Working in the home office: 7 points to work and live better

How can we organize ourselves so that we have reached our goals at the end of the day and live even better?

Many of us are moving our offices home these days. For some, working in a home office has long been a welcome alternative, for others it is a new situation with new challenges for their everyday work.

But not only that, after all we are still people with a private life, family and friends. This environment is also affected and makes just as great demands on us. How do they change if we are suddenly at home 24 hours a day?

All these questions are central, especially if we work in the home office for a longer period of time.

The article provides answers to these questions and shows in 7 points how we can find our way around a new situation faster and better. In particular, how we can use the opportunities of home office to create a better everyday life.

The conversion to Home Office is worthwhile

Adapting to a new situation always requires discipline, and that is exactly what we need to do until we have created new habits. After that it goes by itself, home office becomes everyday life with routines that one enjoys.

I first experienced this myself in 2005 and was lucky enough to have a modern, open-minded boss who valued my productivity in the home office from the mountains no less than that of my colleagues on site. Since then I have worked from 4 continents and various places. 

With our own company, we have finally freed ourselves completely from the stationary office. Our partners appreciate that very much. Because the advantages of home office and especially of working independently of location quickly become clear to many of them.

Working in the home office offers demands flexibility 

Especially at the beginning, many people are happy about the newly won freedom that the home office brings with it. Yes, we can now do a load of laundry on the side, or work in the fresh air from the balcony. And, quite honestly, in the sweatpants it is also more comfortable to sit in front of the laptop. 

But it can quickly happen that we are somehow not so productive in the home office, that our eyes burn from the sun on the balcony, and that the e-mails clog our inbox even more and we are not really on the job. 

The work must also be done in the home office

After all, we need full concentration to complete our daily tasks to the satisfaction of our customers, colleagues and bosses. 

Especially when we stay longer in the home office, there is also the danger of becoming lazy. Many miss the dynamic environment with colleagues and even speak of loneliness.

So we cannot expect the home office to just work by itself. We cannot expect this from ourselves and we cannot simply demand this from our team colleagues. Home Office also has to be learned. 

7 points to work and live better in your home office

1. Creating new routines

Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg

have been known to wear the same clothes over and over again. Why? They want as little distraction from the essential – their mission. 

Usually you leave the house every morning for work and have your fixed routines until evening. Now these are all turned upside down. Together with this new freedom, you have countless options for how to organize your day. 

Once you have identified preferences and created routines, you no longer need to think about it and you will be less tempted. For example, from smartphones, refrigerator or TV. This leaves you more energy for your essential things.

2. Communicate promptly and transparently

The prejudice that people who work in the home office perform less is still widespread. Probably there are some black sheep there as well. 

But the home office offers us a very efficient and modern form of work. Maybe we don’t even have to stick to fixed working hours and can do sports, for example, when our brain needs a break anyway. 

However, it is important that the conditions and the current situation are clearly communicated, and thus the expectations are also transparent. Nothing is more annoying than waiting for an answer from colleagues who should actually be there. 

3. Organize work into clearly prioritized delivery objects

With industrialization came the introduction of the time clock. Employees have been paid for their working hours ever since. Meanwhile we are in the fourth industrial revolution and many companies evaluate the performance of their employees more and more after the delivery of delivery objects. 

The advantages of clearly prioritizing small work packages have long been known, especially in the agile environment where work is done according to Lean or Kanban. This technique can be used very well in modern home office work. 

The certainty that I am really working on the most important task at the moment is very reassuring. Not only you, but also your environment. 

4. Set up special workstation / work zone

A characteristic of Home Office is of course that the home and the office merge. Previously, commuting to work was also a way of switching off – from work or even from home. 

Now we only walk a few metres to the desk, maybe even to the kitchen table, and unfold the laptop. The coffee break takes place in the kitchen or living room. 

For yourself, but also for the environment, this can be a challenge. The clear, spatial separation of work and life can prevent conflicts with your partner*in and family. 

It is also an advantage for your own mental hygiene if the office can be hidden after work and you are no longer reminded of the problems at work by the working materials. 

If it is not possible to set up a separate room or a dedicated corner as a home office, then at least we can only occupy the kitchen table at certain times.

Our productivity also benefits from this: Now I’m in work mode and I focus on it.

5. Setting up the right workplace

The sofa or even the bed can be a very tempting workplace. Besides the problems of point 4, ergonomic aspects must also be considered. 

Prolonged time at an ergonomically not well designed workplace can lead to health problems. Maybe not immediately, but if you use it for a longer period of time, then definitely. So the following applies: Maintain posture in the home office! …or at least change position more often throughout the day, e.g. between armchair and chair.

6. Cultivate the “coffee time” gossip

The colleagues in the office are an important part of the work. Relationships are formed while drinking coffee together or having lunch. Building and developing these relationships is also important when working in the home office.

There are various digital tools and possibilities that help to promote this exchange. Often these are accessible via the browser and can thus be used in restrictive corporate environments. 

Experience has shown that all it takes is someone to start by inviting someone to an online coffee klatch, then colleagues quickly follow suit and the exchange is alive and well in the home office.

At the beginning of an online meeting the personal exchange should be cultivated consciously and without bad conscience.

7. stay physically and mentally fit

How much exercise and sport do we need daily? Should it be 10’000 steps?  Even if you are a fitness grouch, you have at least covered a certain distance to and in the office before. This is no longer necessary now. 

Therefore, keep a conscious eye on your fitness level, because it can happen very quickly that we hardly move at all for a week in the home office without noticing it.

The same applies to nutrition. The refrigerator or the chocolate drawer are within easy reach. Unfortunately, the fruit bowl donated by the office is usually not available in the home office. Keep an eye on how many calories you consume and what you eat.

Exercise and nutrition have an effect on healthy sleep. If you do not sleep well or enough, you are not efficient. If your sleep changes to worse with more home office, this is an indicator that you should pay more attention to healthy balance.

VERDICT

Home office will become an integral part of the working life of many. And will not only gain even more importance in the immediate future. A win-win between work and life is achieved by consciously shaping the situation. If you keep an eye on the 7 points for working in the home office, you are well positioned.

Adrian gestaltet digitale Kanäle und Kundeninteraktionen mit Automatisierung. Er ist Chief Digital Officer von idea2.ch mit 20 Jahren Erfahrung an der Schnittstelle Kunde und IT. Zuletzt als Produktmanager bei der Swisscom, zuvor in verschiedenen Rollen bei KMUs, Startups und Agenturen. U.a. Software Entwickler, User Experience Consultant, Projektleier.

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