5 ways to make working from home work for you

Many of us were forced to work from home – almost overnight – in the wake of COVID-19. We had to change the way we communicate, the way we engage, and manage our own productivity.

But for most it was a welcome change: 72% of us would continue to work from home at least one day a week if we could, research for SEEK has found. With that in mind, career and interview coach Emily Manley shares her tips for getting the most out of working from home, now and into the future.

  1. Set a routine and stick to it

    As tempting as it may be to roll out of bed and onto your desk, it’s better to create (and maintain) a morning routine, Manley says. This sets a clear start to your day and gives you a chance to plan and focus on the things that give you joy.

    Tip: Start your day by doing something for you – going for a walk, doing some meditation, a home workout or sitting quietly with a coffee while you read the paper.
     
  2. Do what feels right for you

    Manley says that it’s important that you think about your ‘work from home style’ for checking in with your team – that is, how frequently and how you communicate. “Of course, you need to be a team player, but if you don’t feel you need to be checking in several times a day, that’s okay,” she says.

    Tip: Maintain open dialogue with your manager around your mental wellbeing and how the external environmental pressures may be affecting you.
     
  3. Build in regular breaks to avoid burnout

    Manley is a huge advocate of taking purposeful and conscious breaks to maintain health and wellbeing, and avoid ‘Zoom fatigue’. This means not hanging out the washing, preparing dinner or tending to children, but actually taking a break.

    Tips:
    - If you can, cut your meetings back to 45 minutes instead of an hour and use the 15 minutes that you save to compose your thoughts.
    - Introduce walking meetings into your day instead of just video calls so you can get fresh air and move your body.
     
  4. Set realistic expectations (especially if you have kids)

    Never before has it been so important to manage expectations. “By establishing, and communicating the boundaries you will be able to get through your week without feeling like you are letting everybody down – your kids, your boss, and most importantly yourself,” she says.

    Tip: Speak to your manager and, where you can, shuffle your work hours or week around so that you carve out clear times to look after your children and work.
     
  5. Find the balance that works for you (and your employer)

    One of the really positive things to have come out of this pandemic is that more employers are now open to the idea of having employees work from home. They’ve seen how productive you can be; now it’s just a matter of maintaining it – especially for those who are keen to work from home in the future.

    Tip: Make sure you are fully set up to work from home so that you have all resources available. Speak to your boss about the best days and times to work from home. Maybe you can consider shorter office days to avoid peak hour. Perhaps you can set days to be in the office to maximise team meetings and social events.

Whatever your situation and set up, small adjustments like these can help you to make the most of working from home – so you can have a more positive and productive experience while you do it.

Source: Independent research conducted by Nature on behalf of SEEK. Interviewing 4000 Kiwis annually.

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