Working at home is a new challenge that many of us are facing as we work our way through this unprecedented situation. Many of us will have done the odd day WFH, but not ever had to deal with days and weeks of a totally new way of working. A few tips here to help you along the way, some you may have heard before but give it a read, you never know you mind find a little nugget of gold that adds to the info you already have on this much debated and discussed subject!
Make yourself a schedule for the next day.
I find it feels a lot better knowing that when I start work the next morning I have a list of things I need to do; project work, regular daily tasks and calls to make. So at the end of each day I review what I have done that day and then rewrite my ‘To Do’ list for the following day.
If you make your list in the morning you may find it more difficult to be motivated as you have to think about everything at a time when you are probably less likely to be as sharp (unless you are a morning person of course!)
Start your day like any other work day
You have probably heard it over and over….don’t stay in your PJs, have a shower/wash, get dressed, have your breakfast, walk the dog etc…then you will be all set for the day.
This sets up psychologically for your working day and it also means you won’t get caught out by a last minute invite to a video conference call. Although the detail isn’t quite the same as being face-to-face the quality really isn’t that bad, even on the free options!
You may even want to think about changing out of the clothes you have been working in all day, so you set yourself some parameters of when work starts and finishes.
If you can have a room or area that you can claim for the day. If you don’t have an office, it can be as simple as setting yourself up in a room on a temporary basis each day, for example if you need to use the dining table, make sure that when you come to the end of your day, you clear away all your work things so it looks like you were never even there! Think clean desk policy. This really helps you to keep a clear divide between your work and your home life.
The other thing that is crucial is mentally having work space. This should be created in your normal working hours, and it shouldn’t extend beyond that time. Make sure you take your lunch break time, get out and do that one session of exercise a day while you can (full lockdown like they have in Italy will mean we can’t even do that). You will need to switch off at the end of the day, you don’t have the train journey or drive home to unwind, so make sure you draw a line and then take half an hour to relax before cooking dinner, doing homework with the children or tackling other chores.
Zoom isn’t just for work
No doubt you are one of the many, like myself who have discovered the joys of Zoom. It’s a great tool for keeping face to face contact with colleagues and helps to keep that human interface going. It can be quite isolating if you just work all day and have no contact with your colleagues. A phone call is great, but it’s not quite the same as another human being!
You can use Zoom for social meets too….think about it, you no longer have the option to go to your canteen or break out area and chat with friends and colleagues, so why not create a virtual lunch break on video conference or have those informal team meetings using this option. You could even go that step further and have those after works drinks in the pub on Zoom…if you can’t go to the pub, bring it to you!
On that note I will leave you to get on with your day. Stay safe & well and I look forward to seeing you all in the flesh when we come out the other side!