If you’re not used to working from home, it can be a daunting challenge. As people everywhere self-isolate, it’s also fast becoming the new normal. Still, some apprehension is understandable. Most people cling to their jobs like life rafts in a great ocean of pointlessness. Being told to work from home can feel like being tossed overboard. Will you actually get anything done, and will anyone care? What if you start talking to yourself, just to hear a friendly voice? What if you like it way too much and never want to leave the house again?
The good news is that with a little thought and planning, you can take care of business, stay sane, and look gorgeous (just for practice) all at the same time. Let’s do this working from home thing like a boss! Our ten commandments capture the essential wisdom you need to get it right.
Ten Commandments for working from home
1. Thou shalt not wear pyjamas, sweat pants, or similar slovenly attire
You thought it was going to be the best thing about working from home, but you were wrong. Clothes maketh the mood, and the last thing you need when you’re trying to be a productive member of society is to look like a wastrel. Have a shower, put on your makeup and wear some clothes that mean business. You’ll feel better, guaranteed.
2. Thou shalt not be distracted by thy personal phone
Lots of people think that if you’re working from home, you’re not actually doing anything. They will send you a succession of pointless text messages and DMs, or ring you up to dissect the finer points of Married at First Sight Australia for 45 minutes. Put your phone on silent. You can check it on your lunch break. Which leads to commandment number 3
3. Thou shalt take scheduled breaks
When you’re alone in the house, it’s easy to lose all sense of routine. This will make you feel unhinged. Regular breaks support your mood and concentration. A five minute stretch each hour, plus morning and afternoon tea and a lunch break. Move around, step outside, have a coffee, and then get back to work. You’ll feel refreshed and revitalised.
4. Thou shalt have an organised workspace
Your boss can’t see your desk, but that’s no excuse to let your standards drop. Think of your workspace as a reflection of your psyche and keep it free from clutter and chaos.
5. Thou shalt not surf the net
Perhaps one of the greatest traps for those who work from home. Don’t try to justify it as giving yourself a little breather. It’s a black hole of distraction that will suck you into its evil vortex. Speaking of distractions, here’s another one:
6. Thou shalt not divert thy attention to thy dog
Dogs are man’s best friend and just like your other friends, they want attention. Your dog is so excited that you stayed home specially to keep him company. He’s going to whine, jump on your lap, or dump his leash directly at your feet. Be strong. Someone’s got to pay for his dog food, and that someone is you.
7. Thou shalt have a plan
Plan your day. Write a list of tasks and work out what you are going to achieve each day, then do it. It’s a good idea to share your list with a colleague, and get them to do the same. You can check in with each other in the morning to confirm what you’ve done. This will help you subvert the all too human tendency to slack off because nobody’s looking.
8. Thou shalt exercise
Working from home generally involves a lot of sitting. Consider doing a home workout first thing in the morning, or on your lunch break. It will boost your energy levels, improve your concentration, and make you feel at least 30% less crazy *(statistic not scientifically verified)
9. Thou shalt not position thy desk so that it faces out a window
This one speaks for itself. Do you actually think you’ll get any work done? NO
10. Thou shalt embrace technology
Staying connected matters and emails just aren’t the same as seeing a real live human being face-to-face. When you’re working from home, technology is your best friend. Apps like Zoom, FaceTime and WhatsApp are great ways to stay connected with your team in real time, plus you can use them to keep in contact with your friends and family, too. If your team is working remotely, you can start a group and still have regular meetings so that you’re all on the same page. Strong, supportive relationships are key to staying positive through challenging times.