but still have set hours or you’ll constantly get derailed.
“It’s easy to get distracted by flexibility to take a social call, duck out for an errand, or procrastinate with chores.
“Pick a healthy reset and refocus task to get back on track.
“It can be a stretch break, walking around the block, sweeping the floors, having a mini dance party, showering, whatever as long as it’s short and defined. Otherwise you’ll idle by snacking and browsing social media.
“TAKE BREAKS! Just time them so they don’t eat your whole workday.
“It’s easy to feel like you’re ‘cheating’ by taking a break when you’re outside formal structures, but if you try to sit 8hrs straight your brain will melt. Take the same duration of breaks you would in the office.”
Radha Venkat had a top tip for anyone with cats, writing: “Make a cat-proof barrier around your keyboard.”
(Anyone who owns a cat will know that this is no joke.)
And BBC journalist Felicity Hannah made an important point about biscuits, adding: “Home worker for a decade. My most important tip is to NEVER have biscuits in the house. Without my colleagues there to see me I just eat them all.”
Of course, there are pros and cons to working from home, just like there are for working in the office. The most important thing is to keep a happy mind and body – so do what you need to do to make that happen.
Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…