Coronavirus UK: 21 tips for working from home effectively during lockdown

The Government has urged as many Britons as possible to work from home – something that does not come naturally for everyone.

Working from home has its perks; you can get up later in the mornings due to having no commute and work can be carried out in a more comfortable environment.

However, for some, productivity levels can drop and for others, it can be hard to maintain a good work-life balance.

But with dedication and smart strategies, you can ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle while working to a high standard.

Here are 21 tips to ensure you work effectively from home.

1. Set a schedule

And stick to it – if you continue to work on a regular schedule, it will be easier to maintain a work-life balance.

2. Have a dedicated work space

Designate an area of your home for getting work done.

Moving from your bed, to the sofa and then to a table can be disruptive to your workflow.

3. Invest in quality office furniture

You don’t need a state-of-the-art desk but having a comfortable chair is essential.

Both your concentration and physical health will benefit from a comfortable chair that encourages good posture.

4. Have frequent breaks

When you are busy, it can be easy to let hours fly by without taking a break.

But prolonged sitting can have serious health consequences – some of which might not be evident until the future.

It is paramount to move as much as possible throughout the day.

5. Make to-do lists

Depending on your arrangements, working from home could mean you feel less pressure from managers.

But, to ensure you don’t fall behind, stay organised with a daily to-do list which consists of tasks that need to be completed by different times throughout the day.

If you aren’t a ‘write-it-down’ person, there are plenty of modern apps to choose from that will make planning much clearer and easier.

6. Get dressed

It’s tempting to stay in your pajamas but you will feel far more refreshed if you get changed into clothes you could leave the house in.

No more dressing from the top-up for any video conferences.

It’s more important than ever to stay in touch with what’s happening around you on a daily basis. Here are some options:

The newly-launched Somerset Live app delivers the latest news, sport and what’s on information to your mobile phone – all for free. Click on the App Store here to download the app for iOS devices, and on the Google Play store here to download the app on Android.

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You can also keep up to date on the latest Coronavirus news, and share details of community responses to the outbreak in our dedicated Facebook page.

7. Have a morning routine

Don’t roll out of bed five minutes before you are due to start.

If you get up earlier, have a shower, and make some breakfast, you will feel far more energised.

8. Have an eating schedule

It can be very difficult to not snack constantly when the kitchen is next door.

Try to stick to a rough eating schedule to prevent unnecessary snacking.

9. Go outside

Even if it is for five or 10 minutes, getting some fresh air can reset your mind, allowing you to return to work feeling more productive.

10. Eat healthy meals and snacks

With less movement, you will expend less energy.

So to help prevent unwanted weight gain, try to focus your diet on nutritious foods.

11. Create a rewards system

Procrastination can be an issue when working from home, so a reward system can provide the motivation you need to complete tasks efficiently.

12. Stay off social media

If your job allows, create a full ban on any social media activity.

It is far too easy to pick up your phone and mindlessly scroll through your feed.

It may seem like only a couple of minutes at a time, but it can add up throughout the course of the day.

13. Use video chat

Many will already be aware of the technology, but may not be using it frequently.

Make it a point to chat with colleagues more regularly – having no human contact can be detrimental but video communication can make a huge difference.

There are plenty of options, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Whatsapp and Skype.

14. Use your breaks productively

Working from home can mean you have more flexibility.

If possible, try to time your breaks for when you can run errands, such as going to the supermarket or walking the dog.

15. Avoid family

It can be difficult if you have children at home, but try to treat your working day as if you are in an office.

It is very easy to get distracted – even more so if those around you are not working, tempting you to focus on things unrelated to work.

If you have children, set clear ground rules, get help (if you can), or discuss alternative hours with management.

16. Invest in headphones

Having headphones with a built-in microphone will make your life a lot easier, particularly if you make regular phone calls.

17. Establish boundaries

It is important to set boundaries with colleagues and clients when it comes to working hours.

It is easy to check emails or respond to emails outside of work hours but this will have a gradual impact on your work-life balance.

18. Pick up the phone

If you have something straightforward to discuss with a colleague, a video call may not be necessary.

But when communicating via message, it can be easy for instructions or tone to be misinterpreted, so to ensure you are not misunderstood, pick up the phone.

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19. Don’t hesitate to ask

Your company should be able to provide any equipment or support you need in order to work efficiently.

20. Take clear breaks

It is important to take your breaks in their entirety – don’t eat your lunch while still reading through emails.

Try to step away from your laptop completely, it’s best not to spend your breaks on social media or watching YouTube videos.

21. Play music

If you are someone who is not distracted by music, having music playing quietly in the background can help.

Background noise can also be soothing if you are used to a busy office.