There can be opportunities in working from home (WFH). You no longer have the 2 hour a day commute. You can make a healthy lunch. You can be more flexible and creative with time among others. It is however easy to see WFH as a negative and find yourself spiralling into poor habits due to a lack of routine. I find the below work well for me.
- Alarm Reset - 15 minutes later than usual. It might not sound like much but each morning you awake feeling you’ve won
- Eat breakfast - this now has variety, opportunity for eggs, fruit, filter coffee etc as opposed to the commuter breakfast of coffee and a Twix from the kiosk at the station
- Exercise - WFH you lose some of the incidental movement in going to and being at work. This needs to be redressed to avoid becoming sedentary. I have started, a morning run in fair weather, You Tube yoga, or a walk to shop for bread and milk
- Dress - A quick shower and DRESS. I always remember I am going to work, it’s different from the weekend or a holiday, it’s just that I am doing it at home. Danger Mouse pyjamas are not the best video conferencing attire……….so I’ve been told
- Arrange your work space - Take the time to plan the environment you work in. Flipping open the laptop and slouching on the couch in front of Good Morning Britain on mute is unlikely to be the most productive approach. If possible commandeer a little corner of the house that is quiet, has good light, plenty power points and a decent WiFi signal. You’ll start to associate this space with productive work and feel comfortable there
- Don’t sit near the fridge - This might only be me but I eat if the opportunity arises. I am the guy in the meme who stocked up at the supermarket for 2 weeks home working on Sunday and was back in Asda Monday afternoon as I fancied a Twix. It’s boredom, plan your meals and breaks and stick to this. I find a bottle of water on the desk helps
- Plan your day - This is different from being in the office and using standard work as you need to plan breaks, lunches, and contact time. Don’t agree to 8 hours of solid 30-minute meetings it is not sustainable. Work needs to fit with life now, if your kids get in from school at 4.00pm then book that half hour to be with them, get them a snack, find out about their day. Go back to work at 4.30 refreshed and with a quiet again environment
- Plan to talk - Moving from a busy office to solitary working is a huge social jump. Planned engagement is important. Allow a little extra time in these work-based session for colleagues to engage in wellbeing checks and a little gossip!
- Transparency - Don’t be hung up on everyone seeing how hard you work. Nobody wants emails at 11pm or WhatsApp pings at 5am. WFH moves you to a level of autonomy and responsibility that is measured more in output, quality, and completion than the length of time you were in attendance
- Learn to Use the mute button - Conference calls, video calls, are great in principal until you join one where everyone is shouting because the call leaders washing machine is on spin cycle.
These 10 are uniquely my experiences, I’m certain I’ll experience more and things will change along the way.
I’ll finish by reiterating my first thought. View this time as an opportunity. Embrace it. Don’t spend it longing for the way it was yesterday as it may never be that way again. Plan, experiment, explore and return stronger, energised and capable. Stay tuned for more insights as to how my colleagues are dealing with working from home.