Working from home, at least for a day or two per week, has truly become ‘the new normal’ in post-pandemic life. Here at Innermost HQ, we’re all for the extra benefits that the odd WFH day can bring - from enjoying some extra time to hit the gym, avoiding those packed morning tube carriages, and of course getting the odd hour extra in bed in the morning from time to time!
But WFH life can occasionally fall short when it comes to the office essentials that might help us to focus at our best. The working from bed trap is all too real, and sometimes that ergonomic keyboard and standing desk in the office really do feel essential!
Luckily, we’ve tested all the tips and tricks we could get our hands on for boosting productivity and focus, and how to concentrate when working from home. Whether that be organising your workspace, making more time for yourself, or setting a super regimented schedule for the day – you name it, we’ve tried it. So we wanted to put together a list of our favourites that we’ve found help us best, just in case you’re not heading back into the Big Smoke any time soon…
Have a morning routine
With so much more time in the morning, we’re able to exercise, cook, read our favourite books, and sleep in all in the same amount of time we’d normally be doing our BC commute. The NHS advises that scheduling this commute time is still just as important as if we were actually still going in to work (even if we aren’t). Getting up at the same time that you would when heading into the office can help us get in the mood for work and stops the boundaries between work and home becoming too blurred. It also ensures that your sleep cycle remains regular, which comes with a tonne of benefits.
Designate a workspace
Determining whether we wanted our desks to be at the kitchen table or on the sofa was one of the very luxurious choices we had at the start of lockdown. However, the author Kristen Brown emphasises how important it is to designate a workspace in order to avoid leaving your thoughts, papers, ideas and productivity scattered all over. Many interior designers such as Yuna Megre advise us to de-clutter the area we work in in a way that optimises our space and also our thoughts. It’s then all about strategising and utilising the space around you for all the things you may need. If you need post-it notes or specific tech tools, then make sure you have enough space for these. Ensuring you invest in a good desk chair that has back support is also extremely important for preventing any back pain. We see you hunching!
Take regular breaks
In the office, it's far easier to take your mid-morning coffee break (or three) with colleagues, allowing you to have a break from your screen and stretch your legs. It’s now been said that when working from home, we’re actually working harder than before with less breaks and longer hours as our home lives become blurred with work. Many have experienced feeling ‘Zoomed out’ and have said that they’re working longer hours than ever before. Taking a five-minute break every hour to make a cup of tea or take a quick walk around the block will help your brain re-focus and re-set, ready for another productive hour.
If we can’t get away from our desks it’s also important to remember to alter our posture regularly. Do some simple stretching exercises at your desk and refocus your eyes by looking into the distance for a few seconds. Who doesn’t love a 10-minute mini workout?
A simple tip, but one that often gets overlooked. Scheduling enables us to ensure that the lines between our work and personal lives remain defined, but it also helps us work smarter hours so we don’t burn ourselves out. It’s all about setting out your priorities for that day before you start working, doing your most intense work when you know you’re at your most productive, organising regular breaks throughout the day, and making sure you stick to the timings you’ve allocated for yourself. A great schedule example can be found here, which breaks it down for you.
Dress for success
A friend once told us that they could only work from home if they were wearing proper shoes, otherwise they didn’t feel focused. Dressing for success is a sure-fire way to get us feeling more focused and productive. This also means getting up, showering and brushing our teeth, and doing all the things we’d normally do to go into work. Although wearing our favourite pyjamas may be far more comfortable, it can often make us feel sluggish, unmotivated and sleepy. If you find this one tough, we suggest laying everything out the night before or pre-planning your clothes for the week ahead. This can help get you up and about and also out of the house at the end of the day.
Working from home for many of us means staring at screens all day. One of the most important tips for relaxing at the end of the day is to put down our phones and laptops, and take time to do something else to break up your day so you can unwind and decompress. We like to go for a run or walk, join a fitness class, meet friends, cook, listen to a podcast, or curl up with a good book. As working from home has meant we’re now reliant on Zoom and video calls, it’s important to remember that we need to take even more time out.
Of course, it goes without saying that we’re all different so finding a one-size-fits-all approach to working from home will never be possible. However, we love these simple tips for helping us reset and refocus when it all gets a bit overwhelming. We hope it helps you boost your productivity and get you loving your working from home routine all over again.