While some of us are heading back to our place of work as the world begins to reopen, there are others who are going to be home a little longer.
Whether you’re classified as vulnerable, your boss has decided the entire team will work at home for the foreseeable future, or you’ve decided yourself that actually remote-working isn’t so bad after all, there are some changes you will need to make if you’re going long-term with WFH.
We’re not saying that your current setup is bad per se, but there are always things that could be improved, especially if you thought you’d only be taking your laptop home for a few weeks, and we’re now basically in September.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to help you nail your WFH setup for the long haul.
Sort out that work/life balance
If you’re going to be working at home for a while longer, then you really need to make sure that your work/life balance is healthy and not leaning too far either way.
If you’re anything like us, then working at home at the start of lockdown was a struggle. Your emotions were a mess, you struggled to tell the difference between the blurring days, and your normally dapper work wardrobe rapidly descended into wearing pyjamas for a lot longer than is socially acceptable (or you might have forgone clothes completely).
Those days are over. This is our new normal now, and to give yourself a fighting chance at A) good mental health and B) that promotion you’ve been eyeing up, you need to treat each day you work like a real working day.
That means no more checking your emails at weird times at night, or replying to Slack messages while you’re supposed to be watching a film with your other half. Conversely, try to avoid hanging up your washing during team meetings.
If you’re in it for the long haul, make sure you give yourself clear working hours to finish all of your tasks in, and importantly, set yourself a reasonable clocking-off time. Your mental health — and your partner — will thank us.
Get your office corner sorted
Okay, so you’ve got yourself in the right headspace to do your work remotely. Now let’s deal with the physicality of your office space at home.
Of course, in an ideal world, we’d all have a spare room that we can turn into an office and set up perfectly for our remote-working desk.
Unfortunately for many of us, this is not the case (shout out to the readers living in one-bed flats in the city). You’re going to have to get crafty to chisel out your own workspace in your home, especially if you live with a partner, or worse, your parents.
This is the time to ditch those bad WFH habits; if you work from bed on the reg or slump on the sofa, then use this as a clean break — for the sake of your poor back and your productivity.
If you’ve got space, invest in a desk to work at — they’re not expensive and they’re very easy to put up. Don’t worry if you don’t have the space — your kitchen or dining room table will be just fine once you’ve decluttered them.
Don’t be afraid to splash out on ‘office’ items either, if they make your life easier. A decent keyboard, a mouse, a screen riser and a second screen will all make working from home much more enjoyable — and as a result, you’ll get your work done better and faster too. Bonus points if you get a back support, ergonomic office chair, or foot rest.
Invest in decent tools that will make your life easier
When you’re working from home — especially permanently or long-term — then the tools you have at your disposal can mean the difference between a productive day of earning money and repeatedly bashing your head against your keyboard because your wifi cut out again.
Let’s start with the internet. Regardless of your job, we all need a decent internet connection these days. Whether you’re a freelance writer, a photographer, florist or accountant, the internet is pretty much essential for everyone. It helps you to keep in touch with your coworkers if you’re part of a team, or your customers if you’re a solo business owner — not to mention everything else that working from home requires online. Don’t skimp on wifi; you’ll regret it.
Next up, any other useful tools you need — we’re talking list-making, time-tracking, project-planning… If you don’t work for a company that already supplies these, then you’re going to need to do some investigating and buying yourself. But fear not; there are plenty of amazing tools, apps and programs available online that will help you to work from home more efficiently.
Some of these are even free — or at least have free versions with slightly reduced offerings compared to their higher pricing plans. If you’re not sure where to start, Zapier has a great article on the remote worker’s toolkit that you can use as a jumping off point.
If you’re thinking about working from home for the long haul, then following the tips above will help you to prepare both your home space and your mind, making remote-working more productive and more enjoyable.