Working from home or remotely is increasing in popularity in Europe. Recent stats (2018) show that an average of 5% of Europeans work from home, rather than from the office. There are, of course, countries that lead the stats, such as the Netherlands and Finland, with 14% and 13.3%, respectively.
Some people could think they cannot work from home, because it is complicated to establish a routine or because they prefer to be in an office environment, however, it is easier than you think if you set some rules and are (a bit) disciplined.
We have gathered some tips to help you get started, do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any amazing tip we have not mentioned.
A good internet connection
This one might seem obvious, but it is not. If you are working from home, you should be as equipped as if you were in an office. This means that your internet connection should be up to standards and reliable. Imagine being on a conference call and being slowed down because of a poor connection – this wouldn’t look professional.
A dedicated working space
To be productive, you need to be focused. It’d be great if we could work lying on the couch or by the pool – amazing if you can! But most of us need a desk, a comfortable chair (very important, since we will spend many hours sitting down!) and adequate lighting.
Having a dedicated working space means it will be easier for you to concentrate and also to switch off work once your working hours come to an end. If you do not have a dedicated space, the dining room table or kitchen table might do the trick just for now. If you are an entrepreneur or have chosen to work remotely, do consider investing in a good chair and desk – your back will thank you for it.
Establish a routine
It does not really matter when you start and how you start the day, but do have a fixed routine. Have a shower, get dressed (do not work on your pyjamas!), have breakfast and sit down, as you would normally do at the office. This helps enormously to get into work mode and you will even forget you are home.
Breaks are very important, too. Stretch your legs, walk the dog, do the laundry – anything that will help you switch off. But do not extend them too much, otherwise, it will be hard to sit down again and resume where you left it.
Set working hours
If you do not, you will end up working way more than your established hours by contract, or if you are self-employed, you will ever leave your desk. Working 12 hours a day does not imply you are more productive than someone that “just” works 8. After a while, our brains get distracted and do not focus, so it’s important to know where your limits are.
If you work from home but have colleagues at the office, it’s important that your timetables match, in case you need to work together in a project or be in constant touch.
Let people know you are working, that could mean friends or family members, so they will not interrupt or pop in while you work. Also, avoid social media when not on a break – time does fly when you are on Facebook or Instagram!
Technology is your friend
Working from home does not mean you cannot attend a meeting or a one on one meeting with a client or supplier. Make the most of all the technology available and transform your desk in an office with good-quality headphones, a webcam – if your computer does not have one and any given software that will allow video conferences. It is also a good idea to have roll-ups that you can place behind your chair to make your working space look even more professional or corporate.
Technology will also help you communicate with your colleagues at the office, via chat or any preferred method of communication.
Interact with people
Being at home by itself all day might demotivate you. Interacting with people is crucial for us, humans – although some cherish those solitude moments. A good way to see people is having your morning coffee in a café, use your breaks to go to the shops, do personal phone calls or schedule lunch with another remote worker.
If you cannot, walk down the street, even just for 5 minutes, to stretch your legs and get some fresh air – hopefully you will bump into someone!
Time for yourself
Working from home sometimes means neglecting your own leisure or spare time. Regardless the amount of work you might have or how busy you are, you have to find the time for yourself, even if you are starting your own company and 24 hours a day are not enough. Overworking can lead to stress, burnouts and other mental health issues, so pamper yourself and take the time to do something you like or enjoy.
We do hope you found those tips helpful, let us know if you have other suggestions.
The team at Meridional Events