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Create a routine

Working from home can be very challenging. There isn't a normal structure like you have in the office, it can be difficult to focus especially with young children and other distractions at home. You can easily over work and burnout.

As the coronavirus pandemic means we'll be working from home for a while, it is essential that you maintain a healthy balance between work and life. You can do this by creating a new daily routine.

Make a schedule and stick to it

Get up as normal

Try to get up as normal and start your day with some breakfast.

Get washed and dressed as if you are heading into work. This will help you get into the right mindset for the day ahead.

Use your commute time

For many of us, whether travelling on public transport or by bike, car or on foot, the daily commute is often a bit of time we get to ourselves. Whether it's for reflective thinking or chatting with friends, make sure you don't miss out on this.

Schedule some 'commute time' to read a book, call one of your regular travel companions or take your daily exercise.

Create a list of tasks you intend to achieve

A list will help to keep you focused on what you need to do.

Prioritise the tasks from the list so that you don't become sidetracked by the less important ones.

Plan in breaks and take them

In your normal work environment, your day will be more varied and you'll take natural breaks to answer questions from colleagues, walk to meetings or grab a coffee. At home without distraction it can be easy to get carried away on a task or project and before you know it you haven't taken one break all day.

Breaks are important for your wellbeing, particularly if you are using a screen, so make sure you schedule some in as well as your lunch (and set an alarm on your phone to help you to remember to take them).

After a break, you'll feel refreshed, focused and ready to restart - your productivity will also increase.

Work children into your routine

Think about your children and work them into your routine.

Schedule a set time to help your children to do their school work.

During your breaks and lunch, take your mind off work and spend time with them.

Stop when you are supposed to

It is easy to get carried away and want to complete all of your tasks but make sure you stop when you are meant to. You don't want to burn yourself out.

You are also denying yourself time with your family and your quality of work is likely to deteriorate by continuing beyond your usual working time. Your wellbeing is really important.

Celebrate your wins

At the end of the day, revisit your list and tick off what you have achieved. Plus write down anything else you have done but didn't expect to.

You'll feel better by doing this, and often you will have achieved more than you think you have. It also gives you a starting point for your next working day.

Share completed work with others

Make sure you connect with your colleagues and let them know what you've been working on. Particularly when you have finished a piece of work.

Not only will your achievements be recognised by your team, including your managers, but by sharing your work, it will give others ideas and motivation to complete theirs too.

Sleep schedule

Try and stick to your same sleeping pattern as if you are going into the office. This will help you be as productive as possible while working.

Don't be tempted by that late night film or the next episode of your current TV series.

Share your routine with others

When you are working from home, sometimes it is hard for the people around you to realise that you need to work, and they expect you to be available to them for the things you would usually do when you are at home.

Make sure you share your routine with your family, including your children, and your friends so they know when you are available to spend time with them. Also set any boundaries.

Explain to your children that you are working and you're not at home because you are on leave from work. The more they see you working, the more they'll understand.

Also make sure colleagues are aware of your working pattern so they know when you might not be available to answer questions, have meetings and so on.

Have you completed your working from home assessment?

If you are working at home you should fill in a working from home assessment as soon as possible. This is to help to minimise any risks that may occur in your new work environment. Completed work assessments must be returned to your line manager.

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