Working from home is a whole different experience to being based in an office or ‘conventional workplace.’ Don’t feel that you need to ‘shoehorn’ your normal working life into your new, home-work-life.
For many, this is the first time working from home… During a crisis isn’t probably the best time to try new things, but hey, we don’t have a choice folks! It may take a couple of weeks to get into a new routine of working from home, with the bedroom to living room/spare room/office commute being a much shorter one than you’re used to!
The biggest challenge for most who’re now converting to a whole new working routine is to learn, you don’t have to keep the same routines as before! You don’t need to sit in front of a computer for 8 straight hours with mini breaks to keep your performance high… You don’t even need to keep to the same timetable as normal.
It is more important than ever to analyse your workload and do what you can, when you can… Spread the load out and take breaks, more often and for longer periods of time! You are surrounded by family members, different views, smells, sounds and feelings, expecting yourself to work the normal amount is simply, ludicrous!
Here’s my day…
1. 7am wake up… I’m still choosing to wake up with an alarm, however, it’s not so stressful or rushed as if I was heading into the office. I get up, head for a shower and get dressed in my own time. I often spend a few moments with my four-month-old baby as he normally wakes up around the time I get back from the shower, those morning smiles are the best!
2. Breakfast, it’s a pretty important meal apparently… I now have time to make something a little more exciting than a bowl of cereal each day, sit down with some comedy on Channel 4 and (with this beautiful sun we’ve been having,) open the window to listen to the bird song and the amazingly quiet main road outside! Don’t start the day on a bad note with the news, if need be, that can come later!
3. Set my self up for the day… I’ve recently moved away from a fixed desk position of working and have based myself on the sofa with one of those mini (bedside) type tables with my laptop plugged into my main monitor… So much more comfortable than sitting at the desk in the corner of a room that’s simply not made to be an office workspace. Plus, working from here gives me more of an inclusion into the family and it’s a much less stressful place to work from. Best of all, the window out to the garden is right next to me with plenty of fresh, warm air!
4. Breaks… I normally work from half 8 till around 11am before having my first break, getting up from my working position and walking around the house for a bit, maybe even putting a load of washing on, having a quick snack and a drink but also chatting to my family around me. Simply taking yourself away from the actual work for a few moments and mixing it with homelife chores or relaxing can really help to refresh the mind. The office staffroom simply doesn’t allow this sort of disconnection. I’ll then work for an hour or so before lunch. Again, set your work aside, catch up with the rest of the world, (Facebook…) watch some news if you need to and have a good lunch.
5. Afternoon… So, we’re now, well rested and full on good food, time to get back to work for a couple of hours. Catching up on the ‘to do’ list and getting some of those jobs ticked off really does feel good! I, personally use Trello https://trello.com/ it really helps me to keep up with the jobs I need to complete. Once you’ve knocked a few things off your to do list and done the main core jobs of the day, guess what, TAKE A BREAK! Play with your family for a while and chill!
6. Last few jobs… Just before dinner, you’re able to fit in a couple more smaller jobs, emails, messages to clients and so on, maybe a cheeky social media post on your business pages, why not?
7. Lastly… Turn your computer off and CHILL in front of the tv, go for an evening walk, have dinner maybe even a pudding. Of course, REPEAT this every ‘workday’ and you’ll have a restful lock down, but you’ll also build a pretty good work-life balance at the same time.
It really is that simple, not getting to caught up in your work that you’re missing the time at home with loved ones, not missing the time to relax and recharge those batteries… Make the most of working from home and please see it as a silver lining rather than ‘Something you’ve got to do.’
What else can you do?
There’s lots happening in the world of business, every single day… Maybe even more so than normal… Here’s some ideas for you.
1. Virtual networking / Meetings… Who says you can’t still have face to face meetings or network mornings with your business buddies? Log onto a video networking platform and enjoy, lots of local networking groups are running their networking online now.
2. Learn a new skill or trade? With so many people at home, many online training providers are offering great discounts to their courses, some are even giving away freebies, take this chance to learn a new skill and broaden your horizons.
3. Get on top of the paperwork… Now is a perfect time to sort that mountain of paperwork that you’ve been putting off for months. Get it sorted, get up to date then keep on top of it when things go back to normal.
4. Update your business… Take this chance to have a rebrand or simply a rethink of how your business operates. Seen how your business can actually save cash by allowing employees to work from home? Why not implement some of the ‘short term’ changes into your everyday running of the business.
The most important thing of all to realise during these difficult times, change is good and keep searching for those silver linings in life!