Working from home sounds like a dream come true, but in reality, it can lead to stress, frustration and anger. When the internet goes down, or your team are not communicating properly, work-life can become frustrating. However, there are many ways in which you can manage your new home working life with some handy working from home tips. From organising yourself to making sure that those energy bills don’t rise, you can power through the workload without overworking yourself.
5 Working From Home Tips
Many people are not use to working from home, and with the new government regulations keeping everyone on lockdown over the next couple of weeks, office life has entered the home, and we have to adapt the way we work together. While it may seem a little daunting at first, there are many ways we can overcome missed tasks and overused electricity and gas. Here are some of our top tips for working at home:
- Saving Energy
- Maintain Your Usual Hours
- Create A Morning Checklist
- House Rules During Working Hours
- Regular Breaks
One of the biggest problems homeowners face when working from home is that their energy bills can rise significantly. The main reason this happens is because usually you would be going to work with all the lights off and not turning them back on until the evening. Whereas, when working from home, not only are the lights on, but you are likely to be using a computer, charging your phone more often, using printers and other appliances like the kettle. For this reason, it is important to try and minimise your energy usage while working from home. While you will inevitably be using more energy than on your average day, there are ways you can help to reduce this energy and, therefore, your monthly energy bill. For example:
- Switching To Renewable Energy
- Turning Off Stand-By
- LED Bulbs
- Use The Printer Less
- Turn Down The Heating
- Switch To Cheaper Energy Supplier
With the increasing concern surrounding the environment and global warming, renewable energy has become a sought-after resource as an alternative to your usual energy supply. Renewable energy comes in many different forms, such as:
- Solar panels
- Wind turbines
- Low-impact hydroelectricity
- Tidal energy
- Biomass energy
There are multiple benefits to utilising renewable energy within home energy plans, and you can easily take advantage of these whether you have a solar panel attached to your home or simply wish to inform your energy provider you would like to use a renewable energy source. Some of the benefits include low running costs, as well as:
- Renewable energy will not run out – this means that you have unlimited supply as the energy is generated from environmental resources. This is a benefit that does not come with fossil fuel energy, so is one of the many reasons as to why you should switch to renewable energy where possible.
- Low maintenance – renewable energy technology requires less maintenance, which often means that the cost of energy won’t rise due to faults within the system and the cost of labour for repairs.
- Environmental benefits – when using renewable energy, it produces little to no greenhouse gases or pollutants, which can help you reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment.
- Easy to install – incorporating renewable energy resources into your home is easy to implement. Solar panels can be attached to your roof, or even in the garden if you have a large area to work with; you are then able to instantly use the renewable energy the solar panels provide your home.
You may not realise it, but leaving you computer, or television for that matter, on stand-by means that you are still using energy even when the device is not in use. It is important to make sure that you fully turn off your computer after every working day, not only to save energy but also to stop yourself from going back and forth to the computer late at night. We all fall guilty of working longer hours than usual, or simply turning the computer back on to do a few more minutes work after dinner. By turning it off, you save energy as well as preventing yourself from returning to the desk. You can find other great energy saving tips on our previous article!
Small adjustments around the home can have a significant impact on your home electricity bill, such as changing all of your light bulbs to LED lights. Although LED light bulbs are slightly more expensive to buy, they can last up to 20,000 hours, which is around 19,000 more hours than your average filament light bulb. Not only this, but according to Simple LED, using an LED bulb can save you over 75% in running costs. This is beneficial when working from home, as while you may have the lights on for longer periods of time, they will be using less energy than your usual light bulb. John Lewis has a range of light bulbs suited to most fittings and also provide home delivery!
There are also other technologies that can help you to save money, such as using smart meters, smart power strips and timed appliances. By incorporating a variety of these devices into your home, you can significantly reduce your electricity outage. Why not give some of the devices on our previous article a go?
A printer can use up a lot of energy to just print out one piece of paper, and unless your job requires it, we would always recommend trying to avoid using the printer. The best way to do this is to handwrite key things you need to remember when working and make sure that you have organised files to place your documents, making them easy to find. You can even create a handwritten list of all the files you have to make it easier to find the documents that you require. If you still need to use your printer, you can monitor the amount of energy it consumes by using Inkjet’s calculator.
The spring has fully kicked in, and the sun is beginning to show its face more often every day; this usually means that your home will require less energy to stay warm. Use this to your advantage as much as possible by opening the curtains during the day and closing them at night time. Turning down your heating means that you are using less energy to run your home, and therefore, reducing your monthly energy bill.
