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10 things you didn’t know you needed to successfully work from home

Chad Prinsloo | Web Designer

Janine Do Cabo  Sustainability & Leadership Development  |  Dubai, UAE

March 2020

It sounds amazing, own hours, own time, casual clothes and equally as casual settings.  You get to make your own rules while making tons of money; with such flexibility, it’s the quintessential vocation on the New Year’s resolutions of everyone sick and tired of their current jobs or dares I say, current colleagues.  With the imagination being such a powerful and amazing tool, you’ve pictured yourself looking cute in front of your reliable laptop getting important things done while having the luxury of dabbling in a bit of “leisure stuff” if need be – after all, you are at home right and that means anything’s possible. It’s only when day 4 comes and you’ve hardly left the office, unless for a bathroom break during the day that reality sets in. Your kids’ evening routine is so confusing they eating breakfast for supper and by the end of the week, you view doing hair and makeup as unnecessary time-wasting events.  It’s no wonder you resemble Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway – but you’re a woman …. Making covering your webcam from surprise video calls with a sticky note – the only sensible thing to do!

Working from home requires more professionalism, better discipline, better communication, bigger responsibility and handling a bigger workload. Every day is a get-up, dress up and show up day because the success of what you do, lies solely on your shoulders.

The responsibility is much greater.

Keeping a well-constructed, well-disciplined, well-kept working environment at home could either be a challenge, or a great opportunity for a more productive, work-life integration. A chance to watch that rugby game, attend that concert, support the local art club, spend time with the children and still being on top of your work, actually doing better and getting more done than before.  To achieve this you will need to tear down the imagination of what you thought it would be like and get real with practical ways to stay abreast and one step ahead.  So to help you out, here are 10 things you didn’t know you needed to successfully work from home.

  1. Office space

Now some might think that this is obvious but I guarantee there is that person out there daydreaming about working from the comfort of their queen-sized bed.  As ideal as that may be in terms of comfort, it’s not ideal for productivity.  You should aim for a comfortable and quiet place that everyone knows is cornered off for you and your work.  A seemingly small thing but has the potential of making you more dedicated as well.

  1. A solid routine

Now just because you’re home, the temptation would be to wake up at 10 am and finish at lunchtime, but again, though possible, you may have to settle for the kind of salary that pays for bread and milk at the end of the week.  Maintaining your regular working hours forms a habit for yourself which forces you to take yourself and what you do seriously – because that’s how you would want your clients to do too!

  1. Regular breaks

With anything you do over long periods of time, you run the risk of making errors or losing focus when you neglect to take regular breaks.  Whatever your line of business, taking a break will assist you in delivering your best work.

  1. Ground rules

In the perfect world of working from home, anyone can bombard your office and hi-jack your space, and when they’ve left, you can pick up where you left off with no repurcussions.  The truth of the matter is that there’s a reason why family is not allowed to keep you company at a normal 9-5 corporate job.  They, like dogs and cats running in and out at will, have the potential to cause distractions making ground rules absolutely essential!  That means setting up appointments for people who want to see you and sticking to the stipulated times as well as, keeping the lunch hour an hour.

  1. Stretches

There’s a reason why stretching is associated with relaxation.  It’s well, relaxing. Blood flow to the brain gets endorphins released, making you a happier you; thus, in turn, making you more productive.

  1. Good relations with your colleagues

It’s always good to have a network of people in the line of business you’re in to call upon when you need help.  For this reason, you should not burn bridges.

  1. A seriousness towards all types of meetings

Be totally present and fully prepared for video and online calls. Do not be distracted or carry on with your other work. Focus and give your full attention to the meeting at hand.

  1. Change of scenery

Leave home! (oops we cannot do that right now) maybe leave your house. Walk in the garden, take your coffee break outside, pick up a new book.  Sometimes the change of scenery is as good as a holiday, well on a smaller scale.

  1. A continual self- development strategy

Keep educating yourself, knowledge is power! Power up. Online courses, e-books, audiobooks. There is plenty of free online material to grow and educate yourself.

  1. An organized workspace

Last but not least – keep your working space clean and tidy. This helps for better and more creativity as well as productivity and self-discipline which is a key responsibility of working from home.

So, there you have it!  10 of the best tips to help you make a success of your working from home endeavours that would save you the trouble of catching up from an unproductive week which so easily turns into a month.  As you apply these tips, you will find your work-life integration a lot smoother making you, your clients and your family much happier.

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