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7 tips for effective working from home during Corona

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Working from home… it sounded nice in the first week, but after the Corona measures it quickly resulted in lot pressure for a lot of people. Especially when you have to combine work with childcare, have to home school and you are constantly switching between the role of colleague, mother, teacher etcetera. You simply do not have your hands free and it seems impossible to be able to really focus without distractions. Home working caused a lot of mental issues for both man and women, but especially for working mothers. The length of the working day had increased steadily and they are always feeling ‘on’. There is no me-time and things outside the house to boost your battery are closed duet o the lockdown. Therefore, I would like to share with you some tips on how to make home working more pleasurable and more effective. So at the end of the day, you have a feeling of satisfaction and rest.

1. Create a nice workspace for yourself

A good start of your working day starts with a work environment in which you feel fine and happy. Most of todays work environments are not the most inspirational places to work. Working with many people in one big space with constant noise, the fake plants, the zooming air conditioning, the coffee in carton cups. Well, you get the picture. Now you have to work from home is the perfect excuse to make your on little office heaven. Create your ideal workspace in a room or part of the house that you feel comfortable in. Make sure you have a desk and chair on the right height and make something nice and personal out of it. A plant, photoframe or a big mug with your nicest tea or coffee will work fine to make your workspace feel better than the corporate office one. Make also sure it is neat and tidy so you can start your work with a clear space.

2. Set your goal

It is very alluring to just start working behind the screen after you had a busy morning dressing kids and bringing them to school or daycare. After the whole morning routine including the ‘where is your coat?’ and ‘where are my car keys?’ hunts, you are happy to sit down and just jump into work. You start working without a clear goal in mind of what you want to accomplish that day. At the end of the day it is often the case that you were constantly busy with the tasks that you like to work on in stead of what had priority or what was urgent. So think about your two or three main goals for your day before you start to work. Do this the night before preferably, so you can allow yourself to start and read what you have to do. Write down: when is your day successful?

3. Organise tranquility

At the office you have constant contact and interaction with your colleagues. Sometimes it can be a challange to just focus at a certain task for an hour or two. In a corporate work environment you have quick chats, meetings, people coming to bother you at your desk all the time. Working from home gives us an opportunity at this point. The change to work undisturbed. But, this can the tricky at home too. Since there is no physical contact, people tend to have the need to be seen or to show their presents in another way. By calling more or planning more videomeetings. This results in more distractions (and you have enough of that already when you work in a house while your kids have school lessons online. So make sure you organise rest and a tranquil worktime by planning the time that you are available and when you are not. Make this visible in your online calendar, so collaegues know when you can call you (and when they have to leave you alone because you are focussed on something else).

4. Make a planning for the day

A well known pitfall with working from home is that you work and work until your stomac making funny sounds without any breaks and a clear schedule. At the office there is usually someone who asks ‘Are you coming to lunch?’, but at home that is not there. You are working so hard that at the end of the day you wonder why you feel so tired and ‘off’. It is important (besides writing down your goals for the day) to make a planning: At what time and how long are you going to work at a certain task? Do you work from 9 – 17h or do you work in blocks and vary with work and childcare? When do you take breaks? Set an alarm for that because there is a change you will work longer than you planned for. Again, make it visible for you and for your colleagues if you work with an online calendar. For your breaks there are two requirements: eat and move your but. Only if it is just 10 minutes, it is important to walk a bit and to look at something else than your screen to recharge your physical and mental energy bar. When you work with a schedule that tell you when you work on what and when you allow yourself a break, you will have a more productive and efficient working day.  

5. Focus

Make sure you actually work on the tasks that you should work on. It sounds easy, but as mentioned before, when you work from home there are many distractions. Moreover, it is easy to work on things that bring you joy and a feeling of fulfilment than working on something that has to be done but does not bring you any spark. An effective method is to first deal with all the tasks that have to most urgency and just need to be done. After that, you have all the leftover time to concentrate on things that bring you more satisfaction (but were not necessary goals for the day).

6. Not everthing needs to be perfect

If perfectionisme is a well known charateric of yours, you know that this can hinder meeting your goals. Simply because you spend more time on things than you would like and it is difficult to really end a task and say that it is good enough. It usually can always be a little bit better or a bit more substantiated. Although delivering high quality work is a good characteric, it can be a real burden to get things done. At the end of the day you feel like you did not do enough, you did  and that is dissatisfying. So be kind for yourself an realise that your standards are not the standars of your colleague or client. Not everything has to be perfect and is more often well enough than you think. What can help you is to invest in a good work process. To arrange a work flow in which for example you write a first concept and send is with your questions to your colleague, who then works on it or gives you feedback. Make sure that expectations on both sides are clear.  

7. End your working day (nicely) 

When you work from home it is easy to fall into the trap of working at night. It is more difficult to really close your working day when it’s so easy to be switched ‘on’ all the time. Then there is also no travel time in a car, train of on a bike with some music, in which you can mentally unplug. What often happens is that the extra time that we experience due to lack of travelling, is that we fill this up with.. indeed, work. And that we cannot switch off as we should and dive in the evening routine with the kids immediatly without a break. And you earn a break, especially in the pandemic-situation that we live in. So make sure you end your working day properly. For example, poor yourself a nice drink around five o’clock and crash on the sofa with a magazine or podcast. You can also make a little walk outside, get some sun in your face with a little music from Spotify. I bet that you finish your working day with more pleasure and energy.

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