So, it’s been about five months into my new job and we do enjoy remote working arrangements at my company, for most divisions. While I like going to the office and meeting colleagues, I do also cherish the time I have working from home. I do have a nice setup for a home office and hence it makes a good environment for when you need to finish tasks and planning in a seating; while also managing domestic tasks. The arrangement helps me manage my day better especially when there are evening or night calls. While this was novel for me in the beginning and I was a little more ‘excited’ with the prospect of working from home officially and not have to feel guilty about it, it is becoming more of a usual flow for my week. I work from home on Mondays usually and I try to maximise the time I have for things which I do better while working at home than at the office.
Although it can be easy to just stay in PJs, the routine or some boundaries help to keep me on track and in ‘work mode’. These here are just based on my experience (without kids).
- Setting the alarm and waking up at the same time for days when I do not need to commute.
- Pick a morning routine like reading the news and having coffee and breakfast. For days when you feel like shaking up the routine a little for ‘inspiration’, squeeze in some exercise.
- Shower and get dressed. Not into my actual work clothes but just clothes for walking across the street to a store.
- Before I start at my home office, I also make myself a cup of tea which signals the start of my work day.
- While some days I do work through lunch time, I try to head out for a late lunch to get some air. Even if it means walking across the street to Starbucks. So a downside to me working at home these days is the number of steps in a day. This is something I am fixing and I hope to exercise more regularly on those work from home days.
- I make my lunch at home some times. I do not eat in front my desk now. I used to. Of course, besides making a mess on the keyboard and work area, there are other reasons for not eating in front of your work screen. Not ideal especially when you’re sitting at your desk for the whole day with no socialising. Having proper physical room boundaries in the house can help lift your mood or even help with creativity. Have your meal in the dining room if you can.
- Cats. I’ve two cats. Which means they can get in your way sometimes when they wake up and decide that they want to join your work space and your calls. When I have a planned call, I close the door to the home office to prevent the cats from meandering in and out when I’m on a call.
- Lists: I make a list of things I should complete in a day and to stick to them. There is a A-list which are things which are ‘MUST’ finish and another which are ‘good if I can get started or even finish’. I colour code the lists using sticky pads into different categories of tasks. That’s a personal system.
- Set a routine for water. I find that with fewer social breaks at home, I do not take that walk to the kitchen for water as often. And I do not put my water in the home office. Just for a simple reason that I should take that short break and a walk.
These are just some items I thought of…and they are not in any order importance. Everyone would have their own pace and rhythm for working at home. Sometimes when I feel that productivity and creativity levels have dropped, I do try to disrupt my own routine by taking a walk outside and then coming back to work (when there aren’t any calls).