WFH general tips?

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
Not sure if this kind of thread/conversation has already happened but I haven't found it on this forum, so thought I'd start a thread for tips and maybe advice for WFH since it can be a bit different to actually going into work :)

Are there any recommended WFH etiquette things that are probably good to do?
 

RoughWood

Legendary Member
Trainee
Feb 24, 2021
194
360
I work from home in my current career and there a few things that I would suggest that help me be more productive and mentally secure when working from home.

  1. Have a commute. It is all too easy to go from bedroom to bathroom to office (or wherever you are working from) but I find, at the end of the day particularly, you need your own version of a commute to be able to mentally switch on or off from the working day. Once I am ready for the day, I like to step outside (weather permitting) with my morning cuppa. Say hello to the neighbours if you see them, watch the birds in your garden, whatever it might be for you that lets your mind prepare for 'going to work'.
  2. Get dressed properly. I am awful at wearing pj bottoms or trackies with my work tops/jackets....after all, who is going to see it! However, if I have meetings that day or any particularly big deadlines, I make sure to get dressed properly and have my version of a 'work uniform', for me it is my makeup. If I've got my lippy on then that is my work uniform and I am ready to conquer the day! It really puts me in the business mindset.
  3. Do not Disturb. Wherever you are working, have a sign on the door or somewhere around to let others in your house know if you have a meeting or cannot be disturbed. I learned this one the hard way after my daughter kept bursting into my home office to tell me about her day/something she saw on tiktok/'you'll never guess what so-an-so said'. Thankfully, my colleagues are great about it and enjoy her popping in for a chat but should I have been speaking with clients instead of my colleagues it could have been a different story! Let people know when you are not to be disturbed.
  4. Try to set up a proper working space. If you have to work from the kitchen table then that is fine but have a dedicated shelf or like nearby where you can keep notebooks, stationary, files etc. It is so frustrating when you need a new pen (insert random item here) and don't have one to hand. It breaks my concentration if I then have to go searching so I have a drawer with stationary and a shelf purely for notebooks, post-its etc, anything that I might need that I can just grab from nearby.
  5. Don't fall into the trap of presenteeism. It is very easy when working from home to always be in work mode. Just because your computer is there does not mean that you have to be working outside of your usual hours. Every now and again there may be a pressing deadline that requires extra hours, but don't be that person responding to emails at all hours. Firstly, some may think that you are just doing so for effect or to prove that you are still at work, but more importantly, if you are seen as 'always available', then it will begin to be expected and you will never be able to switch off.
  6. Linked to the above, if you are ill, be ill. Don't keep working because you are already at home anyway. I have been guilty of this majorly in the past and you can feel that it is expected. Take the time to recuperate and get better properly, or it will take so much longer before you are completely well again. If there are urgent items that you are dealing with, then take a few minutes to write a hand-over email to your team so that they are aware of what was in progress, but after that, if you are off sick, be off sick.
  7. Respond to emails. Even if it is just acknowledging that you have received the email and will action in due course. It can be frustrating to not hear from someone (even if it is because they are actioning what was requested), letting people know that you have received their message and will let them know when the task is complete can make a big difference to relieving pressure from others that may be constantly asking for updates!
  8. Take time to talk. WFH can be incredibly isolating, I have only actually met my manager twice in the 18 months we have worked together and some of the team I have never met. Taking just a few minutes to have a chat be it at the beginning of a team zoom, or at the end of the week if you have a sign off call, can make a huge difference to feeling like part of the team and building rapport that is so important to effective working relationships.
There are no doubt many more points to add, but these are the main things that come to mind from my experience
 
Last edited:

RoughWood

Legendary Member
Trainee
Feb 24, 2021
194
360
Just to add also (that just came to me while having a quick brew break at work) that the most important thing is to keep open lines of communication with your team. When you are WFH your colleagues may not be aware of heavy (or light) your workload is so it is really important to make sure that you reach out if you have availability to help others, or let people know if you are drowning in work! Being able to be honest about your limitations also ensures that you are managing the expectations of your manager and team. If you have a lot on but are asked to action something, make sure you let them know and if appropriate, ask what they would prefer to be prioritised.

I'm sure that others will have more to add!
 

