Working From Home

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Working From Home

Working From Home

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By Mayfield UK, Thursday 2nd April 2020

Working from home: A brief survival guide

Don’t worry. We’re not going to mention it.

This blog isn’t about it, it’s about home-working. Granted, you’re almost certainly working from home because of it, but hey...   

We’ve been in lockdown for over a week now, and, let’s be honest, we’re probably going to remain there for a while longer. This would be a good time to learn some efficient home-working habits.

Here’s our handy guide to staying sane and remaining productive while working from home.

1. Keep in touch with your colleagues.

Anyone who has worked from home knows the importance of maintaining a constant line of communication with the office.

Good communication is vital, now more than ever. And not just with your line managers. Make a point of keeping in touch with your colleagues. Talk. And not just about work.     

Find out how your colleagues are adjusting, how their kids are coping, what the wait time on their favourtie supermarket online delivery slot is (seven months, last we checked…) anything to help them feel like they’re being kept in the loop. Frequent reminders that your colleagues exist, and are depending on you will boost your own morale too (or at the very least help you maintain focus).

But don’t go nuts. And be warned: an unceasing stream of motivational memes is likely to irritate your colleagues (fun fact: The government abandoned the Keep Calm and Carry On campaign after just a few weeks. The public found them patronising.)

And a quick note about online meetings:

Preparing for a Zoom meeting involves more than just ensuring that the gargantuan mountain of loo roll you now live with has been moved out of shot. Try not to check your phone, wax your ears or look bored while online. And above all, stay where you are, especially if you’re Zoom'ing via smartphone. You don’t want to end up the star of a viral video ‘Idiot doesn’t realise everyone can see him’ as you inadvertently film yourself sneaking off for a crafty loo-break.


2. Set up a work space

And we mean a proper workspace.

Your sofa is comfy. Your bed is comfier still. Neither is a workspace.

Sofas are designed for slouching in – Don’t get us wrong: slouching’s great – we can’t wait to have a nice long slouch later.

But can you imagine reclining in your office chair with a glass of red after a hard day of auditing the company files? No, so what makes you think your sofa could double as an office chair? And make sure you have a desk (or something like a desk) in front of you. 

3. Try your hardest to follow your office routine. Including breaks.

Here’s the key to successful home working: try to follow your office routine as closely as possible.

(Some recommend dressing for the office – shoes, cufflinks, the whole shebang. Whatever, there’s no need to go nuts. Treat working from home like one long casual Friday. But think ‘smart-casual’, not ‘curry-stained-t-shirt-and-month-old-tracksuit-bottoms-casual’.)

If you start your day at the office by checking emails, then start your day at home by checking emails.

And this is the important bit: Schedule breaks. Office life has a natural rhythm - people come and go at certain hours, and instinctively your routine will mirror theirs - you’re less likely to feel guilty about taking a ten minute break if the guy opposite you is eating an egg and cress sandwich while browsing Football365. Sitting alone in your spare bedroom, you may find it more difficult to keep track of time.

But ultimately:

Cut yourself a little slack (within reason). You’re at home, and likely to be there for a while… Make the best of a bad situation. Be imaginative with your home comforts - prepare something nice (a cake, a pot of tea) during your lunch hour, or play some Minecraft with your kids.

Set targets for the working day, but don’t beat yourself up if distractions (your kids/Netflix/the fact that the world is ending and we’ll soon be living in a Mad Max-esque hellscape) get the better of you.

How are you finding working from home?