Leah’s useful tips for working from home

by | Mar 5, 2024

Everyone wants to work from home. One of the main reasons I applied for a position with VOS was to work from home. Because it sounds amazing, right? Wake up later because you don’t have to make the drive to work, drink your coffee in pyjamas, and then when you’re done for the day, just close your laptop and walk to your kitchen to start on dinner. Sounds great, right? It is great, and I love it, especially because this work-life balance has allowed me to get a puppy and be with her while she’s grown up. She’s the best (see photos of her above).

However, there are certain boundaries that I have learned since working from home for the last 10 months. These include personal rules around time management, maintenance of technology, and socially still putting yourself out there. Let’s start with time management. It’s oh so tempting to roll out of bed some days at 8:59 am and log on in time to start taking calls at 9 am. Have I done it? Definitely. Should I have? Probably not. On days when you aren’t feeling the best or had a late one the night before, the ability to do this is great, but in the long run, you can get stuck in this habit.

A routine is important, and I personally believe that having a productive morning really sets you up for the day. To ensure I’m not just becoming a pyjama blob that rolls straight to my desk every morning, half-awake, I make sure to have a morning routine I love. Remember that puppy I mentioned? She wakes me up so that I don’t have an alarm now, just a wet face. Maybe the method of waking up could use some work, but the fact I don’t have a standard alarm is something I found really helps in allowing your body the time it needs to rest. I’m not 100% on the research behind this, but I do know that instead of interrupting my sleep with an alarm set at the same time every day and by letting myself wake up slower, I feel a lot more rested as my body feels it’s slept enough. Plus, who doesn’t want to wake up to an adorable doggy face?

After I get up (generally, I aim for around sunrise give or take an hour), I make sure to get up and about and go for a walk or take my dog to the beach. This gets my circadian rhythm in line, and starting the day with something physical for me and my dog ensures our bodies are happy for the rest of the day. My favourite spot is the local dog beach in Warana where I will spend the better part of an hour playing with her and chatting with whoever falls victim to my early morning energy.

Once we get home, I start making a healthy breakfast. At the moment, I am loving the fresh fruit from the markets and local fruit shed, so I make up a massive board (that could probably star in a magazine or a hotel buffet) and start the coffee machine. I make sure to have breakfast an hour or half an hour before I start work, and this helps to get my mind in the right space to tackle my work tasks efficiently once I sit down.

Now, I spoke about maintaining technology. This includes all the little things like making sure my mouse and keyboard are charged over the weekend (they last a while once fully charged) and ensuring my computer is up to date. Technology can be a giant pain when it doesn’t work, but it also allows me to be able to have the work-life balance I enjoy, so it’s important to make sure all my tech is working correctly. I have a MacBook Air with a second screen connected and find that keeping my documents organised, desktop clear, and notifications silenced throughout the day has helped my focus immensely. I even separate my internet browsers to keep Chrome for work searches and Safari for personal; this way, I don’t need to get confused with personal vs work bookmarks, etc. In an ideal world, I would have a work computer and a personal computer, but I really don’t think it’s necessary once I implement these things. The beauty of my computer is that you can also create “focus” times, which means no interruptions for a time you set—this is great for what I do.

The last tip I have is around your social life. Working from home means that you don’t get in the “normal” interactions with those you work with every single day. Sure, we message each other multiple times a day to check in and follow up on tasks, but no one is there if you just had a quick question or wanted to have a chat by the printer about the weekend (of course, we do catch up about these things in other ways, but you get what I mean!). This means it has been a bit of an adjustment since starting this job for me, as every other job I’ve had has been at a physical location other than my own house. To make sure I didn’t become an eternal hermit crab, I’ve made sure to be strict with still catching up with friends wherever I can. Now that I have more time before and after work (as I don’t travel to and from), it gives me a larger window to grab breakfast or plan an afternoon walk before it gets dark.

Overall, I feel extremely lucky to be able to work from home and glad that I have found what works best for me. There are a ton of tips out there to help with managing the transition if it is something you are looking into, but I hope my tips today helped!

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