When you’re used to the daily routine of office life, transitioning to working from home can take time. And being productive when you’re working from home is often easier said than done. Every job is different, and the amount you’re able to achieve from home will vary depending on your industry, employer and company policies, but one thing that applies across the board is the importance of getting into a good daily routine.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of seven important working from home tips to help you to get into a routine and work as productively as possible.
1. Stick to your usual morning routine
When you work from home, it can be tempting to stay in bed until the very last minute, only dragging yourself out when it’s time to log on. However waking up at the same time as you would if you were going into the office will ensure you’re in the right mindset when it’s time to get started.
If you can, it’s a good idea to exercise first thing in the morning to energise and get positive endorphins flowing through your body. That could be a run, a walk, a digital exercise class or some light yoga or meditation.
Then for the best bit – your morning shower. This will help you to wake up and feel fresh and ready for the day ahead.
2. Get dressed
After you’ve showered, get dressed in real clothes (instead of getting back into pyjamas). That doesn’t mean you need to put on anything overly formal, but putting on proper clothes will put you in the right frame of mind for working. Getting dressed will also mean that you’re ready for any video calls that get added to your calendar last minute.
3. Create a workspace
Although it's tempting to stay in bed or flop on the sofa to work, you’ll be far more productive if you set up a workstation. If you have a desk, perfect, but if not then you can use your dining table. Sitting up at a makeshift desk will help you to feel as if you’re at the office and it will also help you to maintain better posture. It also means that you can leave your work behind at the end of the day and enjoy your sofa and bed as places of rest and relaxation.
4. Set working hours
Your regular job is nine to five (or thereabouts), so don’t let working from home interfere with that. It can be all too easy to work through your lunch break and past your usual finish time, but even though you may have nowhere else to be, it’s important to allow yourself free time in your lunchtimes and evenings.
At lunchtime, make yourself a proper lunch and enjoy it away from your workstation. Make sure you get up and move, and get some fresh air if possible.
5. Take regular breaks
When you’re in the office, you’ll typically be up and down from your desk throughout the day – heading to meetings, for catch ups with colleagues and trips to the kitchen. Often when you’re working from home with fewer distractions, you can suddenly realise you’ve been sat down for four hours without taking a break. Try setting an alarm on your phone so that every hour you get up to stretch your legs and make a cup of tea or do a short chore.
6. Clock off and enjoy your evening
As we’ve mentioned in point 4, it’s important to log off at your usual time so that you have the evening to yourself. Spend your evening doing something you enjoy. That could mean going for a walk, making yourself a nice dinner, calling your friends, practising a hobby or watching your favourite TV show or a new film.
Working from home routines will ultimately vary from person to person, so over time it’s about finding the best daily routine for you. If you need help to clear your mind at the end of a busy day working from home, listen to our Clean Thinking podcast, featuring an array of guests from the likes of the Mental Health Foundation and Sleepyhead Clinic.