Still quite a new concept, working from home has only become a reality in the past few years. So much so, those who were working 50 years ago would probably have been mind-boggled by the idea of so many of us tackling our jobs from the comfort of our own homes! But because of the rise of technology and since the upheaval of COVID-19, the majority of the world’s working population has set up an office in their humble abodes.
Despite how the commute is a LOT easier, working from home also has its problems. How to organise your day, where to set up your office or simply avoiding the temptation to snack from the fridge every 15 minutes are just a few issues we’re dealing with. So, if you want advice on what NOT to do, then read 10 of our worst working from home tips for you to avoid.
1) Get up late
First and foremost, getting up late is the worst advice for working from home. Apparently, tackling your to-do list as soon as you wake up allows you to get started on the task, giving you more time to spend on it during the day. If you wake up late, you allow the morning sleepiness to take over instead of getting on with the task at hand!
What’s more, getting up early means starting work earlier and finishing earlier (if your work permits this). Then you will be left with more time in the afternoon to go on a run or complete those house chores that you’ve been putting off for days!
2) Change your routine every day
Closely connected to getting up late, the idea of starting and finishing work or taking breaks at a different time every day is a really bad idea. By making sure your routine is the same every single day, you will achieve a happy work-life balance. Even though you are working from home, try to follow your normal work and sleep patterns. Why not incorporate your commute time by taking a walk or reading?
And, once work is over, make sure it is over! Tidy away your work things or shut the door to the office. Only return once your new workday begins again. If you’re terrible at setting tasks for yourself, give yourself a proper schedule to follow throughout the day. Keep a diary or calendar so that you can foresee your future deadlines.
3) Don’t have a dedicated workspace
Sitting on the couch or lying in bed may seem like a good idea at the time (especially if you’re having one of those days) however, it is a real no-go area if you want to work productively. Instead, make sure you have a dedicated area where you can work. If you don’t have a home office, simply work at a table, such as in the dining room. This will allow you to zone in on your work priorities.
Try to make sure there are no tempting distractions in your workspace such as a TV or a fridge (kitchens aren’t the best places to work)! Just make sure you have everything you need in that one place: chargers, a notepad, pens, a drink etc. And don’t forget to make it comfy. Have a blanket or extra cushions for when you get cold or need extra padding on the chair! You could even use an old cardboard box to rest your feet on!
4) Work in a room which gives you no motivation
Mural in photo: Enchanted Woodland
This is definitely one of our worst working from home tips. Setting up your office in the messy back bedroom which is essentially the “dump-it zone” is not a good idea. Alternatively, why not create a motivational home office that is stylish as well as a pleasure to be in. Even if you have set up your office in the dining room, there are a number of ways to create an inspirational workspace.
Firstly, stay organised. Choose tasteful storage that will subtly add to the room’s décor but be your saviour when it comes to storing those all-important work documents – yes, the ones that you keep losing! Choosing a desk with drawers, handy shelving or slim cabinets are all great ways to incorporate more storage into a room. Not only will handy storage improve organisation, but it will give your working area a minimalist look that will help you to maintain a clear mind.
Mural in photo: Think Positive Thoughts
Secondly, have motivational décor. We can all feel dis-spirited sometimes when we are working so it is crucial that we surround ourselves with motivational triggers. Create an inspiration board with quotes, photos of places you’d love to go, or simply photos of your loved ones. Place it on a wall that you look at throughout the working day. Or, why not install an inspirational home office wall mural? A refreshing forest wallpaper will calm your nerves when times get tough or a positive quotes wall mural will remind you of why you are working so hard!
5) Go on social media all the time
We cannot stress how much this is a bad idea. When you’re at home, nobody can watch you and sometimes you may be tempted to scroll endlessly through social media! Not only is this terrible for your work productivity but it is such a waste of time! If you want to scroll on the web, save it for break times. After all, when working at home, you can start to feel isolated! So make sure you stay connected once you’re not working.
To stop messing around on social media when you should be working, hide away your phone! Put it on loud in case the boss calls, but keep it in another room. Or keep it away from your desk or simply take it out of your hand. Secondly, make it harder for you to scroll through the web on your work appliance. Remove social networks from your browser shortcuts and keep those temptations at bay…
6) Plan and tackle the hardest tasks when uninspired
Of course, this is one of the worst working from home tips going. Instead of tackling tasks when you're demotivated, relish in the flexibility of working from home. Plan your day so that it suits YOU. If you’re an early riser, tackle those difficult tasks in the morning or if you wake up mid-afternoon, do them then. That way you will spend less time procrastinating and getting the job done and dusted!
7) Don’t bother with a work-life balance
Yes, this tip is ridiculous. All of us definitely need to take a break from our work lives and because we are working from home, it’s even harder to separate the two. That is why it is crucial to shut the office door or pack away your work things as soon as the working day is done.
If you use the same laptop for work as you do for personal reasons, set up your internet browser, like Google Chrome, so that you have multiple accounts with different toolbars at the top. That way you can have a toolbar for home and a separate one for work. You really don’t want to be reminded about that important assignment on Saturday night when you’re shopping online!
8) Don’t take any breaks!
If we never took any breaks from work, I think it’s fair to say that we wouldn’t last very long! And one of the biggest problems when working from home is that many of us feel that we have to be available all of the time: absolutely not. If you are sticking to a strict work routine and are completing your daily tasks, then you do not need to log on at 9pm when you should be on the sofa watching your favourite show. And if you are one of those people who text about work on the work group chat in the evenings or weekends, then stop! As long as it isn't crucial information they need to know before Monday, then this is not healthy for you nor your colleagues.
So, our working from home tip is to make sure you take breaks throughout the day. If you have time on your dinner break, why not fit in a walk or lay down or listen to one of your favourite playlists? Why not simply make a coffee or spend 5-10 minutes every hour focussing on something else? This will refresh you and improve your productivity. You could even see how many star jumps you can do in 5 minutes! Challenge accepted…
9) Have no boundaries
Having no boundaries is dangerous in your personal life so why would you not give yourself any in your work time? As well as creating a daily schedule, taking breaks and removing social media, making boundaries with your family members during work time is not only good for your productivity but your mental health.
If you are a parent, your working schedule may need to be different so that you can work around family life. If your child is old enough, explain to them when you need to be left alone to do your work. In some cases, you could even show them your schedule so they can understand better. Or, your pet may have got used to you being at home more so try to make sure they understand when they need to be left alone and you need to work. Despite how we would love to spend all our time with our children or furry friends, making a strict schedule for yourself means you will get more work done and as a result, will spend time with loved ones without feeling stressed about work.
10) Beat yourself up
Some of you may be disappointed in yourself because you feel like you’re not working as well as you did when you were going into the office. As long as you have taken the good advice from above, there is nothing else you can do! Once your working day is done, rest. You deserve it!
Have you enjoyed our worst working from home tips? Leave a comment below to let us know how you’ve bossed working from home!