Working from home isn’t easy. Whether you’re a parent, carer, or just plain ill-suited to getting things done without supervision, the below advice should help you stay on track. Since everyone is different, this may not be the definitive ‘how to work from home’ list but it’s certainly what helped us to write this! We hope you can find some tips that will help you form your own working from home strategy.
Dress for work
Okay, so this may not apply to all professions. We don’t expect you to throw on your most expensive suit to sit in your dining room . In fact, suit-wearers need not take this advice too literally – all we mean, really, is change out of your pyjamas. Let’s take casual Friday as the target dress-code. If you’re not at least showering and throwing on clean T-shirt and trousers before you start work, you’ll never be in the correct mindset to get anything done. Your body may be travelling only a fraction of the distance that you used to, but your brain still needs to make the same mental voyage as before. By dressing right, you’re helping it boot up.
When thinking about how to work from home, this one is obvious, is it not? Well, actually no. Perhaps you’re sending just as many messages as you were before, but now’s the time to go the extra mile. If you can, send a message to your colleagues to let them know when you’re starting and ending your workday. No one can walk past your desk to check you’re working anymore, so don’t assume they’ll know that you are. Same goes for workplace chit-chat too. It may not come as organically on screen, but the need for those silly pieces of trivia or inside-jokes won’t have dissipated just because you’re no longer chatting face to face.
Keep a physical To Do list
This may seem a little old-hat – after all, there exists a plethora of time tracking apps to do this kind of thing for you – but musicians will know that sometimes your muscles remember things that your brain may not. ‘Muscle memory’ is the common term and it shouldn’t be underestimated. Even if you know you’ll never look at your notes again, the physical act of writing down your day may just be what saves you from forgetting to file that all-important report.
Separate your work & leisure space
Not everyone will have the luxury of space necessary to do this, but if you do, it’s a must. Even if you take to working in your kitchen, it’s infinitely better than staying in bed or working on the sofa on which you’ll stay when 5pm hits. We must all do whatever we can at the moment to give our days some structure, so something as simple as walking into another room should signify a change of headspace. If you’re lucky enough to have your own study or office, leave it when your work is done. Oh, and keep it tidy. You’ll thank us eventually.
Leaving your desk is essential, but not everyone around the world is as accustomed to pressing pause in the same way. Spaniards have siesta. The French have been known to take a long lunch and, luckily, we Brits are masters of the tea break. It may not be as decadent as a nap but now is the time to put your training to good use, young pupil, and savour every second. Joking aside, the essential here is to move around. It’s not enough to open another tab and watch half an episode of your favourite show if you’re not stretching, at the very least.
Take advantage of the perks
Finally, let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room – national lockdown aside, haven’t the majority of us always fantasised about how to work from home? Contrary to how it feels right now, no one will resent you for staying sane and enjoying yourself. Your home is the place you’ve worked hard to make yours so now is the time to appreciate it. Maybe you’ll finally dent that whopper of a book; maybe your waffle iron will finally be put to the test; or perhaps you’ll have full control of the office playlist for the first time. Whatever it may be, just remember to have fun. Because we’ve all seen The Shining. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.