My Top 5 Tips For Working From Home

With all that's going on around the Corona virus (or Covid-19) to give it its proper title, I thought I'd give you some tips for working from home if you are lucky, or unlucky enough, to do it any time soon.

I started working from home with my first business in 2008, and was going back and forth between clients sites quite a bit too. I'm now mainly home-based as a coach and I have to say it can be both a pleasure and a royal pain in the butt until you get it right.

With that said here are my top tips for working from home...

1. Get up and Dress Up

A good friend told me to do this when I first started. He runs a sportswear company and normally wears tracksuits or joggers with a sports top and maybe a hoodie at work, and outside. I thought he was joking at first but he said he keeps certain clothes (even if they are the same type) strictly for work.

That way you see you're getting in the right frame of mind for work and can slough it off at the end of the working day too.

It's like a wee anchor for your brain to get into work mode and then let it go once your working hours have stopped.

It might also save you from the embarrassing things that can happen on video meetings if you're not, erm, dressed appropriately.

2. Shut That Door

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I've got primary school kids (that's elementary school-age for my North American friends) and a wife who's often home despite working full time as a nurse.

If you share your home with anyone chances are that they'll be tempted to interrupt you with "quick questions" or even, if you're lucky, the offer of a coffee and a biscuit.

This can seem nice at first as it breaks up the day when you don't get as much social interaction as you might be used to at the office.

BUT... It's not so great when you're in flow with what you're doing and want peace to get on with it or are on an important call.

Agree with your home sharers that when the door to whatever room you've designated as "the office" is shut that it's as if you're not actually at home and definitely not to be disturbed.

You should also resist the temptation to get involved in whatever petty squabbles and outright mutinies the kids are brewing while you're in "office hours" mode too.

Headphones are wonderful things 🙂

3. Set Working Hours & Stick To Them!

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It can be tempting to get up a wee bit later to start the day (assuming you don't have noisy kids like mine who'd wake you anyway) but it really is best to get some discipline into the workday when working from home.

The reason being that you might get to start late without anyone knowing but you'll equally be likely to work a lot more at home than you do in the office. and eat into your downtime, to catch up.

I love what I do. I can't wait to get to it in the morning. Honestly, I have to stop myself from logging on early to check the emails and also from checking them sneakily at night on my phone.

Now, you might not be in that enviable position but equally, you need to set times when you start and finish to avoid eating into your real "home time".

Be present for work and the people at home at the appropriate times and you should see the benefits in both areas of life.

4. Set Yourself Proper Break Times Too.

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Please resist the temptation to take your coffee/tea and biscuit (you do have a biscuit don't you?!?) back to your home office desk. I'm guilty of it and not only do you not get the break from the screens and work that you need but you might also end up sitting too long and putting on more than a wee bit of weight over time (believe me I am guilty of this!)

4. Move Often

We're all under time pressures and deadlines right. We have to get the work done and if I just skip my break and don't move this once it won't really matter, eh?


Chances are if you're new to working at home, you've not been doing it long, and don't have a dedicated ergonomic office chair you're going to be making do with the dining room chair or that folding chair that's only brought out at kids parties.

It's even more reason to get up frequently and move about than you do when you're in the real office.

Set an alarm for every hour to get up and move. Even if it's only up and down the corridor or stairs a few times.

Get that blood pumping and if you can, go for a short walk around the block.

You'll probably spend more time glued to the PC/laptop screen at home than you do in the office with it's "normal" interruptions and you need to get away from that frequently to give your eyes and brain a break.

5. Have a Dedicated Work-space

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I mentioned earlier about shutting the door but you can only do that if you have a dedicated room to work in, even if it is the dining room or spare bedroom.

I say this for the same reason I say get up and dress up. You've got to at least be able to either shut the door or clear that space for whatever it's normally used for when you're no working.

This is all about making that physical break from work when the time is right to stop.

It also saves you from annoying everyone else in the house with your work papers, or the chances of that important report being drawn on (don't ask!).

So, that's my top 5 tips for working from home. There's more to it but you'll find your own way too.

If you have any other top tips for working from home then please feel free to share them in the comments.

I'm away for a coffee and a biscuit now 🙂

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