Working from home – advice from an expert

Michelle Monaghan graduated from CQUniversity in 2014 with a Graduate Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety. As a Safety and Training Consultant, Michelle has regularly worked from home for the last 10 years. She gives us her advice to stay motivated and productive while transitioning to working from home.

I find that I can often achieve more at home than working in an office environment as time is not wasted on travel, dressing up and office gossip. My home office also is ergonomically set up with sit/stand desk, fit ball and supportive chair.

I am definitely an early bird so if I have challenging work to complete, I hit it early. Other times I will walk the dogs or do domestic chores before starting work.

My work generally requires consultation with clients and their workers, so I always take the time to re-familiarise myself with the work prior to scheduled phone calls or video conferences.

I get myself in a work mindset by working in a separate office. I start my day by writing a plan of what I want to achieve. I finish my day by checking off what is done and what additional tasks have been added. All tasks also go into an outlook task list so that I can schedule reminders.

If I’m feeling distracted, I allow myself a chance to stretch and go get a drink or snack. I always have healthy snacks on hand. Sometimes I will work on another task for a little while then go back to the original task. Discipline is needed to go back to the task after allowing the short break. Definitely no TV.

Avoid distractions

The best way I stay focussed is to have music playing and stay roughly within the day’s plan. I often need to tell my family and friends that I am working so can’t chat / text. I do not have any notification alerts on my phone.

An important thing you need to remember is to schedule phone calls and meetings. The occasional phone call is fine but if it is a lengthy phone call or video conference, people need to schedule the time.

Avoid too much social media and online shopping – probably my biggest distraction.

Manage your time wisely

I wind down after working from home by exercising – definitely need to get the body moving after a day in the office. I use Home Fitness Network and YouTube such as Fitness Blender.

My tip for working at home with children is…well my children are adults now but I worked full time and studied part time when they were younger. My tip is to spend some quality over quantity time – do something with them as the centre of attention for say 30 minutes. The other obvious is being organised and accept help from family and friends

I generally start work about 7am and finish about 4:30pm. This gives me time for other activities throughout the day and still work at least 8 hours per day.

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