What should I do when working from home for the first time?

Working from home, if you haven’t done it before, may seem like a fairly simple change to adapt to, but there’s certainly far more to it than you may first imagine. Here, we’ll go over some tips to ensure that your transition from office working to home working is as easy as possible, and that you can get the most out of each home working day when working from home for the first time !

First things first – where are you going to work?

As hard as it is, resist the urge to work in bed, or even outstretched on the sofa. The first thing you should do when preparing to work from home is to decide which part of your house would make the best home office space.

Of course, most of us aren’t lucky or wealthy enough to have our own dedicated office in our home, so it’s more about finding an area where you can create a workspace for yourself, without it encroaching too much on your living areas.

Of course, this is far easier if you will be working from a laptop, as you are far less restricted and can place it down almost anywhere, but it’s best to pick one area and stick to it for the duration of the time you are working from home, as this will help you maintain a clearer line between work time and free time.

Try to pick a surface where your laptop is, or can be made to be, at eye level with you, and with plenty of room to sit comfortably – not somewhere that leaves you slouched over your laptop, or with no room for your arms/elbows to move freely whilst typing.

It’s also important that you choose the right chair to sit in, as sitting somewhere uncomfortable whilst working could lead to back and neck pain that lasts long after you’re back at the office.


Establish your working hours.

You may be in charge of deciding your own working hours, or you may have had them set out for you – either way, know what they are, and be sure to stick to them for the entirety of your working week.

If you are choosing your own hours, then the best course of action is to pick the same hours each day. Working to a stable schedule is much easier and more sustainable than working different hours each day, or allowing yourself to decide first thing in the morning what time you’re going to start that day.

Once you know your hours, allow yourself to work out a new morning routine. It will make it much easier to get yourself out of the home mindset and into the work mindset each day.

Get prepared.

If you need stationary with you, get it together. If you need a notebook or diary, keep it next to you. Do you have a water bottle? Find one to keep with you whilst you work. By preparing our workspace and ensuring we have everything we may need for the day before we start, we minimise the distractions that could set in later on in the day.

If you have any questions for your manager or employer before you start working from home, make sure you ask them straight away – don’t leave anything until the last minute or try to just deal with yourself if you’re not sure, as that’s bound to just be a source of stress.


Get Dressed For Work

It may seem to be silly to dress up for work when you are in your home office. But it’s really an important step when you start working from home.
If you have video conferences during the day you want to make sure to be presentable when facing your colleagues or even your boss.

Of course, it might be very tempting to remain in your pajamas all day long. But even if you are not showing up in zoom meetings it’s important to dress up for work.

Research indicate, that dressing up for work substantially enhances your start and has a direct impact on your productivity.

Getting ready and wear what you usually would wear in your office puts you in the right mindset for work.
In the article SHOULD I HAVE A WORK-FROM-HOME DRESS CODE?  you can read in more detail why this is an important step when you start working from home.

Identify your pitfalls.

We all know the embarrassment of a manager walking past your desk, catching you scrolling through Facebook at the office while you were meant to be doing something else.

Whilst working from home, there’s a lot more responsibility on you to make sure that you get things done on time. With that in mind, you have to work out before you start if there’s anything you’re likely to become distracted by or allow to harm your productivity, so that you can sort it out before it starts to get in the way.

For instance, if you’re the sort of person who can’t work if there’s chatter around you, be sure you choose your workspace so that you are sat somewhere quiet, away from others in your household. If you’re likely to be distracted by your phone quite often, leave it away from you whilst working.

Be honest with yourself, and if there’s anything that you know from the start is going to be a potential roadblock on your way to getting your work done, move it before it can get there!

Make your Monday mornings count.

At the start of each week, establish what your working week is going to look like. What do I have to do this week? What hours do I need to be at my desk? Are there any emails I have to send or numbers that I need to call?

This way, you’re putting yourself in the best position to start productively, and keep it that way! It’s much easier to stay focused when you have a list of tasks in front of you that you know you need to complete.

Mark off your to-do list as you go, too. It’s a handy reminder that things only get finished when you work on them in the first place.

Don’t worry if it takes some time.

You’ve likely always heard working from home being described as if it’s the absolute best way to work and live. Not everybody feels that way.

To make things easier when working from home for the first time, please read the article THE ULTIMATE WORKING-FROM-HOME TO-DO LIST

If you log out on the Friday afternoon of your first week working from home and wonder how people put up with it, and – more importantly – how you’re going to put up with it, then don’t worry. This is a change, with plenty of opportunities for trial and error, and you’ll probably need some time to get used to it.

If you know for sure that it’s absolutely not for you, then just remember that this is likely just a temporary change during the pandemic, and you’ll be back at the office soon enough!