It’s business as usual here at DC.  The only thing that’s changed is where we do our work.

Like millions of businesses all over the world, we are working from home (WFH) and becoming pretty good at it very quickly.

To the uninitiated, WFH is actually easier said than done – it’s sometimes difficult to stay focused with so many distractions and temptations around the house.  Jobs we avoid on weekends (eg cleaning out the cutlery drawer or colour coding the wardrobe) become strangely alluring when we’re trying to focus on work work at home.

Based on our experience, we’ve compiled a list of our 10 most useful work at home practices,  These are the little things that are helping us stay focussed to maintain a solid level of performance during these unsettling times.

  1. Get up on time and get dressed for work. Keeping up your daily patterns will help you maintain the momentum of work life and provide the discipline needed to focus on delivering on your work commitments. Also consider your appearance for video meetings, PJs won’t cut it.
  2. Be organised & plan your day. Create a to-do list for the day then block out time in your calendar to get those tasks completed.  This will also help plan around any other commitments you will need to deal with like looking after children.
  3. Exercise during your normal commute time. Re-purposing your would-be travel time will give you a more energised start to the day.  While practicing social isolation, an online yoga class or workout app can replace group exercise.  Our incidental activity is lower when WFH so it’s important to schedule time to move.
  4. Log out of the news and social media…. Just for a while. There’s nothing more distracting (and possibly distressing) than the endless stream of content, particularly with everything that’s going on right now.  Remind yourself that although being well-informed is important, getting your job done and meeting your work commitments is also important.  Put the phone done – it will be right where you left it when you come back.
  5. Have a dedicated work space.. Designate a specific place at home and try not to make it near a bed or a TV.  A separate room is ideal if you have one.  Do your best to ensure that your work space at home emulates that of your physical work environment. Ideally also somewhere to minimise interruptions from other people in the house.
  6. Test the tech. Become an expert at everything tech from remote access, software applications, how to dial in to a video meeting etc.  You’ll need the hardware, software and a certain amount of expertise to do this.
  7. Stay connected. Make sure that you’re readily available via e-mail, phone, text and video calls.  It can sometimes feel isolating to work at home so stay in frequent contact with your colleagues using face to face video as much as possible. We enjoyed virtual Friday afternoon drinks last week – it was a hoot!
  8. Avoid home distractions. Never underestimate the gravitational pull of the fridge and your comfy bed.  TV, pets and family members are just a few other distractions you’ll encounter when WFH.  Planning ahead helps but ultimately it is up to you to stay focused. Instead of avoiding your distractions manage them. Keep a list of ‘home jobs’ when they pop into your head then when you take a break start tackling the list.
  9. Minimise personal tasks during work hours. It’s important to let friends and family know that although you’re working from home, you’re still working. You might also have trouble drawing boundaries between your personal and work life.  You won’t always have control, but by being specific about when you’re available and setting limits as much as possible, you can have the best of both worlds.
  10. Take breaks. When planning your schedule, you might want to consider working in smaller spurts and allowing yourself time to get up from the computer to stretch. Without having team members around, you will have fewer interruptions and may forget to take time away from your desk. Taking breaks has been shown to make us more productive, so make time for breaks.

The ability to successfully work from home is highly dependent on the individual but generally speaking some adjustments are required.  Hopefully our tips above give you some ideas on how you can create your own personalised WFH experience.