Navigating working from home

19th November 2020

Many businesses have had staff working from home for some time now since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March. However, with stricter restrictions in place currently in South Australia, some of us are working from home for the very first time.

If you haven’t worked from home before, or even if you have but you haven’t quite nailed the work/home balance, we are sharing a few tips on navigating this new way of working.

Separate home from work

If you are working from home, it is important to guard against the two merging and by that we mean, have a place in your house that is going to be where you go to “work” and also where you leave work. If it has a door (like a study or spare room), even better. Close it on the way out.

Take some time to set up your workspace and make it comfortable and a safe workspace. Make sure that you have everything you might need close at hand (stationery, mobile phone, laptop, etc). You might also like to inform other members of your household so that they can appreciate that when you are in that space, you are working and not available for interruptions (good luck with the dog and the cat – they will also welcome your presence at home).

Establish a regular work routine

Even though you are not going into the office, it is important to establish a “work from home” routine if you want to be productive in your new environment. Get up at the usual time, eat breakfast, get ready for work as you usually would. Then go to your new workspace and start work. Take breaks as you usually would: morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, and finish at your usual time. Then leave your workspace and resume your home/family activities. Many people find this physical separation a good way to keep home and work separate and to stop the feeling that we are always working.

Be kind to yourself and those who live with you, and keep a sense of humour

So, you have a plan, but you may also have a family. They don’t necessarily understand the way that the new plan is going to work either. If it takes a while for your primary school aged children to understand, be patient, it will take time. Do the best you can and just accept that some days the wheels will just fall off.

Some of your usual childcare options may need rethinking. If your partner is also working from home, maybe you can agree to share the childcare; one in the morning and one in the afternoon, depending on where you are working.

Try and maintain a sense of humour, this has been a different and challenging year for everybody with more changes to our daily routines than usual. Remember, change all by itself, regardless of whether we think it is good or bad, can be a bit unsettling. Information is really valuable to set a context for our responses.

Stay connected, be informed

Staying connected to your colleagues is important. Microsoft Teams and Zoom are secure face-to-face forms of communication. Establish communication channels to facilitate the sharing of documents and team meetings.

Staying informed about the way that the COVID response is developing will help you make sense of what is going on around you. It is important to identify reliable sources of information for government announcements. Here are some useful links to find the most up-to-date and reliable information:

  • Follow SA’s COVID-19 response and get regular updates at
  • Visit the Australian Department of Health website for regular nationwide updates.
  • The SA COVID-19 Information Line offers local information and advice on general COVID-19 information for South Australians. Operates from 9am to 5pm every day on 1800 253 787
  • The National Coronavirus Information Helpline for information and advice on COVID-19 from an Australia wide perspective on 1800 020 080

Finally, stay connected to family and friends. Explore new ways to use technology to your advantage. You might be surprised at outcomes. Stay inside and stay safe.

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Navigating working from home