10 tips to optimise your home office
Since the last press conference, it became clear again that home office is one of the most important measures in the fight against coronavirus. Sleeping in, wearing jogging pants, grabbing another coffee and then sitting down on your comfortable sofa to make the first call of the day, this way home office sounds like a dream. But we all know - after one year by now - it has nothing to do with lazing around. On the contrary, studies show that even more work is done during home office than in the regular office. But how can we make working from home both productive and fun?
1. Set up your workplace
Try to set up a comfortable home office at home. Find a quiet spot with some natural lighting, natural daylight is a great way to help you feel more activated and energized. It also helps for your overall well-being. Want to get in that real working mood? Try to create a real office atmosphere into your home office, but do not forget to add some personal touches and to focus on your needs. The perfect workspace is not the same for everyone.
2. Create a good start of the day
When working in the office, a normal day looks like this: the alarm clock goes off, you wake up, have some breakfast, head to work, grab a coffee, check your mails and attend your first meeting of the day. Working from home may allow you to set your alarm a bit later, since you save the time you normally commute to work. Despite the occasional pluses of home office, it will help to keep certain routines that will help you to structure your day. Try to set times for when you start working and plan your breaks. This will help to facilitate your workflow.
3. Close down your home office at the end of the day
Even though you enjoy more flexibility in terms of how you structure your working hours, regulations regarding the statutory working time still apply when you are working from home. Home office does not mean more work. Once you have finished your work, shut down your laptop and call it a day.
4. Stay disciplined
Discipline has an old-fashioned image, as we associate it with order, drills and inspections. But things are different in home office, you have to be your own boss sometimes. It makes it more important to stay concentrated and disciplined while working on your projects. Unfortunately, there are many things that can keep you from working… Dirty dishes, Netflix subscriptions, laundry baskets … Given all these potential distractions, a to-do list can help you prioritize your tasks, set deadlines and check them off once they're done. This way you can do your work without unnecessary stress.
Interaction with colleagues, chatting at your desk, grabbing a quick coffee together, meeting up for lunch, it's not a problem when you are in the office. But things are very different at home. However, home office should not be viewed as some kind of house arrest. Try to hold any planned meetings as video conferences and organize team meetings on a regular base in which all colleagues can participate.
6. Teamwork makes the dream work
Home office is all about teamwork. It may sound odd, but it is very true. The fact that we cannot see our colleagues and sometimes we cannot even discuss something with them makes teamwork even more important. Tasks need to be defined very clearly, responsibilities allocated accordingly, trying to keep up to date on any progress made or difficulties encountered … Transparant communication has to be ensured, try using collaboration tools and let your colleagues know how and when you can or cannot be reached.
7. Battery recharge
Lunch is, for many us, a fixed item on the daily agenda. Whether with colleagues or alone, lunchtime is often the first chance you get in the day to relax and recharge those batteries. The same should apply during home office. Take time to enjoy a proper lunch break, and avoid at all times to eat lunch at your desk.
8. A creative break
Home office is all set up, you have been working on your project, you are fully focused, nothing can distract you from you task. But then it happens, you get blocked. You hit a wall and everything grinds to a halt. Thus, the same should apply even when you are working from home: take breaks on a regular base. An afternoon coffee, a breath of fresh air, a walk around the block, or even just looking out the window. Short breaks stimulate creativity and performance!
What does home office have in common with working in the office? You sit. A lot and a long time. The average office worker will spend about 80.000 hours in the office, most of them seated. It makes it all the more important for you to not forget about stretching your legs every so often. Incorporate some exercise into your daily work routine. Walking around the block, standing instead of sitting, walking to the store, taking the stairs, keep in mind that exercise improves your health and concentration.
10. Minimize stress
Home office is all about trust, confidence in your colleagues, your team, your abilities and a modern working culture. Emails do not have to be answered in real time, you can miss an occasional call, and no need to send unnecessary emails just to prove that you are there, still online. Trust is key.