Employees are being told to work from home wherever possible as part of the government’s ‘Plan B’ to tackle the Omicron variant of Covid-19 – a new strain that’s thought to be the most transmissible yet.
The coronavirus pandemic has seen more people than ever working from home, and many businesses now use a ‘hybrid’ working system, where employees spend some time at home and some at the office. By the start of December this year, more than two-thirds of staff travelled to work at least once.
More than a third (36%) of British staff did some form of remote working in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics. And it’s a way working that has caused some strong debate – some have even suggested home workers should be paid less than those that travel into the office.
The truth is, working from home isn’t for everyone. But, if done correctly, it can be a great way of working and keeping a healthy work/life balance. To make sure you’re making the most of telecommuting, here’s how to work from home.
Working from home sounds like an absolute dream – no need to get dressed for work, no need to negotiate the morning commute, and no need to bother with co-workers. The trouble is, working from home might not be quite as easy as you might imagine – there are distractions literally everywhere.
When you work from home, the washing-up becomes an exciting alternative to that project you’re desperately trying to ignore, a morning of ironing becomes the perfect antidote to a morning of checking emails, and even daytime television seems to have a certain appeal.
And to make things even worse, you don’t have the watchful eyes of co-workers to keep you in check and off all those sites and social media accounts that help keep you from your work.
So if you’re looking to work from home, here’s how to ditch the distractions and work more effectively…
How to work from home effectively
It’s important to make sure that you’re self-motivated enough to work from home, and have the right tech and equipment to hand to make sure you can do your job as effectively from your front room as from your office. If you’re unsure if you’ve the necessary kit, check out Essential work from home apps and 7 tools to make working from home easier. The video below also sheds a light on what it takes to work from home.
Swerve the social media
No matter how much time you spend trying to convince yourself otherwise, social media is a drain on productivity – and just because you leave it running in the background, it doesn’t mean it’ll be any less distracting.
So turn off Twitter, forget about Facebook and even leave LinkedIn well alone while you’re working. And if you don’t need to have the internet on – say you’re working on a document offline – then disconnect completely to rule out any temptation to check your social media accounts.
Save the shopping for after work
So you’re sat in the house, slightly panicking over another looming deadline, but not enough to actually fully turn your attention to the task in hand, and that’s when it hits you – you’ve nothing in for tea! And it’s mid-morning, meaning the shops will be quieter than when you ‘clock-off’ so may as well get that job sorted now. If anything, you’ll be saving time, right?
When working from home it’s vital you structure your day as though you were in the office – which means sticking to a set of working hours and getting any jobs done and errands run either before you start, after you finish, or in your dinner hour (if you have one).
Can the personal calls
Just as having social media running in the background can prove to be a big distraction, so can having your phone switched on – particularly if it’s loaded with social media apps – and is ready to field all sorts of personal calls, texts and emails.
So, unless you also use the phone for business calls, turn the thing off or stick it on silent, particularly if you’ve a tight deadline or a project that requires your undivided attention.
Turn off the TV
It could be that you like a bit of background noise while you’re working and so tapping away at a keyboard in an otherwise deathly quiet house won’t be conducive to getting the best out of you. And if there’s one thing that daytime TV is good for, it’s background noise.
However, no matter how bad the programme on TV is, it can quickly become the most gripping episode of anything ever if you’re looking for a way to dodge doing your work.
So turn it off and seek comfort in the radio instead.
Hold meetings via conference call
Meetings can be a huge sticking point when working from home, and can often be used as an excuse for employers who would sooner have you in the office. But there is a simple solution – simply hold your meeting via teleconference instead.
Our service allows you to quickly and simply set up a conference call for up to 100 participants, from anywhere in the world, using a landline, mobile or smartphone.
A guide to working from home
The infographic below from Companies Made Simple offers a handy at-a-glance guide to working from home.
Have you got any top work from home tips? Let us know…