Finding routine when working from home

One may think it is easy working from home but as some of my friends are quickly finding out, it isn’t all it is cracked up to be. They joke I have it easy as I work in the office for first half of morning, then I work from home for rest of day. Sure you may get away from the office ‘Susan’ who sends your blood pressure skyrocketing and you may have fur babies at home to entertain you but it can be at times challenging to work outside the normal workplace if you haven’t done so before. Your routine has changed and you may not have all the equipment you need if this is the first time you have had to work from a remote location. Below are some ideas to assist you.

The most important step is to set up a designated area for you to work. If you have others living with you, you need to explain the importance of keeping this area clear. You are most likely still dealing with private and confidential information that needs to be protected. A desk and chair is all you need to get started and best to have it set up away from distractions such as the TV. Clearing the dining table is a good option but remember you may need to clear it all up at end of day if your family eats at the table. Small, inexpensive tables and chairs can be purchased from many stores these days and can be claimed back on tax as they are a work expense.

Clearing the area of any rubbish, personal effects and cleaning the surfaces are the next step. There is nothing worse than working in a filthy, disorganised space. You need to have a bit of separation from work and personal life as much as you can. I am lucky to have a spare room which I have set up as my home office and library but not all people will. It will be harder if you have children at home too. They make everything harder I’m told!

Set the alarm to wake up of a morning to start the day, and work the hours as you normally would. Your employer is still paying you to do the job you are employed for and they want to trust that it is being done. Dress like you would at work too. No lounging around in PJ’s – as awesome as it would be. This helps you get into a work mindset.

You can have your usual meal breaks and play with your furry co-workers if you have them but be mindful of the time and that you do not lose an entire afternoon to snuggles. Pets are great but you will miss having that social interaction with colleagues. Unfortunately during this time where the world is dealing with a pandemic, social distancing is necessary. Upside is we have technology that allows us to stay in touch and check in on one another. Check in with your colleagues throughout the day. Some people may thrive working at home and others may start going stir crazy.

Getting outside to stretch the legs is a must. One doesn’t realise how helpful that quick 10 minute walk to grab a coffee or the walk to the Post Office is until you are at home all day. I have a treadmill in my office so I can ‘walk’ every hour. Again not everyone has this little luxury. You can set a timer on your phone for 10 minutes and do a quick clean up of your home, tidy the yard, take out the rubbish or throw on a load of laundry. Just get moving and don’t be stagnant. One major advantage is you can smash out those household chores which you would normally do when you returned from the office, and suddenly find yourself with a clear afternoon to enjoy.

I have a separate diary for work and I write down what I did during the day so if the Boss questions what I completed, I can tell them. They can’t hang over your shoulder whilst you work from home but they will find other ways to make sure you are on track!

I hope these little ideas help get you started ~ Lauren


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