Working remotely is a dream for many. If you’ve been sent home to work in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, you might be excited about the change. No more early-morning cramped commutes. No more office gossip. No more aimless meetings.
Now you can sleep in, take as many breaks as you want, grab food from your kitchen whenever you’re hungry.
But the freedom of working from home is an easy trap. Here are the 7 most common mistakes people make, and how you can avoid them.
Mistake #1. You get too easily distracted.
At home, there are so many distractions and even more ways to procrastinate. You’ve got new messages on Facebook, the TV is running in the background, the dog wants attention, your significant other is home, and maybe your kids are too.
These can all draw your attention away from work, making it harder to maintain focus and stay productive. It’s particularly difficult when you have tempting fun alternatives to work in your periphery.
Make sure you establish boundaries to prevent potential distractions. Log off Facebook. Put on headphones to block out any noise. Let your partner, friends, or family members know the times when you are working. Prioritise your work - you can watch the funny cat videos later.
Mistake #2. You forget about your health.
Your schedule is thrown out the window as you’ve been granted the ability to work from home! It’s rainbows and butterflies until you find that you’re developing a habit of waking up late and skipping the gym. You might make multiple trips to the fridge and snack cupboard throughout the day. The convenience of highly processed snacks or home delivery may unknowingly translate into weight gain and less muscle tone. Poor health can also impact your productivity.
Make sure you’re aware of what you’re eating throughout the day. It’s easy to reach for junk food but it’s important to maintain a nutritious diet. Generally, aim for square meals and focus on whole foods - vegetables, proteins, grains, and fats. For the time-savvy, you can meal prep to be ready for the week ahead. Check out our recipes under 30 minutes for different tasty meals every time. Minimise the amount or accessibility of snacks to deter from grazing.
Fitness is also a huge contributor to feeling good and thinking clearly. Schedule specific times to exercise into your weekly schedule. If you don’t have workout equipment at home, there are plenty of apps and a whole range of free online videos that only need your bodyweight. Try HIIT, yoga or Tabata workouts.
Mistake #3. You don’t have a dedicated workspace.
At the end of a typical workday, home is the place to kick back and relax. Yet, when working from home, it is also your professional workspace. Without a dedicated space to work, it’s easy to continue working from your bed or your couch. It’s also easy to fall into the mindset of relaxation when you used the same space to sleep, eat, or lounge.
Instead, create a home office that will cater to your needs - quiet, comfortable and has enough light. Try not to use this space for any other task at home. If you’re lucky, you may already have a study room. Otherwise, you can dedicate a portion of your dinner table, or clear out the table in your bedroom for work.
Mistake #4. You become sloppy.
Nobody will see you, so you might as well stay in your PJs right? Wearing whatever you want is one of the biggest appeals for working from home. However, if you don’t change out of your flannels, or take a shower, you might start to feel sluggish and tired.
Many people don’t recognise the significance of getting ready each morning. It sets a tone of readiness and professionalism and separates it from sleep. But you don’t need to sacrifice all comfort in order to reap the benefits. Simply changing out of your PJs into something comfortable and presentable can change your mental state. You’re ready to work. And if necessary, you can don a suit jacket for any video calls.
Mistake #5. You’re never off work.
The line between work and your own time becomes blurred within the confines of your home. Without a schedule, you might take too many breaks, drag out your daily tasks late into the night, or feel obliged to respond to work emails outside of regular business hours.
Set specific work hours, and give yourself permission to end your workday. This way you’re encouraged to remain focused during the set hours, can enjoy your personal time without guilt, and avoid burn out.
Mistake #6. You lack motivation.
Without your colleagues and boss working beside you, you might not feel the same support, social pressure or appreciation for your work. When working from home, your productivity is in large part determined by your own capacity to stay motivated.
Besides setting work targets at the beginning of each day - or even better, the night before - you can keep in touch with your colleagues, listen to inspirational podcasts or set rewards for yourself after accomplishing a task. Make yourself a cup of coffee to kickstart each morning. Keep it hot in a snazzy Twizz Mug.
Mistake #7. You forget about human connection.
Working remotely can have you feeling like you’re slowly transforming into a potato, physically and mentally. Whilst you are physically isolated from other people, you can stay connected through messages or video chats. Us humans all need some level of social interaction to be happy and healthy.
Make it a challenge to reach out to your friends, coworkers or family at least once a day. You’ll be able to give a bit of love, and feel better while doing so. Working from home in the long-term requires that you can maintain healthy relationships and a great support system.
What are your tips for working from home?