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Working from home – For novices

Working from home. It seems to get a negative response from some business owners and managers alike. The bigger corporations seem to really drive it. I guess this is the difference people look for when they are seeking out a new role;

Does their potential new employer offer flexibility and remote working options, or do they tie you to a desk and expect you to clock in and clock out each day?

With the current global situation in terms of COVID-19, it may be time for more employers to open up to the prospect, that remote working for employees, can actually be a great thing in terms of productivity!

Personally, I don’t enjoy working from home. I like to be in an office surrounded by my whiteboards, double computer screens and of course, near the coffee machine! Another thing I enjoy about being in the office, is people! Ironic, given that we’re now being told to adapt ‘social distancing’ measures!

Whenever I have to work from home, I create an extensive “To Do” list as well as a “Get Sh*t Done” list.

Prioritising and structure is crucial!

If I know I have some stuff to do and some stuff that HAS to be done, I find I hold myself much more accountable. Furthermore, if someone else tells me I have to get X, Y and Z done, I know I have to complete these, or else I may not be trusted in the future.

In conclusion, working from home has been very successful for me personally. It’s likely because I know it’s a novelty, where I’ll be back at the office soon and I have no distractions around me, so all I can do is work. Accountability is key. Whether it’s you, or someone else holding you to it.

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My advice to anyone who isn’t used to working from home is to have the following prepared:

  • Firstly, give yourself an hour with no phone, emails or interruptions, so you can focus on planning the week/days ahead.
  • Be mindful that you likely don’t actually know how long each task takes, you usually ‘just do it’ – So be realistic about the time required.
  • Organise your tasks in order of importance labelling them A, B & C (A being the top priority).
  • Have a completion date/time for each task – and stick to it.
  • Pull up your calendar and organise your diary into slots. Aim to get all your “A” level tasks done first thing then moving to B & C accordingly throughout the day.
  • Make sure you add each task to the calendar for completion. If you get the task done sooner, move to the next, if it takes too long, come back to it. Sometimes its best to get 4 “B” level tasks done rather than one single poorly completed “A” task.
  • Breaks – make sure you maintain structure and take regular breaks as you would in the office.
  • Communicate. Check in with your colleagues, schedule a conference/video call and keep in daily contact with your manager.
  • At the end of the day, look over all your completed tasks and any that you didn’t get completed, rank them in their category and add them to your calendar for the following day.

For me, I find a sense of achievement when I can tick off all my tasks at the end of a day, but realistically, there are usually a couple that I missed (usually “C” grade tasks) which I grade to an “A” and do first thing the following day.

Key points:

  • Maintain structure.
  • Plan and prioritise accordingly.
  • Communicate with others as much as possible.
  • Tick off as you go.
  • Get Sh*t done!