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4 WFH Hacks For Graduates

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You’ve had to study from home during lockdown so how can you successfully transition into your first graduate job whilst working from home?

It can be great for those with a spare room, a garden, perfect broadband and a nice home environment but it can be challenge for others so how can you best prepare yourself? We’ve asked recent graduates who have worked from home for the last 12 months for their advice.

1.    Create some structure and routine
•    Do a fake commute before you start work!
•    Lie in for an hour every morning. Call it your 'horizontal commute'
•    Set a two-hour block from 12pm-2pm with no meetings. get some actual work done!
•    Structure your entire day around what you need for both work and personal life and use the flexibility to work through what you need for both
•    Dress for work and plan your day with exercise, chunks of strategic work and times to react to emails. A professional start to the day keeps you productive. Leave at least 15 minutes between meetings and take an hour for lunch at the same time every day.
•    MaintaIn self-discipline
•    Change the model of your day. Actively interject work with small personal projects. It can keep your mind sharp, maintain your productivity and increase your accessibility for colleagues without increasing your hours
•    Have a designated work area so you don't transfer that "work" energy from the kitchen to the living room or bedroom
•    Separate your day into 'chunks'. Completing each and taking a well-deserved break between.
•    Put your coat on at the end of the day and 'walk home'. Draws a line under the day

2.    Exercise and breaks
•    Get outside no matter the weather!
•    Start the day with some exercise 
•    Fresh air
•    Vitamin supplements! They are affordable and vitamin D is essential whilst we’re spending so much time indoors, and can help with Covid side effects and also supports your immune system along with vitamin C
•    Go for a walk before starting the day
•    Get outside during the day to clear your head
•    Stand up regularly or get a standing desk
•    Go to the park before work and at the end of the day to feed the birds. It really helps to get out and get some fresh air
•    Install some chrome extensions which remind you when to stand up and drink water, it helps as you may not naturally do it as much when you're not in the office
•    Go for a walk at lunch – even if it’s literally just once around the block. It’s good to get out and have a break from screens

3.    Be aware of your mental wellbeing
•    Check in with colleagues regularly to feel connected
•    Fresh air and ventilation are so important. If you work in a small room all day and never open a window, you’re breathing your own carbon dioxide which really affects productivity and mood. Open a window every hour or so to let fresh air in, this will also get you moving every hour
•    Have the radio on so you're not working in silence - like having background chat in the office
•    Make sure you hide your laptop at the end of the day so you can try and switch off
•    Remember to eat!
•    Diarise time with colleagues to catch-up - it's important to have human connections that aren't just work focused
•    Start a team meeting where you ask the team to share their worst thing that has happened that week, the best thing that week and then the funniest thing that had happened
•    We need physical distancing but not strictly social distancing so try and keep connected as much as possible by video chats, however small, it helps to see a face
•    You don’t have to be available 24/7
•    Have 'virtual pub' meet ups with colleagues once a month
•    Set up 'coffee roulette' each day where you get to speak to a different person in the company
•    Leave your phone in a different room to help keep focused and avoid WhatsApp constantly pinging all day!
•    If you get fed up wearing slippers or just socks maybe wear a pair of shoes through the day - it's a small thing but makes life feel a bit more normal
•    Enjoy guilt free coffee/tea breaks - you'd usually spend 10 minutes in the office kitchen chatting to a colleague so it may take a while to not feel guilty if your MS Teams tick changes to 'away' but try it

4.    Avoid Zoom fatigue
•    Put makeup or lipstick on for formal meetings
•    Video calls are tiring. We tend to stare intensely at the screen and the people we are talking to so try and look away from time to time. You don't always have to look directly at everyone all the time which you wouldn't when you're face to face...it would just be weird
•    Start every online meeting with a smile - it helps everyone to feel less anxious and more relaxed getting the meeting off to a good start
•    'Walkie talkies' - walking/talking meetings via phone - get work done and get fitter/hear the birds.
•    A LOT of coffee

Have you some WFH hacks of your own? Let us know and we'll add them to the list.

Dan Hawes is the Co-Founder of the GRB Group. He hopes to enlighten students, graduates and employers with his wisdom from over 20 years in the industry!

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