Master challenges in your home office
Working from remote changes the way we work and coordinate with colleagues. To master these challenges with ease, we gathered some useful tips & tricks from staying focused to planning breaks in your own office.
Survival Tips For New Home Office Workers
So all of a sudden you‘re working remotely, welcome to the home office! Now, home is not only your castle but also your office, cafeteria, preferred coffee place and you might even share it with small or big co-workers.
To manage these challenges, here are six easy to apply tips from experienced home office workers to help you settle down in business!
Set your alarm as you‘re used to and keep your morning routines up for a good start into the day: take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and then start up the PC.
Yes, of course, working in bed is tempting and maybe nobody will notice. Unfortunately, this leads to poor posture and less productivity. In addition, you feel better in an actual home office space – your back will thank you too!
If you have a true office – lucky you! Everybody else needs to set up an environment which suits your needs without too many distractions. Stay away from Netflix & co!
You need more tips, how make best of your equipment at hand and prevent an aching back? Check out our tips to Stay fit and happy in your home office: your new seating place.
Communicate your working hours and plan your lunch or coffee break. To stay as productive as you’ve been in the office, you might want to try the Pomodoro method.
You miss out a lot of non-verbal communication when you‘re not in one room with your team. There is no short coffee break chat – unless you plan it and it’s highly recommended to do so!
To actually plan a lunch break helps on many levels: it gives the day a structure, it can be a time to virtually meet up with colleagues to not eat alone, it refreshes you and gives you new energy.
When it‘s time to shut down, do shut down. Remember to clean up when you‘re done – after all this workplace is still also your home! Afterwards, it’s time to relax.
Stay fit and happy in your home office: your new seating place
The home office to some is a dream come true. Sitting in your PJs on the couch and still working productively… well, we already talked about these myths. To make your working sessions at home remain a positive experience, you also need to take care of yourself.
Start with your desk setup. Set up an external screen if possible. And of course try to make use of little helpers like an external mouse and keyboard to ease wrists and arms.
Most of us might end up at the kitchen table at a regular chair, which will of course not be adjustable. Eventually your back will let you know. Whatever seating place you are sitting on: utilise all of the seat for your thighs and place your feet flat on the floor for a healthy posture.
Make sure to move around and change your position as much as you can; take calls while standing up and include some stretches every 50 minutes (this even matches the Pomodoro Method!).
Your eyes are working too, so make sure you have sufficient light by choosing the ideal place to sit. From time to time, allow yourself a moment to rest your eyes by looking into the distance and then focusing close up again. Do this a couple times before getting back to what you were doing.
Working from Home with the Kids
These days home office can be an adventurous experience. Particularly when everyone has to stay at home and therefore some of us are now working remote with kids at home.
A mutually beneficial way to keep the children occupied is involving relatives!
Ask grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. to read children's books via video calls. You can do recurring video dates when reading longer stories. This helps scheduling long days and adds something the kids are looking forward to! After reading sessions, the children can draw elements from the stories they’ve just listened to. And in case Grandma and Grandpa “watch” the kids during this time too, you’ve gained some precious 10 minutes and they get some quality time with their grandchildren!
Additionally, we have some suggestions that might help you out as well:
- Make homeschooling more colourful and fun
- Choose one of our colouring pages and let them draw
- Get crafty with our creative ideas
Pens and paper in the digital age
Sore eyes, headache and a stiff neck can mean that it’s time to take a break from your PC or laptop. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, we’ve been working in the home office more often - in front of a screen. Ever thought of using pen and paper?
True, it’s quicker to type than to write. But it’s definitely worth making handwritten notes on a regular basis, too. The slowness of writing makes you think more about what you’re hearing, to put it into your own words. So you take more note of what you’re writing. Functional MRI scans reveal that the processes active in our brains when we write and when we type are totally different. Writing by hand stimulates different regions of the brain. According to scientists, this promotes creativity and concentration. You aren’t distracted by your mailbox, websites or random pop-ups.
