As many offices move into a hybrid working experience, it can be difficult to prepare yourself for a completely new working style. The fact that you work both from the office and home can make it more complicated than a simple working from home experience because of the constant changes in dynamics. That is why many of the pieces of advice aim to make your experience when working from home as similar as possible to your experience from the office.
The key piece of advice is to communicate with all around you. Whether letting your wife know that you are struggling with the kids running around the house or letting your boss know that you need some extra equipment or time off to recover, the important note is to communicate these thoughts.
Set Up Your Home Work Environment
It is important to make your working environment at home consistent with your working environment in the office to create a seamless transition. You do not want to be working from a comfortable ergonomic chair with dual monitors to working on a hard wooden chair squinting at a small laptop screen.
Setting up your environment could be as simple as a few plants to liven the desk up, or it could be as drastic as additional monitors or chairs. If your workplace is encouraging a hybrid scenario, they should also provide the required equipment.
Communicate with Management
Verbalising your views and feelings with management can be a healthy way to make sure your hybrid working scenario is as good as it can be. This could be as simple as explaining to your line manager that you prefer phone calls rather than emails with your communication style.
There are a lot of difficulties when it comes to a hybrid work setup, and management is struggling to get to grips with the change just as much as you are, so do not be afraid to open up and help your managers to understand how they could make your experience better.
Understand your hybrid Work Tools
There are some tools you may utilise more while working from home. Therefore, you must make sure you are competent with all your necessary tools and applications before working from home.
Equal to this, if you are using a different computer while working from home, ensure that you have access to all the tools you require. You do not want to be in a scenario where you cannot complete some tasks from home because your workplace has not provided access to absolutely everything you need.
Discuss with Family
Discuss the plan with your family, and make sure they are happy with the suggested setup. Questions could arise, such as where will you work in the house? What about the kids? Can we disturb you from time to time?
Working from home can undoubtedly be faced with more interruptions, so you must let your kids and partner know that you should not be disturbed between 9am and 5pm unless urgent.
Plan your Week
Specific tasks will be better suited to being completed within an office, while others could be completed anywhere. Therefore plan your week ahead to make sure you choose when to complete certain tasks so that you can utilise your in-office time wisely.
If you have to work from the office, plan deep work sessions, take better breaks and aim for progress every working day. If you choose to work from home, do your best work when you have the most energy and again, aim for deep work sessions without distractions to get more work done.
Balance your Life
It can be easy to end up working additional hours while working from home. Once you take the commute out of the scenario, which for some could equate to an hour or more, it is easy to think that you should be working that time as well. However, be strict with yourself to balance your work and life, and make sure you clock out at the end of the day when suitable.
Consider your Needs/Requirements
There is often an increase in requirements when you begin working in a home environment, whether that be certain adapters to use your monitor at home or the necessity of an extra external monitor. If any aspects are causing the working from home experience to be difficult, you inform your workplace to discuss what can be done about it.
Take Better Breaks
Tying in with balancing your work and home-life, it is essential that you actually take breaks. If you get an hour for lunch when you’re working from the office, you should also get an hour when working from home. Do not let the close proximity to your desk convince you otherwise.
Spending your breaks outside the house can also be wise to break up your day a little bit. Especially if the hybrid setup is permanent, as sitting in your house for work and not leaving once work is over can take its toll over time.
Socialise with Colleagues
Make sure you continue to socialise with your colleagues. Far too many colleagues have returned to the office after lockdowns and felt as though they barely know how to talk to their colleagues anymore. Keeping that comradery up and social skills trained is important.
Maintaining social interaction can also improve empathy and understanding towards colleagues, which inherently improves everyone’s working experience.
Take Sick Days
Do not feel as though you cannot take a sick day just because you are working from home. If you are feeling unwell, then take a sick day. At the same time, do not take advantage of this, and if you wouldn’t have taken a sick day when working in the office, you shouldn’t do it while at home. This application just requires common sense. However, just because you have a laptop at home doesn’t mean you should be sick in bed and working from your laptop.