How to work from home successfully

Life Plus has been amongst the thousands of Kiwi businesses that have moved to a home office environment for all of our staff over the past week as New Zealand moves into COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown and it is a move that hasn’t been without its challenges! 

As we navigate our first week of isolation, our team has been finding their work from home groove and adjusting to life out of the office, here are some of the ways our team have adapted (check out number 3 if you have young children at home!)


1. Stay connected

When we first heard of the possibility of working from home, our team decided to join Facebook Workplace to stay in touch and keep the company culture alive while in isolation. While we still use emails and calls for the important day to day business communications, we have found that the casual banter and office convos are being kept alive through our Workplace chat. From simply saying good morning to everyone each day to posting our home office set up, morning views and office assistants aka pets and children to keep us connected and inspired.


2. Tie in household tasks with your job list

While we don’t have the usual distractions in the office like a co-worker stopping by our desk for a chat or grabbing a coffee from across the road, household activities such as laundry and dishes can be the new distraction so instead of resisting the urge to do these tasks we embrace them. Need to put a load of washing on? Use that as your timer for one of your work tasks. You can rinse and repeat this strategy for many of your home tasks!


3. Office assistants

With schools as well as workplaces in isolation, it can mean that you will have a full house for the next four weeks – we know, sounds daunting!!
We have lots of mums and dads in the office, and this is some of their tips for adjusting working with them!“I’m chunking the day down and keeping a routine, I have activities set every hour ( stuff that I can set my daughter up with and leave her to) with morning tea/fruit break and free play for half an hour lunch and free play/iPads etc. for 1 hour and afternoon tea for half another – the activities range from practising writing, number books, arts and crafts, pebble hunt in the garden, movie time I do a little schedule, so she doesn’t get bored too much. At the end of each day, she does exercise with mummy.

“When my kids are driving me crazy and want me to give them attention, I ask for their help, and set out a task for them, like colouring in X or Y and set them up with their own office-like space. It usually keeps them busy for a short period of time and makes them feel like they are connected with me.”

“If you have children and you know that you have telephone calls, a meeting scheduled etc. I try to provide the kids with something that they can engross themselves in at that time. Remember, kids attention span is very short, so ensure you use your best tricks for those moments.”

“Thank goodness for substitute parents aka iPads and Play-stations. There! I said it! But on a serious note: it’s okay to increase screen time a little bit when we’re working from home and need to focus on getting the job done and offering support to our candidates and clients. It’s okay to watch a bit more TV and to play an extra video game, but then you need to offset that with quality parent-child time too e.g. board games, taking a walk, cooking together (oh the mess!). Most important, though: DON’T FEEL GUILTY. We need to take care of ourselves and our kids, our work and our home – it’s ok not to be perfect”

“My daughter and I (both working from home) have created an “out of zone area” (one of the decks) where the kids are not allowed. We use this area when we are on the phone and such! Nice and quiet. And they get it! They are so noisy!!”


4. Pretend that you are in the office

While we eat, sleep, work and relax all under one roof, it can be challenging to differentiate between the activities. Waking up the same time each day, showering getting dressed etc. What you need to be careful of is sitting in front of the laptop all day and not moving. Most people work more and longer at home than they do in the office. You miss all the chit chat, walks to the kitchen, photocopier etc. Ensure you regularly move throughout the day. At the end of the day, move away from your workspace. Some of our team have come up with their own ways to get in and out of work mode while at home

“My partner and I get up every morning, the same time we usually would if we were going into the office. We get dressed and head out for a walk around the block – like we are walking to work, and before we go inside, we wish each other a good day at work and have a joke with dinner or drink plans for after 5 pm. We then make a coffee, sit down at our desks and it feels like we are in the office. We act like this until 5ish, and then we go for another walk around the block and head inside for an after-work drink.”

“I have a salt lamp light next to my home office set up, each morning when I clock in for work I turn it on and I know it’s work o’clock, each night when I finish I turn it off, and the office turns into my home again.”

“If possible create a work zone in your house, this does not have to be a different room but just a space that you sit and work from. At the end of the day, do not go back to that space unless you have to. This provides work/personal separation.”