Like us, we imagine that most of you are currently working from home. Some perhaps for the first time ever. We understand that this takes a while to get used to, so we asked our Creative & Content Manager, Emma (who regularly works from home) to share some of her wisdom for how to knuckle down and get your work done when you’re suddenly removed from your colleagues and bombarded with distractions.
Don’t work from bed!
There’s nothing wrong with lazily answering your emails from the comfort of your bed when you first awaken, but make sure you get up when you usually would to start the day as normal. Have a shower, get dressed and eat your breakfast, just like you usually would, before sitting down and opening up your laptop.
Set up a space in your home to be your ‘office’
Whether that’s a spare bedroom, your dining table or a desk, it’s important to have a dedicated working zone. I like to work from the dining table but make sure I pack everything away once I’m finished for the day so the table reverts to its usual function. Don’t be scared to move things around a little bit to make yourself more comfortable – such as moving a desk into a spare room or rearranging the furniture in your dining room so you can sit facing a wall or the window. If you’re used to pinning things up on a noticeboard at work, don’t shy away from doing that at home.
Try to separate work and leisure
I personally can’t concentrate when I’m sat on the sofa as I associate that space with relaxing and watching Netflix. If you set clear boundaries of what is a work space and which spaces retain their original uses, you will also be less likely to continue working into the night or getting distracted.
Stick with your usual working hours
It’s important to maintain a sense of routine so make sure you are sticking to your usual working hours or only adjust them slightly. If you usually have a long commute, you could perhaps start work a little bit earlier but check in with your colleagues to ensure you’re working the same hours if you regularly need to be in contact via email or for Skype calls.
Confer with the rest of your household
It’s a personal decision whether you work better sat with other people in your household or apart. I sit in the dining room and my boyfriend takes the living room as we find it too distracting when we’re sat together. If one person has to take lots of phone calls and someone else likes to work in quiet conditions, try working from different rooms in your house.
Make sure you’re comfy
You’re not likely to have an ergonomic desk chair and a computer set at the exact right height at home. Treat yourself to a comfortable chair if you are struggling and try placing your laptop on top of a pile of books if you need to raise its height.
Take regular breaks to get a little bit of exercise and fresh air
If you’re self-isolating, sit out in your garden or on your balcony and enjoy that early spring sunshine. If you are able to leave the house, set regular break times to take yourself for a walk. I like to get out around lunch time and again once I’ve finished work for the day, but you might decide that going for a walk first thing is the perfect way to set yourself up for the day. It’s also useful to set aside times to wash the dishes or unload the washing machine to avoid these distractions bombarding you throughout the day.
Don’t forget to switch off
When your home becomes your office it’s easy to find yourself consumed with your work. Take regular breaks and clock off when you’re done for the day, storing your laptop away out of sight. Try to clock off at the same time as the rest of your household so you can enjoy a relaxing evening together.
Remember to talk to people
Arrange weekly Skype calls with your colleagues in place of meetings or just to bounce ideas off each other. Communicate through emails and make sure you’re talking as regularly as you would do if you were in the office.
Make the most of it!
Yes, this is a worrying time but try to think of all the positives of working from home. I’m enjoying spending more time with my dog, being able to cook my own meals throughout the day (rather than spending money in cafes) and the fact that I don’t have to get dressed if I don’t want to! I’m starting my day by replying to emails and checking our social media from bed, rather than on a long train journey, and saving a lot of money without commuting.