Many of you, and me included, will never have worked from home before. Since the Government’s announcement to stay at home last week and to work from home if you can, a lot of us have been busy setting up our own home offices so we can continue to be there for our clients. All of us home workers will, over the coming weeks, face new challenges in the battle to keep Britain functioning. These challenges range from pets, children and spouses distracting us to the temptation to down tools and watch a Netflix series!
Here are a few tips and advice that I have drawn on this past week to get me through (and there was not even a glass of wine in sight)!
- Get up when you normally would and get dressed! You will feel more professional by actually getting dressed properly. I don’t mean full suit and tie but keeping your pyjamas on will not give you that feeling of actually being at work that you need to remain professional.
- Try to have a dedicated workspace even if it is a small desk in the living room. Having a dedicated work area again helps with that feeling of being at work even if you are not physical there and you will be more productive than balancing your laptop on your knee on the sofa. It will also avoid spillages and accidents with other members of the household!
- Plan your day in advance and stick to your actual work hours as much as you can. This gives you structure and helps you differentiate between work time and relaxation time.
- Prioritise. Now that you may not be able to do everything you used to do in the office, prioritise those tasks that are essential. What is important to your working day? Make lists; ticking priority tasks off when you have completed them will give you an immense feeling of achievement and satisfaction.
- Take short planned breaks including a proper lunch break. I always try to take a break at lunch even when I am in the office if only for 30 minutes to eat and have a walk. The Government are allowing us to leave the house for exercise once a day so take the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. Walking has been scientifically proven to contribute to better mental health and we all need that at the moment!
- If you have children at home who are not going to school, have activities for them scheduled in advance. Involve them in creating their own schedule for the week and incorporate their school work packs into the day that way they are working when you are. If you have a small child who is not school age and as easily entertained and you and your partner/spouse are both working from home, my suggestion would be to take it in turns to keep the child occupied and plan your day around this. That way you both get to work.
- If you don’t have children or any distractions at home, you may have the other problem of feeling lonely. Most of us will have interactions with colleagues in the office and a chance to catch up with gossip and other social topics. Home working is not conducive to this so keep regularly up to date with colleagues over email or the telephone so you don’t feel isolated from the office. You could also have the radio on in the background if you are someone that cannot work in silence.
- Put other distractions like other electronic devices, phones and tablets away. You can reward yourself later in the day by checking your Facebook or Instagram feed.
- When the working day is over, turn off the laptop/desktop PC. Time to relax and enjoy the evening with your family or if you are anything like me, go into ‘self- isolation’ upstairs to get some peace!
Just remember, you are not alone! We are all in this together and we can succeed!
Clare Slatter, Practice Manager, BRR Law