Tips & tricks for a successful home office

29-04-2020

More people than ever before are currently working from home. We too, the employees of SecureSafe, have moved from our office in the heart of Zurich to our desks at home. After just over a month working by remote, we decided to share a few ideas within our team and put together a few valuable tips that help us start the day with plenty of structure and motivation.

1. The office in your own home

Let's start on a very basic level: it's called a home office, not a lying-on-the-sofa-with-your-laptop-workspace. In order to effectively transfer the office to the home without having a negative impact on productivity, it is important that the routine not be completely undermined. This includes things like your morning shower and well-groomed clothes, but also keeping normal office hours if possible. With a little practice, it won’t be hard to adjust your daily routine to the non-office environment after a short time. Strict time management methods can also help. For example, one of our employees uses the Pomodoro technique. You concentrate on a single task for 25 minutes, then take a short break before continuing to work.

2. A clearly separated workspace

It is important for the workspace to be clearly defined – especially given the current circumstances whereby one is rarely alone in their home office, because their children and partner are hanging around too. This will make it easier for everyone to adhere to their respective roles. In addition, a clearly separated workspace also helps to distance yourself from the office after a hard day’s work.

3. The commute to work

For most of us, the day usually starts with the trip to the office. Some get on their bikes, some get there by car, bus or train, others go by foot. But the distance from the kitchen to the study isn’t far enough for everyone to make the switch from “home world” to “working world”, which is why one of our employees decided to take a short walk through his local neighborhood every morning. This makes him feel like he’s still commuting to the office every day, creates a break between his private life and office life and also allows him to get some fresh air in the morning.

4. Regular working and break times

It may sound trivial at first, but there are actually two stumbling blocks in the home office that can be avoided with a little planning: taking too many or no breaks at all. If you are constantly distracted – it smells like coffee all the time, friends are calling to say hi, the laundry is waiting – you won’t be able to hold your concentration. But even forgetting to take a break can make your productivity suffer. Clear agreements and arrangements in relation to working hours also make it simpler to work with colleagues and customers.

5. Keep up the team spirit

WaWhat we’re all missing: spontaneous conversation with colleagues. We don't meet at the coffee machine, we don't run into each other in the corridors and there’s also no shared lunch breaks. This means business can’t be discussed in a straightforward manner, and there are no quick personal updates. Fortunately, there are many ways and means to carry out virtual team activities, especially in today's digitized world. Things get really sporty for us at noon, for example, when we meet for “Lunchnastics”. But sharing pictures from the home office and a bit of chit-chat here and there also helps keep the mood up.

6. Exercise and good food

Exercise and healthy food strengthen our immune system and help clear our heads to work more efficiently. Hence why many of us go for a run during our lunch break to find a balance with nature or keep fit in our home gyms. In addition, people are getting into the habit of cooking with fresh ingredients at home, since they’re no longer constantly tempted by somewhat unhealthier take-away food.

7. After-work and weekend activities

Particularly in stressful times, it’s important to pay attention to the work-life balance. In addition to various sporting activities, people are discovering a range of new hobbies with their partners or family. Some are finally taking the time to clear out the basement, tidy up the garden or just let their minds wander, for example with a book on the balcony. This can help make us stronger and better equipped to deal with this unfamiliar situation, which almost feels a bit like everyday life.

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