Our top tips for working from home

With many lectures and teaching now online, studying from home for a significant amount of time will be the new normal.

Whether you're just working from home for the time being, or studying online in Manchester, there are certain things you can do to ensure a good work to life balance and be as productive as you can be. We've pulled together our top tips for working from home.

Set up a workspace

If possible, set up a dedicated workspace somewhere that is quiet and has limited distractions. Try to keep where you study and where you relax separate. Not only will this help you be as productive as possible, but it will make sure you’re able to switch off at the end of the day as you can mentally separate work and relax time.

Once you've chosen your area, make sure you have everything you need  chargers, stationary, water bottle etc. You don't want to be constantly getting up and down. Think of everything you'd need if you were actually going into University for the day.

Lastly it's important to make sure you're comfortable. While it's tempting to work from the sofa or your bed, it's better for you to sit at a desk or table. Use the NHS guidelines to see how to set up your workspace correctly, or read student Lina’s piece about setting up your own sweet study spot.

Make a schedule

It's important to set and stick to a routine. Without steady schedules it's easy for the boundaries between work and personal time to blur. Make sure you have a morning routine, get up, get dressed, have breakfast and stick to your regular sleeping patterns. Most importantly try and be consistent. 

You'll still have lectures and seminars or labs to give you some structure, so think about how you'll plan your work around these contact hours. 

Plan in breaks (and take them)

When you're making your schedule, it's important to plan breaks and time for yourself. Just like you would in a normal day plan in time for coffee/tea breaks, catch-ups with friends over the phone or doing some exercise.

It’s also good to have a clear start and end time for your work. This should be whatever works for you. Pick a definitive finishing time each day to give yourself the space to wind-down and do something you enjoy.

Stay connected

We know how important it is to share ideas and discussions with your coursemates, so why not set up your own study groups while working at home? Whether that’s a Whatsapp group, Skype or Zoom call, not only will you get some much needed socialisation but you won’t lose out on valuable conversations around your course.

Outside of academia there are lots of ways to stay connected with other students. Why not join a society or sign up to a virtual sports class? Throughout Welcome and beyond there are lots of ways for you to connect with other students.

Look after yourself

Now more than ever your own personal wellbeing should be your top priority. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.

Remember this is still an unusual situation and things still won't feel quite normal. It’s important to remember you’re not alone and the feelings you’re having are completely usual.

If you find yourself struggling, the first point of call is our Student Support website which has online resources to help with issues around your wellbeing, as well as signposting you to other forms of help where needed. Mental health charity Mind has more information to help you cope if you are feeling anxious or worried about Coronavirus.

Above all remember that it's important to keep a worklife balance. These simple tips can help you while working at home to feel more productive and also take care of your wellbeing.