How to work from home

More people than ever before now work from home. Great, right? Maybe, but there’s more to it than logging in and logging out from the comfort of your bedroom. Read The Mix’s working from home tips to make sure that the setup works for you.

A young woman is on her phone. She is meant to be doing work from home. This is a wide-angle image.

Should I work from home?

If your employer’s new work from home policy lets you choose whether to work from home or not, you shouldn’t just jump at the opportunity. Instead, take a minute and think about the following before you make a decision:

  • Can you honestly, hand on heart, tell us you won’t pretend you have internet problems at least 12 times a day? And if you do, can you make sure you get enough work time in to reach all your deadlines?
  • Do you have a tendency to go slightly stir-crazy and get into long, in-depth conversations with telesales workers if you don’t have enough social interaction?
  • Does the prospect of blowing off work to watch daytime television seem all too tempting?
  • Do you like to repeatedly open the fridge and check what food is in there? Just in case you’ve forgotten in the past 5 minutes? 

Sure, remote work sounds fab in theory. Problem is, you do need to actually get some work done. So, if you can relate to any of the above, it may be worth dragging your sorry butt into the office to make sure you’re being productive.

Working from home tips

If you’ve decided that working from home is for you, then follow these tips to avoid distractions:

Create an office-y environment

Set up a desk and chair for your laptop or computer. Not only is this good for your posture, but let’s be real, are you really gonna be at your most efficient while lying in bed on your stomach? And while we’re on the topic of efficiency, getting dressed could help you get into ‘business-mind’ and increase productivity, too.

Try the pomodoro method to help you stay focused

Staring at your screen for 8 consecutive hours a day usually ends in daydreams and internet shopping. If you wanna avoid that then try downloading a pomodoro calculator onto your computer. It’ll split your time into nuggets for maximum efficiency. The aim is to work in 25 minute chunks before having a rest for five minutes. Even if you’re skeptical right now, we’d recommend giving it a go; it’s surprising how easy it is to concentrate when you know it’s only for 25 minutes.

Incorporate some kind of socialising

We know this might come as a shock but we are all human. And that includes you. This means that we need to do that pesky thing called social interaction to stay sane. If you work at home a lot, try and incorporate this into your daily routine. Whether it’s meeting a mate for lunch, or just offloading online with your Twitter pals, try. If Sheldon Cooper can make time for friends, so can you.

Ban the internet in bursts

Ahh, the infinite power of being able to do whatever you like on your laptop without having one of your nosey colleagues looking over your shoulder. But we’re gonna be your Uncle Ben (minus the dying) and remind you that with great power comes great responsibility. If you’re constantly tweeting about how much your job sucks while you’re supposed to be doing said job, it’s only a matter of time before you get caught. Then it’s back to the office for you, and not the one on the NBC lot. 

To avoid that scenario, you should download software like Freedom, which blocks you from the internet for set amounts of time. Although, we’d probably make sure that your work email address isn’t blocked just in case employers and/or other employees want to get in touch.

Asking your boss to work from home

Thanks to the covid-19 pandemic most companies have been forced to create some kind of work from home policy for both employees and managers. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, If you’re a shop assistant or heart surgeon, it’s kinda impossible to do that from home

But if all you need to work is a computer, phone and internet connection and they still want you to commute to work, it may be worth seeing if there are alternatives. Especially if you’ve got kids or family members you have to take care of. In which case you’re entitled to ask your employer for flexible working hours and/or environments – though they also have the right to say no. For instance, if they feel like there’s evidence that employees who are working from home are less productive.

Whatever your circumstance, the best first step is to look around your office. Do other team members work from home? Could you do your job as effectively, if not more so? Build a case to bring to your boss. Fingers crossed they’ll agree with you! And if they don’t then you can always try asking for some form of hybrid working arrangements (part of the week at home, the other part in office). Plus, if you’re part of a trade union you can always turn to them for advice.

Share your tips for working from home on our discussion boards.

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By Holly Bourne

Updated on 10-Apr-2022