5 tips for efficient home working

Emily Sturge06 Oct 2020

With covid19 wreaking global havoc, many of the more fortunate have found themselves swapping the office for the living room and working from home.

Even the most diligent worker bee can struggle when this shift of routine seeps from days to weeks to months.

Make working from homework for you with our top 5 tips.

1. Take longer lunches

Hold on! We're not advocating doing the dirty on your employer and turning in lower output, but maximising your workday around your household needs. If you have the opportunity to initiate a flexible working pattern, "rise late, work late" may not be your best idea.

If you have kids, you may want to put in an hour or 2 before wake up or after bedtime, allowing you more time with them during the day, negating some of the working parent/homeschooler guilt so many are feeling right now. *Anyone working at home AND parenting rocks. You got this!

If you want to make the most of the early summer sun, start an hour earlier and finish an hour later, but take a full two hours break in the middle to bask in the glow and top up your vitamin d. Don't forget the sunscreen.

Completely unproductive by 3pm? Start at 7am rather than 9am and utilise the lack of commute to crack on straight away.

2. Utilise the "Micro Break"

Household chores stack up when you don't step out of your front door. Create a selection of chores that are 5 minutes or less and weave these into your "working" day by following the Pomodoro Technique we at Mohtas Media love! Loosely, this breaks your working time up into 25-minute bundles of full, intense concentration, with 3-5 minutes break time in between.

Below gives an example of a fairly standard Mohtas 9am - 12pm morning. Focusing diligently for the work times should see a great output, and those niggling chores get blitzed.

  • HR 1: Work - put on the washing - work - unload the dishwasher
  • HR 2: Work - schedule an appointment - work - reload the dishwasher
  • HR 3: Work - make the bed - work - put washing into the drier

Across the week, this can see huge gains and keep the boss happy and you sane.

3. Maintain your audio routine

This sounds like an odd one! When "at work", did you used to listen to music, or work in silence? If you did either of those but you now work from home with the TV on in the background, are you really being your most focused and efficient?

Will the kitchen radio you listen to whilst eating breakfast help you work better when you're used to complete contemplative silence.

If you're used a busy, bustling workspace, the echoing silence of your home may be too stark a contrast to be comfortable. Try playing searching out ambient noise tracks like "busy cafe" or "working office" to replicate what you're used to.

4. Create as many boundaries as you can

Try to make clear distinctions between work and home, whilst juggling working at home! Where possible, keep physical working space in a low traffic, low use area, where distractions are at a minimum but also ideally where you don't go to relax when work has ended for the day.

Also, be strict with your end time. Switch off notifications, close your laptop and don't allow work to merge into your own personal time.

Give yourself visual space from work by tidying away work paraphernalia when you're finished. Out of sight, out of mind!

5. Don't graze!

Being so close to your kitchen and food is great for convenience, but neither your waistline nor wallet will thank you if you develop a snack-while-you-work habit.

If you need to, portion out snacks and take them with you to your workspace, the same as you would do under normal circumstances. Just the mental drain everyone experiences when wading through a bowl of snacks (how many have I eaten, how many are left, etc) and the physical act of reaching for the food and getting into your mouth without getting a dirty keyboard is more than enough to interrupt any efficient working pattern, especially the Pomodoro Technique! Keep snacks for your micro-breaks or for set meal times.

Working from home can be both a blessing and a curse, and whilst there is a huge amount of relief and gratitude that we are still able to work at all, understanding it's not all a bed of roses is important. Fix what you can, do your best, accept the fails and start afresh each day.