Working from home: our top strategies for how to unplug successfully
For many of us, working from home has become part of daily life, since the introduction of Covid-related restrictions and the general spread of remote working: clerks, developers, marketers, HR recruitment and training resources, and even managers and executives are all less likely to be found in the office these days.
Remote working offers some obvious advantages, mostly to do with flexibility and the possibility to balance family and professional commitments more easily. That said, to get the most out of this new system and enjoy those advantages to the full, we need to carefully self-manage our work and organize our working day efficiently.
Good time management is crucial if we are to avoid the main risk of working from home: the so-called inability to disconnect.
Working without the structural and time limits of an office means it’s up to you to set boundaries and control your time – that includes breaks and when you start/end work. You don’t have any colleagues around to share a coffee with; there are no face-to-face meetings to get you away from your workstation; you don’t lock your PC to go to lunch, or rush off to catch public transport … it’s just you, within the four walls of your home, in front of your laptop or mobile phone.
So, here are some useful tips to help you work better and boost your productivity while safeguarding your right to disconnect:
The importance of a well-managed calendar
- Share your schedules with your manager and your team, communicating them via a calendar that is visible to all and can receive meeting requests
- Always switch on your “out of office” autoreply when you’re away for any reason, so that both outsiders and colleagues know when you’ll be available again.
- Schedule ten-minute breaks in your calendar and move away from your workstation, to give your eyes and muscles a rest.
- Organize the day’s goals and tasks in order of priority and block your calendar when you need to stay focused, to let colleagues and anyone else know that you’re not available for interruptions.
Defining working hours
- Even if you’re already at home and don’t have to spend time travelling to and from the workplace, respect your regular “office” hours: get up and get ready as if you were going to leave the house, and sit in front of the PC with no distractions, just asyou would in the office.
- Don’t let household chores and work commitments overlap, as this will only stretch out your workday and make you less productive in the long run.
- Avoid sending emails and messages to your team and managers at inappropriate times, so that they don’t feel under pressure to reply immediately.
- One advantage of working from home is that you can spend any extra time catching up on personal matters. When that happens, however, it would be good to arrange things in advance with your manager and team to ensure an effective communication flow.
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