How to work from home

Living Well | Jan Fisher | Posted on 15 March 2019

Tips to make the most of working outside the office.

Public Transport Victoria is calling it the autumn construction blitz but to Melbourne commuters it might be the month the city all but grinds to a halt. 

PTV has announced works across six Melbourne train lines and four regional train lines in April, with buses replacing trains most days for at least some sections of the lines.  

The disruption is estimated to affect 1.5 million commuters and while work has been timed to coincide with the school and Easter holidays to minimise its impact, PTV is still advising commuters to allow an extra hour for their trip to work. 

So what to do? A holiday sounds like a good idea, but it’s not an option for everyone. Maybe your next best option is negotiating with your employer to work from home.

Woman in a face mask with her hair wrapped in a towel eating a sandwich and using her laptop

While there are advantages – less time in traffic or crowded public transport and more time with loved ones – there can be pitfalls too. 

A two-year study by Stanford University professor Nicholas Bloom researched 250 Chinese travel agents who were given the opportunity to work from home. It found that while productivity soared due to fewer sick days, less time off and shorter breaks, and the attrition rate fell, about 50 per cent of workers reported feeling isolated and did not enjoy working from home full-time.    

If you do decide to try working at home here are some tips for maximising your day: 

Get dressed 

Resist the urge to lounge the day away in your PJs. Pull on some pants, a skirt, whatever. It puts you in a more professional mindset and you’ll avoid embarrassment if there’s an unexpected conference call. 

Try to stick to your normal routine 

Of course there are distractions at home not found in the office – catching up on Game of Thrones before the new series, rearranging your T-shirt drawer – but matching your usual routine lets you clear the decks early and will make it easier to slip back into office mode when you return. 

Upgrade your wifi 

It’s time to make sure your wifi is the best it can be. It’s frustrating and unproductive to have to shuffle off to the library, local coffee shop or your techie mate’s house when the wifi crashes. If you deal with clients it looks unprofessional, and you can waste valuable time if you are up against deadlines. 

Get moving 

Take a break every hour. In a standard office environment you get up to consult with colleagues, grab a coffee or go out for lunch. Keep moving at home as well. If you need motivation invest in a fitness tracker and find some exercise routines on YouTube.  

Get out of the house 

Return to the real world at least once a week even if it’s just for a coffee with friends, FaceTime with colleagues or dropping into the office. Chatting with the postie does not count.

Photo: Getty Images.