It looks like a lot of us might be working from home for a while (although I was back in the office for one whole day before we were officially told to work from home again.) So how can we make it as pain free as possible?
Read on for my 7 top tips, which I’ve learned while working from home:
1. Create the right space
Whether you have a room, a desk, or half the kitchen table, it’s important to create the right space to work in – and to store your gear if you have to put it away every night. It’ll help get you into the work frame of mind, and save time looking for things you might otherwise spread all over the house. For the first week or so of working full-time from home I roamed between three different spots. But things got much easier once I settled on my spot. As an added bonus it has an excellent background for Zoom calls!
2. Make a list
I may not have the pin board or calendar from the office, but I do have a darn good notebook. I make a to-do list on Monday morning and keep it updated all week. Then I make a note on Friday of things for the following week. I might have Asana for client campaigns and Google sheets for the content schedule, but having every task written in one place is invaluable – and ticking them off one by one is even better.
3. Find your perfect soundtrack
Finally, you don’t have to listen to anyone else’s terrible playlist, or the repetitive radio ads. So what is your perfect soundtrack to the working day? It may sound controversial, but if I’m finding it particularly hard to concentrate on my work, I listen to Harry Potter on Audible, read by Stephen Fry. I’ve listened to the whole series more than once so don’t have to concentrate too hard on it, but it blocks out thoughts better than just listening to music.
Other favourites include BBC 6Music (especially Lauren Laverne’s morning show), a bit of classical music (for really concentrating), and this playlist.
4. Take a break
It can be easy to get stuck in front of a screen if you’re trying to get everything done. Especially if you don’t feel the same routine of a regular lunch break etc. as you would in an office. But you might actually be more productive if you take a break to step outside for a moment, stretch, make a cup of tea, or fill up your water bottle as soon as it’s empty. You could even have a nap at lunchtime – it’s glorious!
5. Keep the snacks you want in reach
The best and worst thing about working from home is that the entire contents of the kitchen are within easy reach. So if you find yourself eating all the wrong things and regretting it later, switch things around so what you want is within easy reach, and what you want to limit is out of your eye line. You might find it easier if healthier snacks are already prepped so you can enjoy them without any effort.
6. Switch off
It can be hard to switch off on time if you’re working where you live, but try to stick to a routine as much as possible. This should include getting outdoors at least once a day to clear your head, get some exercise, and look at something further away than your computer screen!
7. Find ways to vent
Let’s be honest, work of any kind can be infuriating – there’s too much to do (or not enough), too little time, and the clients want everything immediately. So find the right people you can vent to any time you need them, and make sure you’re there when they need it too. I think I’d have lost the plot if I didn’t have a what’s app group to share the daily frustrations with. It makes it much easier to find the funny side too.
8. Think positive
The best things about working from home: No commute, higher quality lunch options, having time for a walk after work, saving money, the peace and quiet!
I’ll work out the best things about working in the office (which includes being near the sea and better coffee shops) when I go back!