How to maximise efficiency when you work from home

Slides UpdateIf you work in marketing, there’s a very good chance that you’re working from home right now. With offices closing down all over the UK and worldwide, working remotely is becoming the new normal.

At a time of uncertainty, we thought it might be helpful to share some tips for remote (and possibly solitary) working. We hope you find them useful.

  1. Create a routine. Try and stick to some sort of working day; ensure you get up and going at reasonable hour. Although, as com points out, everyone’s most productive working hours will be different, and working at home does give you the opportunity to work around yours.

Sticking to a routine also means resisting any temptation to overdo it. When you’re at home, the fluidity of work can all too easily mean you start earlier and finish later.

As thriveglobal.com says, ‘Since work is so close to your bedroom, you may feel the pressure to work as soon as you wake up. Instead, give yourself the time you need to get into the right headspace’. And remember to stop at a reasonable hour too.

  1. Get dressed. Not necessarily in office wear – you can wear something comfy (as thriveglobal.com says, ‘where what you can be productive in’). This doesn’t extend to pyjamas though! A Guardian article from 2018 says that not wearing pyjamas is ‘the first rule of working from home’.

If you usually dry your hair and put make-up on and want to carry on – do it. Make this new way of working seem as similar as possible to your usual routine.

  1. Create a work zone. It doesn’t matter too much how big this is, or where it’s located – but if you can, avoid working from your bed or your sofa.

Not only is it bad for your posture and general health, you risk blurring the boundaries between work time and downtime. If you reply to emails in bed, you’ve destroyed the idea of your bed being a haven from all things work-related.

  1. Keep in touch with people from work. We’re fortunate in that we work in a time of unprecedented technology. This allows us to talk to, email and even see our colleagues via video link.

Technologies mean that we can liaise with colleagues and suppliers in real time, brief agencies online and collaborate virtually. No, it’s not quite the same as being in the office surrounded by your team, but there are ways to keep in touch. Our blog on remote collaboration in marketing has more tips.

  1. Avoid procrastination. When there’s nobody around you, it can be easier to get distracted, even with the best of intentions.

Get rid of distractions. Everyone’s ‘distraction limit’ will be different, so work out what’s right for you. Having the radio for company might be fine, but the TV maybe a step too far. And think about whether having rolling news on in the background or constant Twitter updates is a positive thing anyway. Your wellbeing may be better served by not spending all your time consuming the latest news.

If your phone is your Achilles heel, you can download apps that limit your screen time.

  1. Remember data protection. The Information Commissioner’s Office posted a useful tweet outlining what people should do to protect data when working at home. The tweet reminds people to use a work-issued device and email account where possible, keep devices secure, and to encrypt data if you need to transfer it, among other advice.
  2. Don’t forget your wellbeing. As we’ve said above, there can be a temptation to work long hours when your commute is taken out of the equation. And work can seem overwhelming when there are no water-cooler chats or face-to-face meetings to provide a break. Set yourself small deadlines, and reward yourself when you reach them.

Remember to take regular screen breaks, even if it’s just for a walk round the house or a breath of fresh air on the balcony.

If you’re new to working at home, we hope these tips help.

Nothing in this document should be treated as an authoritative statement of the law. Action should not be taken as a result of this document alone. We make no warranty and accept no responsibility for consequences arising from relying on this document.