10 ways to make working from home work for you

In partnership with Promutuel Insurance

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Although working from home has become the new norm for many of us, it doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve got it completely dialed.

Whether you spend the entire week at home or go into the office on certain days, there may be things you haven’t considered (or just haven’t gotten around to doing yet) that could help you be more productive when working from home. Here are 10 simple tips on how to be a more effective, and happier, teleworker!

1. Set boundaries between your work and your personal life

The most important rule is to make sure your work doesn’t interfere with your personal life just because you’re at home. Act as if you were working at the office: make it a habit to shut down your computer at the end of the day and let your co-workers know when you will and won’t be available.

Conversely, although it may be tempting to do a load of laundry or go to the grocery store when things are quiet, remember that you are supposed to be working. Yes, you save travel time by not going into the office. But use the extra time to do your housework at the beginning or end of the day, not in the middle. That will keep you from being easily distracted!

2. Set up a proper workspace

After three years of working from home because of the pandemic, there is no reason that you should still be doing it at the kitchen table! Even if you don’t have an extra room to turn into an office, you can still make your work space more comfortable.

You can use a screen, bookshelf, or filing cabinet to separate your living areas from your workspace. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. Recycle what you have, add a plant to brighten things up, and make sure the space is devoted to work, and nothing else.

3. Dress for work

There are two schools of thought when it comes to choosing what to wear while teleworking. Either you put on office attire or you stay in your comfortable “at-home” clothes.

While adhering to a dress code was less important in the early days of the pandemic, these days there’s less leeway for dressing down. A hot shower and nice clothes will get you geared up for a productive day!

4. Plan breaks and move around

At the office, you often have the opportunity to go talk to a colleague, see your manager, get a coffee, have a glass of water, pick up documents at the printer, and so on. At home, we become much more sedentary, which has a negative impact on our health and our ability to concentrate.

Schedule breaks so you can get up and move around. Use your cell phone to remind you. Ten minutes every two hours is usually enough. And be sure to have a stretch and correct your posture every hour!

5. Prepare your lunch the night before

Preparing your lunch ahead of time as though you were going to the office will save you time. You’ll also be less likely to go to the kitchen every 10 minutes to open the fridge and wonder what you’re going to eat!

Nourishing snacks such as yogurt and granola, fruit, nuts, and crackers and hummus also help. They’ll keep you energized throughout the day.

6. Plan your day

Schedule your telework days as if you were at the office: what time you start and finish work, breaks, lunch time, phone calls, and appointments. That way, your colleagues know when they can reach you. Plus, setting aside time for each task will help you optimize your workday. It also makes it easier to prepare a checklist of things you need to do that day.

Speaking of tasks…

7. Prioritize demanding tasks

You’re less likely to be distracted when teleworking, so you can devote more time and energy to demanding tasks. Since you don’t have your co-workers beside you (except maybe Rover or Kitty!), you can focus better on your work.

Telework days are ideal for tasks that require a lot of concentration, like writing a report, building a marketing campaign, or creating something. It’s also a good idea to check your email only at certain key times of the day so you use your time more effectively.

8. Limit your virtual meetings

Virtual meetings are not very efficient! In fact, virtual meetings have been shown to be more tiring than face-to-face meetings because body language is not as easy to decipher. It’s no wonder we feel exhausted after a day of meetings, even if we are wearing pyjamas!

Whenever possible, schedule meetings and brainstorming sessions when your team is at the office. It will be much more enjoyable and easier if you fit all your meetings into the same day. The rest of your day at the office can be used to do follow up, answer your emails, and complete other, lighter tasks.

9. Communicate

The key to effective collaboration at work, whether from home or at the office, is clear communication. In virtual mode, you don’t always have the full context, so follow up more frequently by email, send acknowledgments when you receive something, and make sure your requests and explanations are always clear. Chat tools are very useful for asking a simple question or just getting updates from the team.

10. And lastly, get outside!

Fresh out of motivation or inspiration? Go out for a coffee! Bring your laptop and enjoy a change of scenery. You can even invite a co-worker.

Tip! It’s better to attend virtual meetings at home, out of respect for other clients and to better ensure confidentiality.

When you spend so much time teleworking, it’s important to have a routine, follow good habits and… be well protected! Have you told your insurer that you work from home all or some of the time? It’s important to inform your damage insurance agent to make sure you have the right property and liability coverage. Add it to your list of tasks for the day!