Lockdown has shown that remote working is possible on a far wider scale than many companies thought. For those that are able to embrace this new found flexibility, there can be a host of benefits, and contrary to popular opinion studies show that remote workers often have a higher productivity and efficiency rates.

Remote working has its advantages; however, it can bring some challenges too. Here are our top tips to help you work from home like a pro.

Maintain regular working hours

Of course one of the advantages of working from home is the ability to work flexible hours. However, it can be helpful to maintain regular working hours where as possible. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when the working day is done can help to maintain a positive work-life balance.

Have a dedicated workspace

You might be the kind of worker who likes to change it up and move around the house or garden for a change of scene, but often people working from busy home environments can find this distracting to say the least. If this is the case, it can be really helpful to setup a dedicated workspace and be strict with the people you live with about respecting this space. This doesn’t need to be a separate office if you don’t have one, it could just mean that if you are on your laptop in a designated area of your home, then it means you are working. If you live with others, then set these ground rules with them and vice versa.

Create a morning routine

Keeping some structure in your day can help to separate work time from downtime, in particular having a set morning routine. You no longer have a clear morning routine of commuting that kicks off the working day, so things like brewing a pot of coffee, walking the dog, or getting dressed (for some this is a perk, but for others it can be a hindrance) each day can become mental indicators to get you started each day.

Take scheduled breaks

It can be tempting to work through your breaks or not take them in the entirety, but it is important to give yourself adequate recess time. Give your eyes a break from the screen, stretch your legs and recharge your brain.

Be video call ready

Another reason to get dressed is for those impromptu video conferences, and it is also worth taking the time to check your workspace is video call ready too. Turn your webcam on and make sure there is nothing in the background you’d prefer your colleagues didn’t see. Perhaps, even spruce it up a little, you are going to be spending hours of each day working in that space after all. Most importantly – make sure nobody in your household gets caught short in their undies!

If you want to maintain your privacy, then think about using a virtual background, but remember the last virtual background you used will often be remembered. So, if last night involved a virtual quiz night with a few beers, make sure you check your background is set to something work appropriate.

Socialise with colleagues

Particularly for extroverts, remote working can become isolating and lonely. Get together with your colleagues for regular meetings and meetups (virtually or in person) to maintain interaction and connection within your team. You might want to keep in regular contact via messaging service such as WhatsApp or Slack to keep everyone in the loop on a daily basis.

Ask for what you need

Don’t hesitate to ask your employer for the right, reliable equipment to help you work from home effectively. Ask for what you need to get your job done comfortably, including the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, printer, phone, software, etc. If possible, it can be a good idea to have separate work and personal devices, such as laptop/computer and phones.

A VoIP phone system is especially suited for flexible working situations such as this and allows you to maintain separate personal and work phone numbers.  If space is in short supply there our Sensible WFH Packs are a great way to get all the equipment you need to create your own compact workspace.

Stay secure

If you are using your own personal devices to work from home, then make sure you have appropriate antivirus security installed. Make sure too, that your WiFi is secure and asks for users to login to access it. Don’t be the weak link in your company’s network, stay secure when working from home.

Take advantage of the perks

Make the most of the extra time you have from missing out on your daily commute, and make sure to have some ‘you’ time. Bake a loaf of bread, go for a walk, have a bubble bath, go for a picnic at the park or make a special dinner. Find something you enjoy and do it more often.