George Maxwell

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Staff member
TCLA Moderator
Gold Member
Premium Member
Junior Lawyer 50
Oct 25, 2021
552
1,065
I work from home in my current career and there a few things that I would suggest that help me be more productive and mentally secure when working from home.

  1. Have a commute. It is all too easy to go from bedroom to bathroom to office (or wherever you are working from) but I find, at the end of the day particularly, you need your own version of a commute to be able to mentally switch on or off from the working day. Once I am ready for the day, I like to step outside (weather permitting) with my morning cuppa. Say hello to the neighbours if you see them, watch the birds in your garden, whatever it might be for you that lets your mind prepare for 'going to work'.
  2. Get dressed properly. I am awful at wearing pj bottoms or trackies with my work tops/jackets....after all, who is going to see it! However, if I have meetings that day or any particularly big deadlines, I make sure to get dressed properly and have my version of a 'work uniform', for me it is my makeup. If I've got my lippy on then that is my work uniform and I am ready to conquer the day! It really puts me in the business mindset.
  3. Do not Disturb. Wherever you are working, have a sign on the door or somewhere around to let others in your house know if you have a meeting or cannot be disturbed. I learned this one the hard way after my daughter kept bursting into my home office to tell me about her day/something she saw on tiktok/'you'll never guess what so-an-so said'. Thankfully, my colleagues are great about it and enjoy her popping in for a chat but should I have been speaking with clients instead of my colleagues it could have been a different story! Let people know when you are not to be disturbed.
  4. Try to set up a proper working space. If you have to work from the kitchen table then that is fine but have a dedicated shelf or like nearby where you can keep notebooks, stationary, files etc. It is so frustrating when you need a new pen (insert random item here) and don't have one to hand. It breaks my concentration if I then have to go searching so I have a drawer with stationary and a shelf purely for notebooks, post-its etc, anything that I might need that I can just grab from nearby.
  5. Don't fall into the trap of presenteeism. It is very easy when working from home to always be in work mode. Just because your computer is there does not mean that you have to be working outside of your usual hours. Every now and again there may be a pressing deadline that requires extra hours, but don't be that person responding to emails at all hours. Firstly, some may think that you are just doing so for effect or to prove that you are still at work, but more importantly, if you are seen as 'always available', then it will begin to be expected and you will never be able to switch off.
  6. Linked to the above, if you are ill, be ill. Don't keep working because you are already at home anyway. I have been guilty of this majorly in the past and you can feel that it is expected. Take the time to recuperate and get better properly, or it will take so much longer before you are completely well again. If there are urgent items that you are dealing with, then take a few minutes to write a hand-over email to your team so that they are aware of what was in progress, but after that, if you are off sick, be off sick.
  7. Respond to emails. Even if it is just acknowledging that you have received the email and will action in due course. It can be frustrating to not hear from someone (even if it is because they are actioning what was requested), letting people know that you have received their message and will let them know when the task is complete can make a big difference to relieving pressure from others that may be constantly asking for updates!
  8. Take time to talk. WFH can be incredibly isolating, I have only actually met my manager twice in the 18 months we have worked together and some of the team I have never met. Taking just a few minutes to have a chat be it at the beginning of a team zoom, or at the end of the week if you have a sign off call, can make a huge difference to feeling like part of the team and building rapport that is so important to effective working relationships.
There are no doubt many more points to add, but these are the main things that come to mind from my experience

Hey @RoughWood thank you so much for sharing this.

I will take this on board for when I WFH.

Really appreciate you taking the time!
 

Abii

Legendary Member
Junior Lawyer
Feb 1, 2021
255
728
Completely agree with everything @RoughWood said - especially point 6!

I would also add if you can buy a bigger desk than you think you will actually need or the largest you can fit in your space. Office desks are typically quite large and deep and there is a reason for that! I recently upgraded to a much larger sit/stand desk and it has made such a difference to my working day.
 

RoughWood

Legendary Member
Trainee
Feb 24, 2021
194
360
Completely agree with everything @RoughWood said - especially point 6!

I would also add if you can buy a bigger desk than you think you will actually need or the largest you can fit in your space. Office desks are typically quite large and deep and there is a reason for that! I recently upgraded to a much larger sit/stand desk and it has made such a difference to my working day.
That is actually a great point, I have a new desk coming this week in readiness for starting my TC in March as the table I have been using is just not big enough and I am always running out of space!
 
