How to work from home

Whether you’re working from home for the first time — or transitioning to working 100% remotely — we’ve put together some tips to help you be your best remote self. Most of all, take care of yourself in an anxious time.

At Beam, our team works remotely all the time. Here’s what we know works:

Set up your office space as a clearly demarcated area

Yes, this one is definitely common sense. But still worth saying. Whether you’re in a share house or an apartment or have your own office (luxe!), set up a workspace that’s as quiet and clutter-free as possible. Consider noise-cancelling headphones if your home environment is busy. Share home office photos with colleagues for inspo.

Familiarise yourself with your work’s policies around home office set-ups for health and safety.

Create clear transitions in your day to mimic the office routine

It’s easy for the lines between home and work to become blurred. Be thoughtful about how you create these boundaries for yourself. Rituals matter.

  • Have clear work and non-work times
  • Mark the transition to and from work in ways that make sense for you. Eg.
    • Dress for the work day
    • Make a cuppa to kick things off
    • Take a walk once you’re finished to leave the work day behind you — if you can’t leave the house, consciously stop your work, take a break and start something new
    • Do a quick meditation to start or finish the work day — Smiling Mind has some great options
    • Ask your team mates what they’re doing and share your tips
  • Make time for food breaks
  • Make time for social interactions
  • Get to know your body’s natural energy peaks and troughs and build them into your schedule where possible — take this chronotype quiz to understand your most productive hours and work with them
Focus on outcomes

This is always true. But if you need to reduce work-from-home distractions, focus on the outcomes you want to deliver. Consider doing one clear thing at a time. Try the Gary Keller approach: “What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

What does that look like for today, this week, this month?

Stay on top of your health

The biggest risk of remote work isn’t a lack of productivity — in fact studies show that goes up — but loneliness and mental health issues related to isolation, and feeling like you should always be “on”. With community anxiety all around us at the moment, it’s important we take extra care of ourselves, our team members, our leaders and our external stakeholders as well. Community is important, even more so as we’re socially distancing.

Be intentional about looking after yourself — and if you think you might struggle, pair up with someone who can prompt you! Consider building breaks and exercise into your calendar. If you’re an extrovert who needs lots of social interaction, plan for virtual or in-person catch-ups.

Communicate

When everyone is in an office, you can pick up on how they’re feeling or how busy they are without them having to say anything. This is much harder to do when you’re all remote.

If you’re concerned about something or need assistance from a team member, be clear about what’s going on! Overcommunicating is definitely better than undercommunicating right now.

Remember that different people have different communication styles. In particular, under high stress, people react differently — most commonly people will either go into attack, retreat, hyper-control or passive aggressive. Be kind and reserve your judgment — know that people are getting through this stressful time in their own way and it’s likely not bringing out the best version of themselves in high-pressure conversations.

Challenge yourself!

How can you challenge yourself to be even better in this remote working environment than in the office?

How can you find extra productivity, how can you make even deeper connections with your stakeholders and team-mates?

How can you self-motivate and make great choices that lead to great work outcomes — and great outcomes for the other parts of your life?

At Beam Australia, we working 100% remotely. Here’s what we’ve learned.