While the easing of restrictions has seen some staff return to the office, there are still around 30% of Australians working from home either full time or in a mixed arrangement with office days. Even before the pandemic hit, the Australian Bureau of Statistics was recording a gradual 1% increase yearly of people working from home over the last decade.
Since working from home looks like it’s here to stay, here are some hacks to improve your work satisfaction and productivity.
Set aside and organise your workspace
Having a designated work area is essential to avoid distractions and to put you in the right mind frame for work. If you have a guest room, garage, attic that you can convert into a study, do so. If not, choose a well-lit corner, if possible, away from the kids’ rooms and the kitchen. You can use self-storage to help you create this space!
Organise your work area as you would in the office. Invest in a desk caddy, pedestal, and desk organisation accessories. This will help you keep your space organised and easy to use.
Get ready for work!
As convenient as it is to roll out of bed and slip into your chair with a cup of coffee, it’s better if you get ready for work as if you were going to the office.
Have a proper breakfast and drink before you sit down. Get showered and dressed (not necessarily into office clothes but at least get out of your pajamas). This will help you separate work from home life. You will also feel more refreshed if you do your usual morning routine before sitting in front of the computer.
Work out your tax-deductible expenses
The ATO allows you to claim many expenses when you work from home: internet, electricity, phones, furniture, tools. Keep all your receipts and invoices. Calculate how much you can claim from your bills using the tools on the ATO’s website or by hiring a tax accountant.
Set priorities and schedule your day
While business owners and CEOs may have incorrectly feared that working from home would result in a decrease in productivity, the opposite is actually the case. With the commute gone, most people spend more time working.
The work life divide is also less clear when you’re working from home. Maintain productivity while still achieving work-life balance by prioritising throughout the day and scheduling your day properly.
Finish work at a set time and abide by it, explaining to people that they can reach you during office hours. Prioritise the tasks for the day and put aside anything that isn’t urgent for another time.
Plan your breaks
Though many people are more efficient working from home, for some people especially those who have had to home-school or may be sharehousing, distractions abound. When you schedule your day and set aside time for breaks: either for a coffee, to get your kids to do the next task or run the washer, you’ll feel the struggle of juggling it all less.
Stick to your schedule. Work when you have planned to and only do other things that you had planned during the set break times. Have lunch as you would at work taking half an hour or an hour. Don’t lose track of time and cheat yourself of a decent lunch break! When it’s work time, you will be more productive while your breaks will feel like real breaks.
Arrange meetings and calls regularly
When you have a working arrangement which means coming to the office at set days of the week, your meetings may be arranged for you. However, if this isn’t the case it is still important to arrange regular online meetings or call your work team and supervisors from time to time.
Emails sometimes make things unclear and can be inefficient especially when it comes to dealing with problems. Working from home can also make it very tempting to work autonomously. This is a good thing, but only to an extent! Communication is still key to ensuring good outcomes!
Don’t neglect your social needs!
Working from home full time for months on end can be very isolating. Organise out of work catch ups with colleagues. If seeing your colleagues isn’t your cup of tea, make time to see friends for a drink, sign up for an exercise or creative class, and meet up with people!