10 tips for working from home
In times of Corona many entrepreneurs find themselves with the challenge of having to work from home for the first time. Executives, employees, self-employed people – we all see ourselves forced to organise ourselves from home. Apart from questions of how to handle childcare while working from home, there is often a lack of a clear structure for the day. To make this new way of working easier, we at dynaMIND Berlin have put together a few tips for you.
First of all, it should be said that finding a working attitude is something very personal and everyone should explore it in his or her own way. These tips from us coaches are only intended as suggestions.
1. Set yourself an alarm like you are used to from your normal daily routine and don’t succumb to the temptation to sleep longer, as you now don’t need to travel to work. Of course, there is nothing wrong with getting a good night’s sleep when you start your project of working from home, but to get into a routine, it helps to get up early. Your self-management is required!
2. Wear comfortable, normal everyday clothes and follow your routine in the bathroom as if you were going to the office. Taking care of yourself will affect your self-confidence, whether you are a manager, self-employed or an employee and you will feel “prepared” for the day. If you have online meetings or training sessions, you can even try out what it feels like to wear shoes.
3. Set up a workplace, preferably with daylight and if possible in a separate room. Practice the “closed-door-policy”: when the door is closed, you do not want to be disturbed and explain this to family members or flatmates – communication is (as often) key! After all, you are a team at home.
If you do not have the possibility to withdraw into your own room, try the traffic light system: Make a traffic light or two coloured cardboard circles with hangers in red = “Please do not disturb” and green = “Please contact me”. If you want to turn it into an activity with children, here are the instructions.
4. Perhaps the most important point when it comes to working from home – avoid distraction. Most people find it hard to resist every distraction there is at home, like getting things done around the house or surfing the internet. Don’t try to do chores in between, but rather put in blocks of 10 minutes in the morning, at noon or in the evening in which you do the most necessary things to be productive and feel comfortable. If you find it difficult to focus, try this coaching trick – the Pomodoro technique: Set a timer for 25 minutes of concentrated work, then take a 5 minute break and start again. After 4 intervals you take a 30 minutes break. If you are more experienced you can extend the intervals to 50 minutes and 10 minutes break. In the free App Focus Keeper you can set the intervals and don’t have to set a new alarm clock every time. But if you don’t need your mobile phone for work, just put it in another room! (Yes, we at DynaMind also have our difficulties with this…)
5. Set fixed working hours at which you start and when you stop working. Also plan specific (longer) breaks where you can go out and get some fresh air. Berlin is beautiful in spring! For the beginning, set an alarm clock for the breaks as well.
6. Write a to-do list in the morning or the evening before and set three priorities that you definitely want to achieve.
7. Start with the most annoying task (“Swallow the frog”) to avoid putting it off all day long. When you are done with the task, it creates a feeling of satisfaction that carries you further through the day. If this method does not work for you, you can also try starting with a task that you enjoy (but which still is work-related).
8. Make a quick, nutritious lunch or support nearby restaurants by ordering or picking up food. It’s best to be prepared, for example, by making a weekly plan for your main meals or by planning the next day in advance. For your lunch break, try to stick to the times you have in your company so that you don’t extend your break excessively.
Make sure you have enough snacks and drinks at the beginning of the day so that you don’t have to get up all the time to get something from the kitchen.
9. Integrate movement into your day, such as jogging, yoga, home workouts or walking. You will notice that you are more motivated to do your work and feel better physically and mentally.
10. The most important tip of all: Don’t be too hard on yourself. This is not the phase in your life where you have to tackle the new project, you have to use the time to prepare new ideas for team development or to initiate change processes, because you “have so much time”. This is an absolutely exceptional situation, which is mentally very stressful.
If it helps you to start many projects to distract yourself, then do so, but if you notice that you have difficulties being productive at home, then do only the most necessary things. Give yourself time to find new routines and explore your possibilities.
You don’t have to be productive and efficient right now.
If you would like support from a coach in the current situation or you have been thinking about doing a business coaching for a long time, then arrange a trial coaching at DynaMind Berlin.
Sophie Grußendorf, psychologist and coach at DynaM