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Jessica Booker

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Graduate Recruitment
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Aug 1, 2019
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Also agree with the desk point - I now have a very large L Shaped adjustable sit/stand desk and the combination of the space and the ability to not sit down all day is amazing. You should also speak to your employer to see what support they can give you with equipment like desks, as some employers will provide this type of equipment for you/or be able to link you with preferred suppliers who can often give discounts.
 

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
I work from home in my current career and there a few things that I would suggest that help me be more productive and mentally secure when working from home.

  1. Have a commute. It is all too easy to go from bedroom to bathroom to office (or wherever you are working from) but I find, at the end of the day particularly, you need your own version of a commute to be able to mentally switch on or off from the working day. Once I am ready for the day, I like to step outside (weather permitting) with my morning cuppa. Say hello to the neighbours if you see them, watch the birds in your garden, whatever it might be for you that lets your mind prepare for 'going to work'.
  2. Get dressed properly. I am awful at wearing pj bottoms or trackies with my work tops/jackets....after all, who is going to see it! However, if I have meetings that day or any particularly big deadlines, I make sure to get dressed properly and have my version of a 'work uniform', for me it is my makeup. If I've got my lippy on then that is my work uniform and I am ready to conquer the day! It really puts me in the business mindset.
  3. Do not Disturb. Wherever you are working, have a sign on the door or somewhere around to let others in your house know if you have a meeting or cannot be disturbed. I learned this one the hard way after my daughter kept bursting into my home office to tell me about her day/something she saw on tiktok/'you'll never guess what so-an-so said'. Thankfully, my colleagues are great about it and enjoy her popping in for a chat but should I have been speaking with clients instead of my colleagues it could have been a different story! Let people know when you are not to be disturbed.
  4. Try to set up a proper working space. If you have to work from the kitchen table then that is fine but have a dedicated shelf or like nearby where you can keep notebooks, stationary, files etc. It is so frustrating when you need a new pen (insert random item here) and don't have one to hand. It breaks my concentration if I then have to go searching so I have a drawer with stationary and a shelf purely for notebooks, post-its etc, anything that I might need that I can just grab from nearby.
  5. Don't fall into the trap of presenteeism. It is very easy when working from home to always be in work mode. Just because your computer is there does not mean that you have to be working outside of your usual hours. Every now and again there may be a pressing deadline that requires extra hours, but don't be that person responding to emails at all hours. Firstly, some may think that you are just doing so for effect or to prove that you are still at work, but more importantly, if you are seen as 'always available', then it will begin to be expected and you will never be able to switch off.
  6. Linked to the above, if you are ill, be ill. Don't keep working because you are already at home anyway. I have been guilty of this majorly in the past and you can feel that it is expected. Take the time to recuperate and get better properly, or it will take so much longer before you are completely well again. If there are urgent items that you are dealing with, then take a few minutes to write a hand-over email to your team so that they are aware of what was in progress, but after that, if you are off sick, be off sick.
  7. Respond to emails. Even if it is just acknowledging that you have received the email and will action in due course. It can be frustrating to not hear from someone (even if it is because they are actioning what was requested), letting people know that you have received their message and will let them know when the task is complete can make a big difference to relieving pressure from others that may be constantly asking for updates!
  8. Take time to talk. WFH can be incredibly isolating, I have only actually met my manager twice in the 18 months we have worked together and some of the team I have never met. Taking just a few minutes to have a chat be it at the beginning of a team zoom, or at the end of the week if you have a sign off call, can make a huge difference to feeling like part of the team and building rapport that is so important to effective working relationships.
There are no doubt many more points to add, but these are the main things that come to mind from my experience
Thank you so much for your reply @RoughWood! These are such great points, and number 5 will be something I will keep in mind since I do feel the pressure to be extra on it as the new person.
 

lawnoob

Valued Member
Premium Member
Jan 15, 2021
109
72
Also agree with the desk point - I now have a very large L Shaped adjustable sit/stand desk and the combination of the space and the ability to not sit down all day is amazing. You should also speak to your employer to see what support they can give you with equipment like desks, as some employers will provide this type of equipment for you/or be able to link you with preferred suppliers who can often give discounts.
I didn't know that such a request could be made! Thanks Jessica, I will make sure to ask about this in the future if WFH continues :)
 

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