Since the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have begun working from home – either voluntarily or involuntarily. Some are finding this quite difficult, while others consider it a convenient change. No matter which group you belong to, the following hacks will hopefully give you some useful ideas to increase your productivity at home and help you make the transition to a new, more flexible way of working.
In the language industry, agile working methods such as remote work, home offices, freelancing or flexible working hours have long been part of everyday life and would now be impossible to do without. The same applies to the team at SwissGlobal. In today’s world, flexibility is key. Working from home can be part of your planned schedule or a short-term solution. You may take your dog with you to the office, interact online with a colleague who is based part-time in and part-time in Portugal, or be in charge of sending jobs out to translators around the world. We can assure you that it works well – extremely well, in fact!
1. The early bird catches the worm
Even if your office is now at home, you still have to get to work. Waking up at a specific time, showering, getting dressed, walking the dog, having breakfast – no matter what your morning ritual includes, you should definitely stick to your routine. This will help you start the day in an organised and focused manner.
2. All the comforts of home
Exactly. You’re supposed to make yourself comfy. That sense of well-being and cosiness so often lacking in a large office should be fostered in your workspace at home. Choose a new plant for your desk or find a comfortable cushion for your back. Don’t forget to make sure that your work area is as ergonomic as possible. Your computer screen should be at eye level and roughly an arm’s length from your face. There are plenty of adjustable laptop stands and wireless keyboards and mice available at very affordable prices.
3. Have a break – have a chit-chat
Regular breaks are also often neglected in the workplace. Set a timer to remind yourself to stand up and stretch at least every 60 minutes or open the window and get some fresh air. Take a walk when you stop working for lunch (as long as there is no quarantine in place and you are allowed to go outside). Or use the time for a virtual coffee break and a chat with work colleagues elsewhere. Remember, working from home doesn’t have to be lonely.
4. It all comes down to communication
Technology offers us an incredible array of possibilities for interpersonal exchange. However, don’t forget that you are not in the same physical location as your colleagues. You can’t just stop someone in the hall to talk about the upcoming meeting or give a colleague a thumbs-up in passing for a particularly successful project. That’s why you need to ensure that you communicate clearly, transparently and proactively with your colleagues, clients, employees and superiors. Ask questions, give feedback and don’t skimp on the virtual “high fives” for your valued colleagues when your team is celebrating success. Teamwork strengthens solidarity and is indispensable when working from home as well.
5. An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Use your time at home as an opportunity to switch to a healthier and more balanced diet. You have access to your own kitchen and can prepare fresh meals instead of having to fall back on fast food for lunch. Your body, not to mention your wallet, will thank you for it.
6. Watch out for those distractions
It’s true. Working from home means that if you want to, you can just put your legs up for a bit and scroll through social media, read the news or order those new trainers you have been checking out online for a while. Save yourself from temptation with apps like Offtime, Flipd and Freedom, which can block certain websites or apps for a specific time period. You can go even further and simply keep all objects that could distract you away from your workspace.
7. The end of the day is for switching off – literally
This is especially true for people who already find it difficult in a traditional office setting to really switch off in the evening and leave work at work. It’s often even more difficult when working from home since you cannot leave your “office” physically. Go ahead and shut down all systems, turn off notifications until the next morning, organise your workspace or put everything away if you are occupying a spot that you use for other purposes outside of working hours. The best thing is to go out somewhere after work – either to get some exercise, meet friends or attend a cultural event (if permitted). This will help you to quickly get your mind off work and also prevent you from turning into a home-office hermit.