Here’s How We Work From Home: Our Top Tips
At Lance Montana, we are a Brisbane-based business, but you will find our team scattered across Greater Brisbane, as well as other parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales. As such, working from home has always been the case with us which means we are absolute pros at it!
As we see the world facing the COVID-19 outbreak head-on, many businesses are encouraging their teams to work from home. Doing this 5 days a week, for weeks on end, is very different to just one day every couple of weeks. It’s important to create a routine and figure out what works best for you. If you are new to the makeshift office environment and need some help navigating your way through these uncertain times, you’ve come to the right place! Here are our top tips for working from home.
Get Dressed, Eat Breakfast, Clean Your Teeth, and For God’s Sake, Brush Your Hair!
The perk of not having to wear proper work clothes may sound good in theory, but trust us, it doesn’t actually feel good working in PJs all day, every day. One of the best morning routine hacks when you work from home is to get dressed in real clothes. It can help you feel more professional and geared up to do some work. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to wear a fully-planned outfit - just make sure you are physically getting changed out of your pyjamas and putting a fresh outfit on.
Video conference calls might become a bit more common over the next few weeks, and there’s nothing worse than discovering your ‘just got out of bed’ hair when you suddenly see your face on Skype - and your colleagues on other other end. So another tip is to always brush your hair and make it look somewhat presentable.
When you work from home, it’s a luxury not having to get up early for a long commute to the office. However, keeping a morning routine is still important. You might need to adjust it slightly. For instance, you could get up half an hour later than you usually would and do a quick workout at home or go for a walk around your neighbourhood. You should still eat breakfast, shower, get dressed and prepare lunch and snacks, just like you would if you were leaving home.
Set Up a Dedicated Work Environment
It may be tempting to just stay in bed and work, but please, don’t! You might feel the urge to have a little nap (or ten) rather than do your work. It’s also not great for your posture. Instead, find a dedicated workspace, whether it’s a desk in your spare room or a mini office space, make sure it’s free of distractions, and keep it as a work-only space. This will help your brain to disassociate your work environment from where you live.
If you’re using an office, make sure to leave your laptop and any other work items in that space. If you’re using your dining table, when it comes to clocking off, clear away your work items to signify the end of the working day. It’s all about making clear boundaries.
It might help to make your workspace as comfortable as possible. Wherever you choose to work, make sure there is good natural lighting and feel free to add a few decorate essentials like candles, an indoor plant and maybe some inspirational quotes.
Plan Your Day Out
You need structure and boundaries when you work from home. If you think you’ll struggle to stay on top of tasks while working from home, it might be a good idea to plan your day out. Itemise your tasks by priority and estimate the amount of time you plan to spend on them. Leave a bit of room for any last minute or top priority tasks that come your way.
Some great ways to plan your day is to either use a physical weekly or daily planner. Write all your tasks and times down, and make sure you give each task a big tick once you’re done! You may also want to look into productivity or task management apps. At Lance Montana, we use a cloud-based task management program called Accelo. A few great free alternatives include Trello and Asana. Some programs will allow you to track the amount of time you spend on each task, which will help you see your productivity levels and time spent on a task each day.
Get Up And Move
In an office environment, you may notice that you get up to move more often, whether it’s to chat to another colleague, to go to a meeting or to make a cup of coffee. You may not have as many opportunities when you work from home (hello lots online meetings and phone calls!). When you’re on the phone to a colleague, try getting up and going for a quick walk. This will help you boost your steps for the day, plus it’s a great opportunity to stretch and move! You could also try moving every 30 minutes to an hour. It doesn’t need to be a long walk - just a quick lap around the house or apartment will suffice.
If you really want to get active in your breaks, try some star jumps or a skipping rope. It helps to get the blood flowing and does wonders with boosting your energy levels.
Listen to a Podcast or Some Music
It may be tempting to sit in front of the TV and catch up on your favourite shows or watch a couple of movies while you work, but this is not going to help you stay focused. Treat your work day like any other day in the office. Chances are you’re probably not watching TV at work, so why would you do it at home? Instead, go for some feel good music to help you stay on task. Studies show that certain types of music like classical, nature sounds and music between 50 to 80 beats per minute can improve productivity levels. The same goes for listening to podcasts while you work.
When the work day is done, it’s easy to move to your couch and continue working - or online shopping. Make sure you clock off, close your laptop, and do something else. Otherwise it can be difficult to see where the work day ends, and your home life begins.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
You may notice a sudden social isolation and a cut down in communication from your team. The key to working from home is maintaining contact with your colleagues and boss. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a colleague you would usually turn to in the office for help. If you have an urgent question, pick up the phone and call! There are some great tools for group communication. At Lance Montana, we use Slack to chat as a team, stay on top of any urgent tasks - and of course, share a few memes and LOLs.
Keep Calm, Work From Home, And Stay Safe
We may all be navigating our lives and businesses through unchartered territories, but the main thing is to stay calm, stay safe and work from home as best you can! It’s important to keep businesses functioning as much as possible, especially small businesses. With that being said, you require any digital support for your business, whether it’s social media marketing, SEO or web development, we can help! Please get in touch to speak to our team about our services.