Instead of cranking up the heat on your radiators, why not throw on a blanket to keep you warm or layer yourself up. You can even try and place your home office near to a window so that you can reap the benefits of natural lighting and stay cosy and warm.
When you have a home that generally uses a lot of energy, it can be beneficial to move to a cheaper supplier to ensure that you have a steady energy bill each month. Ampower provides both traditional and renewable energy plans, both of which can be altered to fit in with your requirements and monitored via an app. By switching to Ampower, you could save around £250 on your annual energy bill, which is a huge saving for those working from home and using up more energy than usual.
When working from home, you can often find rolling out of bed last minute and working that extra hour easier than you expected, and we can often do it without realising. While you may think that you are being more productive getting that extra bit of work completed before turning off your computer, the likelihood is that you are actually being less productive as well as being negatively affected in other ways. These effects include:
- Reduced productivity – working longer hours can reduce your productivity due to tiredness and lack of motivation.
- Tiredness – you may not feel like it does, but using your brain can drain you, which leads to tiredness. While you may be more tired, you can also find it hard to fall asleep due to your brain not being able to switch off from work.
- Stress – it’s a given that most jobs come along with their fair share of stress, but working longer hours than are necessary can cause more stress then you may realise. Even if you do not feel stressed, your body can become stressed, which can lead to health issues.
- Physical health – longer hours means more hours spent sitting at your desk not being physical. Again, this can have an impact on your physical health and, therefore, makes you prone to illnesses as well as putting on weight.
Just like you would set a timer in the morning to wake up, you should set regular timers throughout the day. This will include the time you should start work, take lunch and finish work. If you are looking for some other helpful ways to ensure that you finish work on time, take a look at The Muse’s blog.
Organisation is key for any role, whether you are in the office or working from home, and one of the easiest ways to accomplish this to make a checklist every morning before you start work. We would recommend writing a large to-do list every Monday morning with things that need to be completed throughout the week, this way, you can add things as the week goes on and when tasks come up, as well as structure your week. Then, you can make a to-do list every morning of the tasks you aim to complete from the big checklist you created. By doing this, you can prioritise jobs that need to be completed and structure your work.
Making sure that your work is organised can help you time manage yourself, reduce stress levels and keep on top of things despite communication with the team being a little more difficult than usual. We recommend taking a look at Project Management Hacks article about building a checklist. Additionally to this, take a look at Forbes for ideas on how to successfully time manage your workload to ensure that you do not overestimate how much work you need to complete in one day.
With the recent outbreak of COVID-19, it is likely that most us working from home are not only having to put up with internet issues, but also the whole family being confined into one space for long periods of time. There is nothing more distracting then the family running wild around the house and making noise while you’re trying to work. For this reason, you should sit down with the family and make some ground rules that should be respected while having to work from home. Some rules could include:
- No loud noise during the day, e.g. music
- Dedicate washing times to avoid everyone needing to shower at the same time
- Create a dedicated workspace for each family member
- Set limits, such as no one can enter the room if the door is closed
- Everyone is to take lunch at the same time to avoid noise while others are working
These rules will vary depending on the number of people you have in the house, the age of those living within the property and whether you have other house duties such as taking care of pets. It is important to make sure that while you may be home, responsibilities that are often left for the children do not suddenly become your burden. For example, if you have a dog and the kids are to walk the dog after school every day, but are now chilling in their room waiting of you to do it, then you need to include this into your ground rules.
When at work, you often get up from your desk to go to the toilet, walk around the office or make yourself a cup of coffee. Whereas, when working from home, you either neglect this or have someone else make your cup of coffee for you. While you may be working from home, it is still important to make sure that you have regular breaks throughout your day to keep you motivated. When having these breaks, why not grab yourself a snack and have a chat with a family member about something not related to work. By doing this, you can take you mind of the job and focus on some quality family time, making your work more productive, manageable and better quality.
According to Inc., you should be taking a small five-minute break for every intense hour of work; this break can be anything from standing up and walking around to popping on the kettle. When at home, you should make sure that you stick to this rule, and don’t forget that while it may seem like a lot of breaks to take, it can improve your productivity and help you to manage your time to ensure that each task gets completed in an hourly time frame.
Successfully Work From Home
It can be hard to remain productive while working from home, but there are many ways in which you can ensure that you remain productive throughout the day. While productivity may be a problem you need to solve, there are other aspects of home working that you need to consider. Costs of running your house may already be a strenuous task, and working from home can add to this stress. Make sure that you keep in control of your energy bills and outgoings with quality and reliable home gas plans.