What I’ve learnt about working from home
Ever since my first job, I’ve always worked in an office. And never really given it too much thought to do anything different. I enjoy the office environment, getting out of the house and my short little commute where I can wind down.
Coronavirus changed all that, and I began working from home on 17th March. During that time I’ve learnt a lot about working in a bit of an ‘alien’ environment. So I thought I’d share some tips on what I’ve learnt from my 12 weeks (and counting…) working from home!
A good desk
I talked about this over on my May Happy Moments – never did I think a desk would make me feel so productive, but it does! Being an ad-hoc work from home’r, I’ve always just worked on the sofa or the kitchen table.
When it looked like we were in this for the long haul, we decided to make one of our rooms into an office and with it came our cool ‘Ikea hack‘ desk – I’m so pleased with it!
Schedule weekly catch up calls
Make sure you still speak with you colleagues regularly, and doing it via zoom/skype/teams, is a great wait to keep on top of the workload…and also the office camaraderie! It also helps you keep on track of what’s going on, as working from home can be a bit of a lonely life sometimes.
Don’t just hang out in your DG
It seems amazing at first, yes – I’m working from home, I can just wear my dressing gown all day. Wrong! It’s not great for productivity and it’s definitely not appropriate for those many zoom calls you get roped in on. I speak from experience.
I’ve found the happy balance for me is joggers, t-shirts and loungewear, so I was chuffed when I found the folks over at trendy but affordable Femme Luxe invited me to pick a few items to spruce myself up during my lockdown days!
A routine that works for you
Working from home during the coronavirus chaos, has naturally seemed to open up the way for flexible working. Having the kids at home hasn’t been easy but it has meant that we’ve adapted to a different way of working.
I make myself available during the day remotely picking up emails and calls on my phone and then when bedtime comes – I tend to work from 8pm-midnight. That is not recommended as I am sure burn out will come along soon, but it’s working for now!
It can be quite hard to keep motivation when you don’t have colleagues asking where this and that is, or where work may be a little slower than usual. It’s time to pull out the To Do list! Make a bullet list each morning of what you want to get achieved that day and tick off as you go along.
Of course, things will pop up along the way – emails and calls that weren’t planned, but try to keep to a schedule where you can. I also discovered Office Monster who are an online stationery store, meaning the stationery geek in me has been well satisfied with quick deliveries turning up to my door!
If possible, an office [to shut out the chaos & mess outside the door]
If space allows, do make the most of changing a room into an office. We had our now office set up as a spare bedroom, but when we thought about it – we don’t really ever have any guests that sleep over – or if we do, they’re very few and far between. It was just not worth sacrificing space for auntie Barbara that might come and stay over one night in three years.
It’s working well for us now as it means when we’re in the ‘office’ the kids know it’s work time and they don’t come in – and equally when I’m not working, I’m not tempted to just pick up my laptop and have a browse as it’s now stationed at my snazzy desk!
When you’re working at home, you miss people popping to the loo or doing the hourly tea round, you miss the avid lunch-goers popping out the office door for their Tesco meal deals at bang on midday – so time can literally run away with you.
It’s important to schedule breaks in to give your body a stretch and your eyes a rest from the screen. Make time to get up and do little bits around the house, and then when the weather allows make sure you get out into the fresh air for a stride too!