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24 March 2020

Top tips for working from home

Top tips for working from home

Working from home is a concept we’re all familiar with - but how many of us do it on a regular basis? Chances are, at the moment you’ll also find yourself doing it with someone else and/or having to take on the role of educator or carer.

The key to doing it well...? There’s no magic formula but here's some top tips from our team to get you started!

Getting on with business

Putting on your business hat can be tricky when you’re at home and your usual routine grinds to a halt – but it can also help you really focus on tasks and work through those items that have moved off the ‘to-do’ list to the ‘if-only-I-had-time-list’.

  • Do some exercise before starting work… a 10 minute abs blast, a socially distanced run or walk, or a few sun salutations, perhaps. Without the usual pre-work routine, this will give you the chance to wake up and get ready for the day ahead.
  • Don’t stay in your pjs! Wear comfortable ‘work’ clothes for ‘office’ hours – you might even want to wear smartest office clothes to get your mind in the zone.
  • Set up a work space, whether that’s re-purposing the breakfast bar, dining table or spare room, replicating your desk will help you stay in the zone.
  • Make sure you have the kit to work safely, efficiently and to maintain a good posture – talk to your line manager or consider how you can adapt your furniture.
  • Emails can be difficult to manage when everyone is working from home, setting up online communities through platforms such as Skype, MS Teams, Slack ore Zoom can help to replicate the office environment… maybe even those after work socials!
  • Where possible, use work calls as opportunities to move – get up and walk around your home, go outside to the garden.
  • If you’re not usually desk-based, working from home can be an interesting adjustment. Accept that change can take time and talk to your team about how you’re feeling.

Work – life balance

With things changing on a daily basis, and concerns about friends and family, it can be easy to get overwhelmed or distracted. In those moments, it’s healthy to take a break from work to check-in with people, share how you’re feeling and re-focus your mind.

  • Make a hot drink and sit in the garden for 10 minutes to soak up some rays! Applies to balconies, communal spaces, window seats. Seek out the nearest sunny spot to enjoy some fresh air when you can… enjoy the view, sounds of nature and some fresh air. Claim this spot before you start your working day and schedule regular breaks.
  • If you usually plan your lunches, maintain this routine… working from home can result in extra, unnecessary snacking!
  • Schedule a lunch break with a friend and add it to your calendar. While you can’t physically be together, by scheduling your lunch at the same time you make sure you’re both taking a break. Go for a walk and call each other, or video call while you prepare a meal! This can also be a good chance to catch up with people you don’t get to as often as you’d like.
  • Take time to sort the laundry, make a shopping list or keep your life-admin up to date. You’ll feel more organised.
  • Are you an early bird or a night owl? Find out when you’re at your most productive and focus your efforts then. Make sure your team know what hours you’re working don’t feel the need to work or respond to emails if others are working when you’re not.

Working from home with others

Housemates, partners, family members or friends who have decided to isolate together… whatever your circumstances, establishing an ‘office’ etiquette can only be a good thing.

                                                                             

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Set some small, achievable goals for the day so you do something together. Something that breaks the routine and gives you something common to work on… making lunch, cleaning the home, playing a game of cards. Something to help keep spirits high and a harmonious working-living space.

Working from home with children…? Don’t sweat it!

The mantra ‘happy child, happy home’ was never truer than right now!

  • It’s important to stay calm, try your best and keep communicating - be kind and try and help others wherever/however you can, we’ll all get through this together!
  • If possible, agree a shift pattern with your partner – one covers the childcare while the other works for a couple of hours, then swap!
  • Work through each other’s calendar for the day or the week ahead to ‘book in’ when the other needs to be working at specific times.
  • Don’t put pressure on yourself to be an educator! Home schooling or home learning? Playing games, picking up some life skills, and burning off some energy will help keep everyone busy and fulfilled. Free time is also important, and probably when you might get a chance to check some emails or make a work call.
  • Work when you can work, be honest with your team about your commitments that day and keep your diary as up to date as possible.

Whatever works best for you, it’s important to prioritise your physical and mental wellbeing and to be honest with your team or manager about how you’re feeling.

The Dorset Mind website has lots of excellent wellbeing advice, including a checklist of things to make sure you’re ready for a few weeks at home.

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