A lot has happened in the last few weeks, and we're all living in a pretty strange time. One of the challenges that many people will face this week is how to work from home. Working from home comes with plenty of hurdles, but if you can get into the swing of it, it could also be a great way to help keep the next few weeks as normal as possible. Way out West looks at five ways to help get it right.
Find a working space
Have a desk, table or specific area you go to for work. Having a designated 'work space' will help you concentrate and get into the right frame of mind. It will also help you relax in the evening, when you try to leave the working day behind. Working on the sofa might sound tempting, but it's not an ideal place to concentrate. It's also harder to kick back and relax in the evening if you're living room is where you've been working all day.
FIND WHAT WORKS for you
Some people find that they work best first thing in the morning, and like to get to their desks before they do anything else, be it having breakfast or even getting dressed. For others, working from home feels like an instant distraction, and they need to carry out their usual morning routine, including get dressed like they would for the office, before they can get to work.
It's the same with time-keeping. Some people may struggle to concentrate at home, so need to designate their time more carefully than they would in an office environment; while others tend to lose track of time on their own, and without a colleague their to remind them it's tea-time, may need to set a timer to ensure they take regular breaks throughout the day.
STICK TO A SCHEDULE
If you're working from home for the next while, you won't be leaving the house too often. This may make it hard to stick to a routine, because it feels like work can always be left to later in the day. However, there are several benefits to sticking - where possible - to the schedule you're used to. Getting to your desk around the same time you arrive to school, college or work in the morning helps you start your day someway normal; while taking tea breaks and lunch breaks at the same time each day helps you develop a routine that will lead to more focus.
Sticking to a schedule also makes it easier to relax when your work is done. It's better to log off your computer at five o'clock, rather than going into the evenings with revision, or work tasks weighing on your mind.
CHECK IN WITH PEOPLE
Self isolation can sound more like a social problem than a work one, but no matter what we're working on - be it school, revision, or our jobs - we often have to check in with those around us to seek advice, support and to ensure we're on the right track.
If you were working on coursework in school or college, you'd talk to your friends and classmates about it - so where possible, continue to do so over e-mail or text. Likewise, if you're working your job from home, check-in with your colleagues to see who needs support or to ask for assistance where necessary.
Of course, no matter what steps you take, if you're not used to it, working from home will be a challenge, and it doesn't help when the reason we're all forced to do it is stressful enough in its own right. On top of that, each of us face different challenges, including childcare, facilities, internet access and more.
As such, working from home, no matter what the work involved is, isn't always going to be easy. It's best to set attainable goals, prioritise what's most important, and try to make the best of the situation we're all in together. Good luck!