Candidate Journey

WFH: How you can get the best out of the new normal

In the past few years, WFH has grown in popularity. Before COVID-19, 20 per cent of employees worked from home, but by December 2020, a survey found 71 per cent of employees were enjoying remote work. 

Employees have realized that they can accomplish everything they once did in an office at home. With the right tools and technology, WFH is offering employees more flexibility and time in their daily life.

WFH is likely here to stay. Therefore, if you work from home or contemplating the switch, this article is for you. 

It will offer guidance on adjusting to your new normal and ensure your productivity, engagement and connection to the job and your colleagues doesn't falter. The article will explore how:

  • Establishing a daily routine can bring the proper structure to your workday.
  • How to create the right work environment when at home
  • How taking breaks is vital to recharging and ensuring high levels of productivity
  • Why maintaining social connections with your colleagues is crucial to your well-being and engagement with your job.
  • To make certain work and home doesn't blur into one. To end the day successfully and ensure boundaries are in place.

How to make WFH a success

Starting the day right: Getting a routine in place

You need to find the right headspace to work from home successfully. And creating a morning routine can ensure you start the day well.

Like you would have when going to the office, establishing a morning routine can get you right. Start by setting the alarm and ensuring you have had a good night's sleep. You are ready to start the day with purpose when you are well-rested. As well as making sure you aren't rolling out of bed five minutes before your morning meeting.

In addition, making sure you have enough time to have a quality breakfast, coffee, shower, or even exercise can help us get into the right frame of mind. These foundations can help you to build a rhythm into your day. One that starts with consistency and gets you ready for work.

Routines help us focus. Whether traveling to work or WFH, we must start the day in the best possible way. To find the pattern that allows us to concentrate and be most productive. Moreover, having been used to commuting, you now have more time in the morning to find what works for you to get your day off to a great start.

Creating the perfect work environment

You need to create the right environment to be productive working from home. One from which you can concentrate, avoid distraction and be close to everything you need.

Which can depend on the space you have available. If you have your own office, fantastic, but if space is a challenge, living in an apartment or with small children, a place for a desk, or even a dining table, maybe your best option.

It doesn't matter what it is, but you need to be comfortable and capable of working productively from this position. So, does your new workspace answer these questions:

  • Is there room for all of your work material and computer?
  • Is there a good internet connection?
  • Are you able to avoid distraction there?
  • Can you get sunlight from where you are sitting? Working in a dark space can affect our mental and physical state.

If you need to, speak to your manager about improving your working environment at home: a comfortable desk chair or computer stand. Your bosses want you to be at your most effective, so see if you can borrow something from the office or if there is money available to support the transition of employees based from home.

Take breaks to be at your best

There is a misconception among those WFH that you need to be ON all the time. It can be difficult to shake the concern that when at home, you need to work harder, for longer hours and with less rest in between, to prove that your productivity isn't affected.

But this kind of attitude can cause your productivity and motivation to suffer. Therefore, taking breaks during the day is essential.

Your brain, like anything, needs breaks. It needs time to recharge, to take on the sustenance necessary to stay productive and maintain your energy levels. So, scheduling break times throughout your day can be restorative.

The time away from your work environment, as you would in the office to make coffee or chat, can help refresh your mind. It can be as simple as taking a walk around the room, reading an article, or looking at the world outside your window. These five to ten minutes are great for your mental health and help you return to work ready to continue.

Furthermore, it is vital to take a lunch break. A proper lunch and time for yourself to do as you please. Fresh air and exercise are excellent ways of breaking up the day into manageable bites and can refresh your mind and body for the afternoon. 

The breaks you take are your time and can help reduce stress. For example, if stuck on a challenging project, breaks provide welcome relief. They help you return to work with fresh eyes and maybe a different perspective to better deal with the issues you may face.

Maintaining a connection to your colleagues

One of the biggest challenges faced when WFH is connection. The feelings of isolation and lack of contact with those you were used to seeing every day at work can be complicated for many of us.

Although you may enjoy the solitude and focus that WFH provides, we all need social interaction. It prevents us from feeling lonely, reduces the sense of claustrophobia that being alone at home can create and breaks up the monotony of the working day. 

Unfortunately, WFH has cut off a lot of the casual social interactions you may have during the day, so finding ways around this is important.

As you are no longer in the same room as your teammates or can see the broader workforce around the office, establishing virtual connections is an excellent way of maintaining these vital social ties.

Talking to your colleagues via online apps, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, whether for social purposes or to discuss work, helps everyone get together to discuss projects, new television shows or the latest company news. As well as taking the opportunity to have in-person meetups when possible.

Human interaction matters. So, you must stay in contact with your co-workers and be present within social gatherings. Visibility is essential, and it offers you the chance to discuss any difficulties you may be facing and support one another. WFH affects us all differently, so don't be afraid to raise your voice if you struggle.

Remember, the end of the day is the end of the day

It can be hard to leave work sometimes, especially when busy. And when you are WFH, it can be even more of a challenge. So why not work an extra hour more or keep going into your evening?

Although your to-do list may stretch multiple pages, separating your work and home life is crucial. Establishing clear boundaries can ensure that one doesn't blur into the other. 

When WFH, keep to your scheduled hours. If there is a need to work overtime in certain situations, so be it, but not every night. Put away your work things, turn off your work programs, and, if you can, your email. To separate yourself from work.

The end of the working day means it is now your time, regardless of whether you are WFH or not. Whether that be socializing, exercising, reward yourself after a good day of work. Enjoy your time, as long as it doesn't involve working.

What to do when working from home

There are many new things that workers will experience when WFH. It can be a challenge to accustom yourself to your new setting and the new processes you rely on to work and communicate with your colleagues.

So, to help you stay productive, connected, find autonomy and enjoy your working day, these tips will hopefully support you on your remote journey:

  • Create a great morning routine to get yourself in the right mindset for the working day
  • Find a workspace at home where you can be at your most productive
  • Make sure to take breaks to recharge and allow you to be effective throughout the day
  • Although you are away from your colleagues physically, use online tools to maintain communication and connection
  • Remember that the end of the working day is your time to spend it as you please. WFH doesn't mean working all hours.

To achieve satisfaction whilst WFH, learn how to give and take without allowing work to take over your life.

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