5 tips for Tasmanians who have to work from home

March 22, 2020

We work across both an office and home environment, and wanted to share our best 'work from home' tips to make your new transition as efficient and positive as possible.

The emergence of COVID-19 has impacted most, if not all, in the Tasmanian community - presenting a challenging time for small businesses, organisations and sole traders who are used to working face to face.

However with the right tips, tools and mindset, you can make your new setup at home a work from you.

Here's our list:

  1. Assign a designated work area and create a specific working space;
  2. Develop a set schedule and create a routine;
  3. Set boundaries and take breaks;
  4. Avoid distractions; and
  5. Continue to socialise and communicate.

We had a bit of a think and have come up with five key tips to help those in the Tasmanian business community who may have to work from home.

image of person sitting on desk
Designating a specific work area at home is important.

1. Assign a designated work area and create a specific working space

One of the most beneficial things from working from home is having a specific work place.

This may be a spare room, space in a garage or a desk in a room - designate a place that is only used for your business work.

Doing this means that you're creating a physical and mental break between leaving personal time and beginning work time.

I live in a relatively small unit, however have carved out a space that is only used for work. This even comes down to powering off all devices at the end of the evening to signal the end of the work day.

A well lit and well ventilated space, as well as an appropriate work area (ie. not on your lap on the couch or in bed) are also great considerations when deciding on this space.

illustration of person with schedule
Approaching your at home work like a normal day can help productivity.

2. Develop a set schedule and create a routine

Developing a schedule is really important when working from home as this boosts productivity and again helps separate work and personal time.

Working at home doesn't mean you should force yourself to work when you're not productive. Although you're at home, this doesn't mean you should ease into the morning which means you're working until late at night.

To help overcome this, you can approach approach your work at home day as if you were heading to your usual office or workspace. If this is normally starting at 8:30am and finishing at 5:00pm, then try to stick to this routine.

Dom's tip: I've made the change in 2020 to be really vigilant in tracking time to tasks, so that I know that I'm still achieving productivity. A small distraction may be inevitable when working from home, but don't try to chase losses in time by working late; instead, get a good sleep and try to start a little earlier the next day.

illustration of person running
Setting boundaries and sticking to your usual routine is important.

3.Set boundaries and take breaks

It's easy when working from home to get distracted with household chores, or inversely, to not know when to stop for breaks.

Setting boundaries both for yourself is important, but also discuss your new intentions with those that also live or share your house.

Have a discussion with family, children our house-mate about what times you're planning on working or when you shouldn't be disturbed.

You can use gestures such as slightly closing a door, or putting your headphones in, to signal that you're doing some deep work and don't want to be disturbed.

If you're working online with a team, emails or chats can also become a distraction. I've discovered that it's very rare for an email or phone call to be desperately urgent, so sometimes close these programs for an hour or two while doing deep work.

illustration of person on phone
Notifications from devices or emails can be a big distraction.

4. Avoid distractions

When working from home, distractions are a killer.

Chores, children, Facebook, phone and Netflix can all ruin productivity.

It's amazing how much a notification on our phone can take priority over what we're currently doing, so my number one tip is to turn off notifications on your phone or computer - not even vibration.

As mentioned above, you can consider turning devices completely off or closing any programs that have the potential to distract you.

Dom's tip: I've also recently been leaving my phone in an entirely different room, such as the kitchen or bathroom, to utilise the 'out of sight, out of mind' principal.

illustration of person on computer
Keep in communication with your colleagues and friends via social media or a phone call.

5. Continue to socialise and communicate

Although COVID-19 currently has reduced the opportunity to catch up face to face with your colleagues or friends, working from home can get pretty lonely.

We often forget one of the original intents of social media - to make connecting with friends and family easier; so utilise these avenues and something as simple as a phone call to keep communication channels open.

Dom's tip: I'm someone that used to multi task a lot, so clearly distinguishing 'work' time has been a learning process. I'm in a great place now - and I actually find it rewarding to turn the phone back on and spend that designated time on social media.

Find what works for you

The challenges of corona virus on the Tasmanian community have caused a major shake up to a lot of industries across the state. Working from home presents a range of challenges to not only the day to day operation of businesses, but also the way services are delivered.

If you have to work from home, find a setup and system that works for you to balance productivity with the health and wellbeing of yourself and those you have to share a household with.

Importantly, we hope you can find ways to make working from home work for you. If you've got any things you've found beneficial, let us know!

by Dominic Anastasio
Owner and Creative Director Domin8 Designs

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