Work From Home with Fishburners – Week 1: Setting Up for Success
Ah lockdown… It’s the return of the half-dressed zoom meetings and makeshift home offices. The miserable reality for Sydneysiders’ over the next few weeks.
For those of you caught in the latest lockdowns, the next two weeks are bound to look very different to how you may have initially imagined, however to remain free from the lockdown blues, we’ve put together a little weekly series for each week we’re in lock down to help you set up a good routine to help keep motivated while on that startup grind. But don’t worry–we’re not here to tell you to wake up at 4am to complete your daily 10km run followed by a 1 hour journaling session, just a few tips and tricks to boost your productivity and stay motivated over this (hopefully) brief lockdown period!
This week is all about setting ourselves up for success!
When working from home, it’s really important that you set up a good routine that helps keep you happy and on track. This includes setting up a good location for you to work as well as a plan for how long you intend to work for.
1. Switching to Work Mode
As easy as it is to roll out of bed and into a meeting, this strategy isn’t necessarily the best for your mental health nor your productivity. Being locked in your home for an extended period of time, without any work or home boundaries can make it difficult to be productive in the times you are meant to be working and make it hard to switch off at the end of the day.
It’s often a good idea to start your day with elements of your old routine to help your mind switch into work mode. This may include waking up at a consistent time each morning and getting ready as you normally would–even if this means having a shower and getting back into some pyjamas. By doing this each day, you allow your brain to prepare for the upcoming work day and create a transition from your home life to work life–something you would typically do as you transit into work.
2. Location, Location, Location!
Similarly, it’s equally, if not more important to create a workstation that is outside of your bedroom where possible. While this may be difficult when you live with others, it’s highly important that you seek to separate your work space from your relax/home space–in particular, your bed. There are a number of compelling studies that outline the negative influences working from your bed(room) has on your mental health, sleeping habits and productivity levels. Primarily speaking, working in an environment where you usually seek to relax/sleep could result in lowered productivity levels meaning you get less done and are more distracted. While this may have superficial implications to your work, it can also have far more negative effects on your mental health.
Prolonged work from areas you typically rest and relax in leads your brain to associate that space with feelings of alertness and stress that you typically experience at work. And while these emotions are typically acceptable in a work environment, when it’s time to switch off at the end of the day, these stresses can linger making it difficult to disassociate from work. In turn, this can lead to prolonged feelings of stress and depression as well as impact your sleep habits. Thus, working outside of the bedroom/lounge room areas where possible is best! If you can’t avoid working in the bedroom, try to create an alternative environment while you work. One that you can put away or change when it’s time to switch off. This means, staying off the bed at all costs! Try using an ironing board as a desk that’s facing a wall or window away from your bed. That way at the end of the day you can pack it away and use the space as you typically would, limiting the potential contamination between work and home life.
The world is your canvas! Source: Twitter
3. Limiting distractions, maximising productivity
Create a space that gives you the best chance at success. Turn off any background TV sounds, phones or people that prohibit you from getting things done (sorry kids!). Keep your space clean and organised with good lighting. You’re going to be spending a lot of time in this space, so design it in a way that makes you happy. If that includes moving some greenery into the room to remind you of the Fishburners space–so be it! There’s no rules for judgement in a time like this.
Finally, set and reset your desk for each day. This is a great productivity hack that completely revolutionised the way I work. Going hand in hand with having a good, consistent morning routine is having a good end of work routine. At the end of the day, clean up and clear your workspace and set it up ready for next time. That means, getting rid of anything that isn’t relevant to your next task and putting out the things you need so that you’re ready to go as soon as you sit down next time. I personally like to write out a list of tasks or goals I want to accomplish for the next day so I can start in the morning knowing exactly what I need to do so I can plunge straight into work and make the most of the time I’m putting in. Don’t forget that your time is an investment, so you want to make sure you’re getting the very most out of it.
That’s it for this weeks’ At Home with Fishburners content!
We’d love to see your home office setup! Jump on LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #athomewithfishburners for your chance to win a Fishburners home care package!
Watch out for next week’s post on how to make the most of the extra time in lockdown and keep your team motivated and accountable whilst away from the office.
Written by Majella Campbell