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Many of us feel in a constant state of change as the world continues to evolve and adapt in response to the ongoing pandemic. With numerous national governments renewing calls to work from home where possible, we thought we’d share an updated version of Amoria Bond’s hints and tips from a long-term homeworker as a timely reminder of some of the things we can and should be doing ensure working from home is a very positive, empowering and productive experience.
Whilst some of us may love the opportunity to work from home, for others, the reality may feel a little overwhelming or isolating, and many still be finding it hard to stay motivated and productive away from the office. Whatever category resonates with you personally, adopting these simple recommendations and practices can really help you. Even for employees who have or are preparing to return to the workplace, reduced capacity and social-distancing mean there are some great nuggets of advice here to help you make it a positive experience.
Designate a suitable place in your home as your workspace. You’re going to be spending the majority of your working day sat here, so make sure it’s light, well ventilated (i.e. in a room with a window), a good temperature, near a power socket, and ideally at a desk or table sat on an upright chair with decent back support. Most of us would normally compartmentalise work and home, so designating a specific place for work is useful to avoid feeling like work has invaded your entire home, and it will also help you stay focused when you are working too. When you log off from work for the day, close down your laptop or desktop, and return your workspace to everyday home life (put your computer and any work notes etc. away in a drawer or bag ready to pick up the next day).
Turn social apps off, or at least silence them during work hours. If you wouldn’t look at something in the office during your typical working day, then don’t be tempted to at home. A glance at social media can quickly drag you in, and you’ve lost an hour or two before you realise - so be disciplined and strict with yourself. Don’t be tempted to put the TV on – even on mute – it WILL distract you, as will talk-radio.
Get up, get washed and get dressed as normal. Sitting in your PJs at a laptop does not drive productivity, and it won’t make you feel good either. Plus it’s highly likely you’re going to be on video-calls, so make sure you present yourself as you would in the office – personal brand matters more than ever right now, so give yourself that extra edge.
It’s common sense that the more focused you are, the more efficiently you’ll be, and anyway it just doesn’t feel right to get to the end of the day without actually producing or achieving anything, so in the long run, you are better off committing to the task in hand than allowing yourself to get distracted by entertainment, online shopping, or even that load of washing! They wait for you when you work in the office so let them wait when you’re work from home too.
Go and get a coffee, make yourself a sandwich, take a walk if you’re not self-isolating and it’s safe for you to do so. If that’s not an option for you, then get regular fresh air by opening a window or standing by an open door if you can. Organise yourself, so you’re fully available when needed or if it’s it’s your turn to cover the phones etc.
Moving can be one of the hardest things to remind yourself to do when you work from home, but it is essential for your body and mind! It can be as simple as standing up whenever you make or take an internal call, or even just setting a reminder to get up and walk around the room once an hour. Try taking some pre-work or lunchtime exercise - suited to your health and fitness levels, of course! There are loads of resources online for home-based exercise, including loads of great free classes from Yoga and Pilates to HiiT on YouTube, or check out Amoria Bond’s employee wellbeing partners OnForm Fitness and Liam Cullen of Blok Fitness for their fantastic online classes.
Even the most tenured and positive advocates of home working admit that it can quickly lead to a sense of isolation or claustrophobia, easy ways to avoid this include;
The setting of boundaries and expectations is crucial if you have a spouse/partner/flatmate/child also at home when you’re working.
Remind those you live with that you are working; otherwise you risk getting completely stressed out and over-stretched trying to be all things to all people at all times… and ultimately both your work and personal life will quickly start to suffer. It might feel harsh to have the door shut, but it does help define a boundary; otherwise, you may find yourself being constantly interrupted.
Distractions can be especially tricky if you have dependents and/or children off school, so take the time to plan and agree together boundaries that work for you professionally within the context of your personal circumstances. There is always a compromise to be found, but if you need to lock yourself into the garden shed to make that deal – do it! 😊
It all comes back to what you want your personal brand to be!
Video platforms have enabled us to continue to have online meetings and 121s, which can really help maintain a sense of connection. Encourage your company and team to use these platforms to host social events too; a simple end of day or week beer, or coffee break over Zoom can be a great way to wind down together with colleagues!
DO NOT FORGET THE POWER OF A PHONE CALL; if you feel your morale or motivation starting to dip, don’t stick on a box set or start scrolling through social media, pick up the phone or even better video-call your manager or a colleague.
Make the most of your saved commute time to develop yourself, listen to that TEDtalk, read a book, make an extra client call. If you are saving money on your weekly commute, do something with it to motivate yourself to stay focused on the positives, maybe saving up for a future holiday, house, car, or why not donate it to a foodbank… the secret to living is giving! Check out Amoria Bond’s Charitable Trust for fundraising inspiration.
It’s business as usual, the only difference is we were doing it from home for a while, so let’s all keep doing what needs to be done. Support each other, keep positive healthy and safe.