You can draw and doodle on paper, too. What’s more, many people find this relaxing and can reflect more clearly while occupied in this way. Visualisation helps you take more note of a message. Pens, markers and paper have no batteries that need charging regularly. You can take them anywhere. And, last but not least: you’re simply offline when writing on paper! Not a bad thing in these times of digital fatigue and a lack of analogue contacts.
Tackling the paper mountain - and a scrum board on the window
Letters, invoices, a quick phone message - despite digitisation, we still end up with piles of paper. Anyone currently working a lot from home risks being swamped by an ever-growing paper mountain. Time to get organised!
It’s a situation familiar to anyone who doesn’t have their own workspace but works at the kitchen table: you look away for a moment and there are work notes, children’s drawings and domestic paperwork all scattered together. Perhaps it’s time to get organised. With edding permanent markers you can label your papers clearly and neatly.
No whiteboard in your home office? All you need is a window and a glass marker. With a few Post-Its, it can even become a scrum board. Glass markers from edding are dry-wipeable and available in lots of colours. Even after a few days, you can simply wipe off the ink and the window’s clean once more and ready for the weekend.
Virtual conferences have many advantages: Being able to see each other although being apart is one of them.
To make sure everybody can take advantage of virtual meetings, it’s best to set up some rules. Here are our suggestions:
- Double check the equipment
Are the dial ins at hand? Is there a mutual agenda?
- Be on time
- Mute disturbing noises
Present yourself and afterwards mute your microphone unless you‘re the one talking.
- If all else fails, take it easy and play some ViCon-Bingo!
Further tips and tricks
The Pomodoro Method – more than “Tomato, tomato” to stay focussed
All you need is a simple kitchen timer (lucky you, already sitting in the kitchen). Of course your mobile’s alarm function will do too.
- Write down the task you need to perform.
- Set your timer to 25 min.
- And go, focus on this one task!
- Afterwards have a 5 min. break.
You’ve completed your first Pomodoro. Do 4 rounds of pomodori before you do a longer break of 30 min. This way you‘ll stay efficient and focussed on your to do.
Do not allow email and phone calls to distract you, just take a note and keep on focussing on your task for the next 25 min.
Tip: Once you‘re done, remember to strike out that completed task from your to-do list! This method is equally successful and popular as you get to enjoy the feeling of getting things done.
Relieve some stress by staying active
Working remotely can be a challenge in many aspects.
Including some exercise to your schedule is a great way to help reduce stress. You don’t need a lot of equipment: Adding some conscious breathing to your day is a good start. Try, what makes you feel good. Sit down as it is comfortable to you and turn your head slowly and consciously from left to right. Stretch your spine. That’s it!
Try out what works for you. Go out for a run or just a walk in fresh air.
Tip: Don’t compare yourself to people exercising yoga or other sports for years already and make sure you listen to your body to find out what suits you.
Lunchtime in the Home Office – Simply delicious!
To keep the spirits up and be able to deliver excellence, good and nutritious food is so important. While being at home, some tend to snack all the time and end up never quite satisfied, others wait until they almost starve – know your individual bio rhythm and respect it.
Next on the agenda is always what to eat. As you‘re at home, turn around to the fridge and scan your options to check if everything is at hand. You might also check your available local delivery options for good alternatives.
Tip: Before starting your home office again, let in some fresh air, take a deep breath and have a good stretch. Now you‘re ready to go again!
Keeping up a social life: Preventing loneliness
Unless you share your home with your significant other and/or kids, after a couple of days you‘ll notice the sound of silence around you, especially in the evenings and during weekends.
Keeping your social life up in times of social distancing is a challenge indeed. A lot of people face the same challenges here, you are not alone!
To avoid getting cabin fever, arrange for a virtual after-work with colleagues and friends. Try video calls to get in touch with your friends and get that feeling of socialising and having fun. No chance for loneliness!
Stay healthy and happy!