A Guide To Working From Home
Top Productivity Tips For Working From Home During Lockdown
For many New Zealanders, this week is the third week of working from home. For Rocket Fuel Design this is not a new thing to us, we have been working from home since day one.
Although we too are feeling the difference in the atmosphere, as the current situation changes our working habits do too. From learning how to share and cope with the distractions of others again and a new routine of 1 o’clock TV updates, my working life has changed [not gonna lie, I’m missing having the house to myself and having more regular working habits]
Since working from home is something we understand well we are going to give you a few tips on how you can better run your home office.
Create a routine
Set a time to start and stick to it
The bed often feels that much warmer and harder to get out of when you don’t exactly have time limits or people to see.
When working from home it’s important to pick a solid time to get up and get going. My suggestion is to have something to wake up for other than just work. Do some yoga or set a task to complete before you begin the day.
That means you have to get up, get changed and get going.
Go for a walk before you start
Because you are working from home it is often hard to distinguish working time and home time. I like to separate these by actually leaving the house and ‘walking to work’
Most mornings before I start work I go for a quick lap around the block then walk straight to my computer and get straight into it. [Just remember to keep your 2m distances]
Set lunch/break times
Working from home can go two ways; you either feel like you have to prove something or you feel like you can chill. I’m the former.
This tip works for both types of people. Make sure to set specific times for breaks and lunch. This means if you’re feeling lazy you won’t just pop off for a snack or organise something and if you’re like me, it makes sure to give your brain time to rest and stops you from eating at your desk!
Clean the room/house before you start
Remove all distractions from your office or even your house. If you are like me you need a clear place to think or you will find your mind wandering or frustrated by the mess around you.
Cleaning up your area or even your house before you start can help you focus and stop your mind from wandering to all the chores that you feel you need to do. Understandably this is a lot harder to do when you have children.
How to start your working day once you started
I find when you create a step by step routine when you start your working day, you start off right.
Like I said before, while I already work from home I’ve seen my work habits drop a little bit. With all the new coming information and commotion around me, the way I normally start my working day has been less than structured. Causing the rest of my day to feel fuzzy and incomplete.
Just like how you would in a normal office you need to wind up and down. Winding up normally would start by saying hi to you coworkers, setting your stuff on your desk, turning your computer on and making your morning coffee while it starts.
When working from home, try structure the first half an hour of your day with a to-do list. Soon enough this will come as natural as your old work routine which I bet you didn’t even realise you had.
This first half an hour will set the scene for the rest of your day, so make it count!
Eat lunch outside
Currently, we are in lockdown in New Zealand so cabin fever is a real thing. Something I highly suggest even more in today’s environment is that you eat your lunch outside while working from home.
Everyone knows how good fresh air, getting outside and getting some sun is for your wellbeing. Not only is having a few minutes good for you but it will also stop you from eating at your desk and not taking a break altogether.
And if your feeling ambitious leave all your electronics inside to truly soak in nature in and hopefully the sun too!
Bring in some greenery
As I mentioned before nature is super important, so if you have any house plants bring them into your office/workspace too! They can help solve an abundance of benefits, they look great and give you something to watch flourish and grow.
And you don’t have any house plants perhaps order them online – your wellbeing is essential, right? [Maybe don’t – however, you could always go on a plant hunt instead of a teddy hunt and use jars as planters?]
Change things up, you are working, living and sleeping in the same place during the lockdown, it becomes so it’s easy to become stuck for thoughts and idea.
To counteract this I have two different seats a normal desk chair and an exercise ball.
Exercise balls have loads of benefits, but most of all it allows movement and difference into my workspace without leaving it.
And on days when I really can’t focus, I’ll change rooms altogether. When you’re in an office space you move into different environments often from checking on a co-worker to having a meeting.
And if you really need to, stop, make a coffee, have a breather and a walk around to get the creative juices going again.
Two screens are best
If you are still trying to brace life with just your laptop or desktop screen I applaud and pitty you.
Having two screens will make your life so much easier and will help to make your home workspace feel more like your office space. So if you can afford to get a second screen – do it now.
Kids verse Home Office
When it comes to working and parenting Lainey has copiousness amounts of experience. Lainey has had two children while running Rocket Fuel Design fulltime from home. And while she may believe her work-life balance isn’t always there she has a lot of tips and advice to share.
So I’ll pass that whole other can of worms on to her!
Thanks Kate, well I’m not going to lie, working with children around, particularly small children is tough. But I have picked up a few strategies along the way that have helped me to stay productive.
Be with the kids or be at work – don’t do both
I learnt very quickly that when you are working from home if your children need your attention, give it to them. Don’t try to split your focus between your family and your work. Focus on your family and be in the moment with them, then when they are busy with something else, that is your time to work. For small children, this might be nap time, for bigger kids perhaps it is homework time. You will achieve much more if you can commit to an hour or so at a time for your work when your children aren’t around that you will trying to split your focus between your children and your job. And trust me, you will feel better too, because there is nothing worse than feeling like you have been working all day while juggling children and having NOTHING to show for it at the end.
The first thing you will learn is that you can’t do it all. My advice is to set a small list of priorities for each day and stick to those. Ignore everything else you can, and just knock out those few things that are really important.
Think about the tasks that if you don’t do them, they are going to negatively affect your life or your work, the other ones [like the housework] will still be there tomorrow – trust me!
Be Kind To Yourself
I am still learning this one myself! But I think it is really important. You need to acknowledge that you are doing a lot when you are working and raising a family and sometimes things aren’t going to be perfect. Again, if the dishes aren’t done, who cares, if you didn’t email that one person back, do it tomorrow. Don’t beat yourself up about the things you didn’t do. Celebrate the things you did. And above all else, enjoy this time with your children. It may sound cliche, but you will NEVER get this time back.
Under this current environment don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling to work from home – even the people used to working from home – like us are struggling.
Ask for help, look out for others and more important be kind to yourself, your children, partners, workmates and others. Don’t be afraid to reach out to any of us here at Rocket Fuel Design we would be happy to help and talk to you! And if you have any tips for us that we have missed, we would love for you to include them in the comment below.