The very post I’m about to share was written by our much loved and missed colleague Lisa who’s off doing very fancy things with interiors these days. I was going to completely rewrite a post on working from home to suit the current climate. But to be honest, almost every single thing Lisa had to say is spot on, even today when millions of workers all around the UK are faced with working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The one caveat I will add is that this post doesn’t tackle the issues of having to juggle working from home with children who are off school and without dedicated childcare in place. A very stark reality in a lot of our homes. I’ll chat with the team about how we’re all adapting and coping with this, then we can report back any tips or takeaways we have. That said, I still stand by every tip that Lisa has outlined below. I’ve added a few notes in on occasion which you’ll see in italics.
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.
To avoid frustration at having too long a list, write the ONE thing that you absolutely must get done. Then a couple of things that come next in the line of priority and then any other tasks that can follow on afterward. That way, if you can just get one thing done, you know it had better be that one important thing.
3. Use Google Hangouts.
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 comes 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.
Even with our current ‘Stay At Home’ instructions from the government, it’s important to not just get up from your desk and stretch your legs, but to get some fresh air. Have a cuppa in your back garden, or even on your front doorstep. Try and soak up some of that spring sunshine.
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!).
For those of you who have been instructed to work from home, how are you finding it?
Have you got any tips to share with the rest of us?