When I left uni I applied for a job which would’ve entailed working solely from home. My dear auntie tried to persuade me not to go for it: “You’re too young to be spending the whole week on your own in the house. You need human contact, to get out there and see the world!”. I nodded my head diligently but I had set my heart on applying for the position. I didn’t get the job, and was so disappointed about it, but looking back I can see that my auntie’s words were wise, and I doubt that the twenty-year-old-me would have flourished working from home in a full time job.
But now I’m in my thirties, in a long-term relationship, with two kids and it’s a different kettle of fish. Working from home/working flexibly is almost essential, and more and more employers seem to be offering the option to work some of the week at home rather than in the office.
I don’t miss the having-to-wear-tights or the rush hour crawl/bus journey with dubious characters that comes with working in an office. What I do miss is being able to nip into Topshop at lunchtime, or to Pret to grab a chicken avocado sandwich, and I really miss my Tuesday Stylist magazine fix. (Yes I know you can read it online, but it’s just not the same). But what I miss the most is the banter that comes with working in an office. (Not a fan of the word banter but in this context it’s totes appropes). As such number three of the following tips is an important one for me.
1. Get dressed.
I know, I know. Working in your pjs and slippers is one of the perks of working from home, right? Well no, not always. If I’m in a creative/efficiency slump it always helps if I get my ass into the shower and get dressed for the day. Much less embarrassing when Mr Hermes parcel delivery guy comes to the door too.
2. Make a to do list.
How satisfying is it when you can tick stuff off your list? Mine is an extremely cute specialised To Do List notepad from Kikki K which even has a section for recording your water intake. (I’ve popped some paper pretty into the Shop The Post below, as well as a wire storage wall grid which claims to be a bathroom storage product but would also look ace in an office).
3. Use Google Hangouts.
As my auntie said, we need human contact! We are pack animals and social interaction is so important. I find myself in a bit of a zombie daze by 5pm if I’ve gone the majority of the day without speaking to real life people. This is where technology such as Google Hangouts come in. Just a couple of clicks and your colleagues are there on the screen in front of you.
4. Make your working from home space appealing.
This is one that all you fellow interiors lovers will appreciate. You’re going to be more productive if your workspace is somewhere you enjoy spending time. And if your other half asks why you have spent £549 on the dream desk you can blame me.
5. Work to music if needs be/Block out that noise.
When I was seventeen and studying for my A Levels I found I worked more effectively if I had the radio on in the background. However these days I need complete silence to be able to concentrate. Which makes it interesting when Lyra is off on her school hols and my mum-in-law is looking after her downstairs. My initial tactic of wearing earmuffs to block out the noise was not fruitful (I was desperate), but when I had the brainwave of moving my desk temporarily into a different room it worked wonders as I could no longer hear the noise of everyone downstairs.
6. If it’s sunny get out there.
That vitamin d is important, peeps! So if you’ve got the benefit of being able to work flexibly, take half an hour to soak up that sun.
7. Feng Shui your office.
I know Feng Shui hasn’t been trendy for a good few years now but a lot of its principles strike a chord with me. For example, the rules about a good ‘flow’ of energy inside the home. Previously, my desk was located just to the right of the entrance inside our spare room. I had my back to the window, and the desk faced a blank wall and blocked the ‘flow’ into the room. It annoyed me so much that one Saturday I spent all morning heaving around the furniture and now the desk is now sitting pretty on the far wall, and the entrance to the room is unimpeded. I swear I am all the more productive for it.
8. Use Slack.
For those who have never heard of Slack, it’s the workplace equivalent of MSN Messenger. (Ahh, MSN Messenger, I miss those days). Slack is brilliant for banter (sorry, there it is again), knocking around ideas and sharing files. I also love the motivational little quips that it fires at you when you log in like, ‘Remember to get up and stretch once in a while’, and ‘Alright world, time to take you on!’
9. Stock up on snacks.
It is so tempting to go raiding the kitchen cupboards. I try and keep a bowlful of nuts/chopped up fruit/something vaguely healthy on my desk so I’m not tempted to eat my weight in bread.
10. Lock Your Kids Out…
…So they don’t disturb you/interrupt your important BBC interview. (I’m joking!).
Would you have shared my auntie’s viewpoint?
Do you have the benefit of being able to work from home? Do you have any other tips?