The Working From Home Survival Guide
April 15, 2020

For some, working from home is a sweet mix of dressing however you want, coffee breaks on the sofa, and a 10-20 second commute. For others, it’s a distinct lack of company, an uncomfortable working space, and a creeping feeling of cabin fever. Everyone is being asked to do their jobs from home in the ongoing fight against coronavirus, and working from home veterans and cadets alike will run into issues with their new way of doing things over an extended period of time. We’ve got some tips to help ease your move from office to home space.


Don’t dress to distress

The temptation when working from home is to dress however you want. While that Pikachu onesie is so comfortable, it might not put you in the right frame of mind to work and will blur the line even further between the professional and personal. While it may be fun to dress for homestyle comfort every so often, routine is key when getting into a working mindset. Try to follow the same pattern that you would if you were going to work, including: exercise, showering, breakfast, and getting dressed. It’ll also help protect any potential video call colleagues who aren’t quite ready to see you in your PJs.


Take a break (with or without a KitKat) 

Breaks during the working day are important, but never more so when working from home. People often feel the need to always be seated, online, and ready to handle requests out of fear their colleagues will think they aren’t working. But taking regular breaks is crucial to concentration and mental wellbeing. Stand, stretch, get some fresh air in a garden if you can. Just as long as it is away from your screen!

Stay hydrated as well. The health benefits of a steady supply of water are numerous, but keeping thirst at bay may also help you resist all the goodies in your snack cupboard.


Talk it out

Remember those quick chats in the kitchen to Kerry, about what Larry said to Barry? Or that time numerous emails back and forth were resolved with a two minute chat? It really is good to talk. One thing that people soon realise when they work from home for extended periods is how little human interaction they have. Voice and video calls are great professionally and also help to create and maintain human connections when they are needed most.


Boundaries, please

Try to stick to your working hours as much as possible. This may be difficult in some professions, but it is key to stick to a routine that’ll allow you to get enough rest and relaxation for the next day. Try to have a separate area that you work at and if that isn’t possible, clear away any work related paper or materials when you’ve finished.


Wonderful workspace

Not all of us have the luxury of having lots of spaces at home to work from, but try to avoid working from your bed. It’ll help to keep a clear line between downtime and work time to prevent you from burning out. Above and beyond that, try to make sure the practical is in place: a chair with proper back support and a screen at eye level to further help with posture.

No desk? No worries. A dinner table, kitchen counter, or chest of drawers can provide the equipment resting place you need, just try to keep the posture tips in mind. 

A few other small touches like plants (if you’re into those), or pictures of loved ones may make your desk more pleasing to the eye.


School’s out

Summer's come early for kids across the country, with schools closing to stop the spread of coronavirus. While that's great for keeping the nation safe, it might not be ideal for your concentration levels. If you have young ones, they’ll no doubt be curious about what you're doing behind the screen. If possible, try to head-off any interruptions by organising fun (quiet) activities when you know you might have a meeting. If your kids are a bit older you could get them involved in your work day, helping with simple tasks or practising their writing skills by making to-do lists for you. Most organisations and their employees will be experiencing the same challenges right now, so don't worry if there's an accidental guest-appearance in a video-conference or two.

Let’s not forget the very important duty of keeping mum and dad well supplied with water and snacks throughout the day, the perfect task for idle hands!

Stuck for education ideas while your kids are at home? The government has a list of online resources by subject to keep young minds sharp while away from school.