Lessons from a Year of Working from Home

What a difference a week makes. The UK (and much of the rest of the world) has hit pause on life as we work to find a cure for Covid-19.

Amongst many other changes, this has meant many of us have found ourselves working in isolation away from our team, perhaps for the first time. As businesses prepare to go remote, I reflect on what I learnt from previously spending a year working from home and how to make the most out of these very unusual times.  So, if you are lucky enough to be able to continue your work from home, here are a few tips for making the most out of your day.

Get dressed – I repeat: Get. Dressed.

Yes, it is very tempting to remain in your PJs when working through your morning emails, I have done this more times than I would like to admit – however, if you’re looking to have a productive day this is not the way to start it. Have a shower, brush your teeth, grab your morning coffee and start the day how you mean to go on.

Routine is everything

Starting and finishing the day right will give you a sense of clocking on and clocking off, if that is what you are used to, so ensure you’re starting and finishing at a similar time each day just as you would normally in the office. If you are used to a more flexible working style, then focus on specifying where work takes place, so it doesn’t wander too much into your family life. Downtime is as important as uptime. Write a list, create a schedule and make sure you’re taking those breaks.

Never turn on the TV unless it’s something REALLY boring

I get you, you want the company, a bit of background noise and before you know it, you’re completely engrossed in the wonder that is daytime TV. Resist the YouTube rabbit hole at all costs!

Move around

Even in isolation there are lots of ways to stay active and while remaining safe. Going for a morning run is a great way to start your day or there are lots of online work outs available on YouTube to get your blood pumping during your lunch break. Just remember to turn YouTube off.

Create a space

No, not your bed… if you don’t have a desk, improvise- use the dining room table or create a corner of the room specifically for work. When you’re working from home, work time and home time can very quickly become one and the same so try and create as much separation as you can to allow you to focus.

Keep in Touch

The beauty of modern technology is that even though you can’t physically be in the same room as your team, there are many applications that will give you the next best thing. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, WhatsApp, Skype; make sure you’re regularly keeping in touch, not only to keep you sane but also to keep you on track.

Make the most of it

Having the country essentially shut down due to a global pandemic isn’t exactly an ideal situation. However, there’s always a silver lining and trust me, there are advantages to working from home.

‘Dead time’ – especially the time that you take commuting to work – can now be spent doing something or fulfilling. Walking the kids to school, reading that book that’s been gathering dust, baking a cake, wandering around the garden; life can become much more fulfilling by not constantly rushing from A to B.
It looks like working from home is going to be the new reality for the foreseeable future, so embrace the make-up free life, wear that ugly jumper with pride and remember- we’re all in this together!

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