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Make working from home work for you

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Boost your home office by following some clever work from home guidelines, including a well-planned wardrobe, time-saving technology and some work-life balance.

Kensington Light House home office, Melbourne

With the right building blocks, you can work from home effectively. Here are five working from home tips to help you keep on top of your business, even if your new office is your lounge room.

1. Dress up while working from home

Wearing pyjamas or lounge-wear on a zoom call won’t do wonders for your professional look  – but dressing the part can also make you feel the part. You don’t necessarily need to suit-up but the benefits of getting dressed when you’re working from home are important. Not only will it make you feel fresh, tidy, neat and ready to take on the day, it will help you focus, feel more positive and kick goals.

2. Set up a dedicated workspace at home

Many small businesses start their life on the kitchen or dining room table. But, if your home permits, it’s a great idea to dedicate a room or space for your home office setup. Consider converting an under-used sunroom, spare bedroom or even garage if you have the extra space.If every room is spoken for at home, try creating an office-nook – say, in an available corner of your lounge room.

Delineate your work from home setup into down time and working areas  to help your mind differentiate between when it’s time to work and when it’s time to unwind. Drawing this line is important for striking a productive and positive work-life balance. 

3. Make the most of work from home technology

There are some simple work from home gadgets you can use to increase productivity when you’re working remotely.

An electronic diary that you can update from your smartphone or laptop allows you to stay on top of your commitments from wherever you are. Try to schedule meetings and business calls as you would if you were working from an external office, so you can be efficient in planning your day.

Whether you’re working for yourself or part of a team, work from home technology advances like Trello and Asana can be great tools to break down large projects into achievable tasks. Having visibility of your team’s capacity and current jobs, and if you’re a one-person show, the ability totrack your own workload will be instrumental for your productivity and efficiency.

One way to ensure your business has an effective data back-up plan is to adopt an external cloud-based document and data storage solution. Not only does this mean you can access documents from multiple devices, it can help to keep your business cyber-secure.

4. Take regular breaks from working at the computer - it’s important

Consider limiting your availability to business hours, or an alternative time that suits your business so you don’t find yourself working round the clock. Working from home gives you a great deal of flexibility, but adequate breaks can sometimes slip through the cracks. Ultimately, enjoying increased productivity and reduced stress is why it’s important to take breaks at work.

If you enjoy keeping fit, there are plenty of quick (and free) workouts available online. Try Boho Beautiful for yoga, or Fitness Blender for a range of exercise videos and tips. If you feel like you need to clear your mind, try a meditation app such as Headspace. And if reading is your thing, pick up a book and enjoy half an hour of peace in a sunny spot. Even a 15-minute lunch break away from your workspace can work wonders.

5. Embrace wellbeing ideas for working from home

Whether it’s with your fellow remote employees, customers or like-minded businesses, being active in an online community can help foster connection which can really help to boost your mood if you’re feeling a bit lonely at home. If you have a team, you can build your team culture online with work from home wellness activities. Think: quirky group email threads, fun fitness challenges, themed Slack channels and weekly photo competitions. Something as simple as sharing a favourite song of the week can build connections and happiness between co-workers separated by distance. If you’re solo or a duo, try joining a Facebook page or online forum relevant to your industry. There are plenty out there you can find with a quick online search. And if you’re still not feeling great, the team at Beyond Blue are super supportive when you’re working from home.

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Discover Telstra’s latest work from home tips to keep your business connected.

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