29 Jul Working From Home For Dummies: how to make the best of a good situation
You wake up early. Let’s say 7am. You make yourself breakfast in tandem with a perfectly brewed cuppa. You catch up on the news. You’re well informed. You do your stretches – maybe even yoga. Finally you have your shower, you brush your teeth and you get dressed. There’s not even a commute to undertake! It’s barely 9am and you’re ready to start your working day. You’ve nailed it, you go getter you.
Except this is all a lie.
You wake up late because, hey, you’re already at work, right? Let’s say 8.30am. You’re in no rush to leave the house so breakfast can wait. You could catch up on the latest news, but then Everybody Loves Raymond is on… You’re not leaving the house so why bother showering or getting dressed? You don’t have anyone to impress. It’s 9am and working is the last thing you want to do.
Anybody who has worked from home – even on an intermittent basis – is familiar with scenario number 2. The freedom acquired by working from your humble abode is great at first. You can do things on your own terms. You can pop to the shops when you have a spare 15 minutes. You don’t have to prepare your lunch earlier in the morning. You can even have the radio or telly on in the background if you want. You’re sticking it to the man. But there’s one thing working from home doesn’t give you – structure.
Yes, you can have all the freedom in the world, but without a proper routine it turns out too much autonomy isn’t so great after all. As someone who has worked from home I will attempt to guide you through how not to turn this dream scenario into a working nightmare.
Firstly, try to get into a pre-meditated routine. I say pre-meditated as you can have bad routines (see scenario number 2). Behave as if you’re heading into the office. Wake up with plenty of time to allow yourself to get accustomed and organise the new day ahead. There’s nothing worse than waking up knowing the first thing you have to do is get straight down to it.
Another important factor is environment. Most people won’t get into the right working mindset if they’re sitting on their couch in front of the telly. It is somewhere you should go to chill out and relax, not sit and attempt to produce you finest accomplishments. Blurring the lines here isn’t great for your free time either, as there are no physical boundaries between work and leisure. Try and create an office space away from potential distractions if possible. This can be as simple as setting up your laptop on a desk. Just don’t sit on the bloody sofa! Working from bed is a big no-no because that’s also somewhere to unwind, not work.
Give yourself set times for breaks. This seems fairly obvious, but when you’re working from home, where the lines are less defined, it can be difficult. Think KitKat. And when I’m talking of breaks I don’t mean sit and catch up on your favourite YouTubers. Go outside. Smell the fresh air. Grab some Vitamin D. Get away from that screen. Which leads nicely to my next pointer.
Talk to people. Don’t get me wrong, I love my own personal space. We all do. But when the majority of your week consists of staring at a screen and limiting your human interaction to the level of Castaway, it does strange things to you (Wilson!). When you’re taking a break and going for a walk outside why not phone your mum or dad? Or your best pal? Anyone! Just don’t isolate yourself completely from the rest of society. Even interacting with the person scanning your food at the shops is better than nothing. An inanimate object with a painted face just won’t do.
For my final bit of advice I’m going to go slightly against what I suggested about structure – what am I like? Structure is great, but so too is variety! (Oh the irony!) If you’re not feeling it one day at home why not move to a local cafe for a few hours? This can really help you keep focused if you’re having an off day. It also helps the cabin fever issue and invites less distractions than your home would. Sometimes it’s just stimulating to be in a new environment.
So in summation:
- Have a healthy routine
- Wake up early
- Make a dedicated workspace
- Have regular breaks
- Don’t spend these breaks staring at a screen
- Go outside and smell the flowers
- Don’t isolate yourself (don’t use the self scan)
- Change it up a little every now and then
And there you have it. You can now successfully work from home. Now go get that bread!