Over the last few days, given the continuing development of COVID-19, many businesses in the sector have followed (where possible) the Government’s advice to work from home.
They will have joined those of us that already work from home in adapting to an entirely new environment. The idea is all well and good, but the practicality can often be very different. How are you adjusting? Each person and company will likely find their own way in navigating this change of style. However, there are a few key things to consider.
First and foremost, isolation does not have to be lonely. The digital age has made working from home possible, but it has also given us plenty of tools. One we at LFR use and praise highly is Skype – not just for the video chats, but their IM function, available on all devices. It’s fantastic for that odd chat rather than something being worth picking up the phone about. It’s small conversations and observations that many are likely to miss, but this doesn’t need to be the case. I can personally highly recommend Skype for this and best of all – it’s free!
Next up is structure, time is very different when at home and if you aren’t structured with your day it can either drag (which no-one wants) or run away with you. If working from home in traditional business hours, my recommendation would be stick with the times you were already working… use your commute time to get settled in with a cup of tea and ensure you have everything you need, then go about scheduled work activities.
Make sure you take breaks, you would at work. Whether that’s to brew a tea, put the wash on (just make sure chores don’t take precedence) or better yet, getting some fresh air every now and again. Otherwise, with the evenings still early, you may find cabin fever sets in before an enforced isolation is even here.
It’s also important to make sure you can step away from work at the end of the day. If possible, distance yourself by putting it in a cupboard or different room, more often that not you may find it tricky to shut off. Some have said by listening to drive time radio, they’ve naturally noticed the time of day.
I’ve spoken to a few people who have, especially in this initial week of change, found emails to be slow and it’s potentially been tough to fill a day. If that’s the case, why not make a list of tasks that you have always wanted to do but never had the time? Clear the emails, strategise for marketing once this has all passed, review historic clients or look for educational resources, there are some great free courses you could go on, such as the Google garage workshop, Artsystems Wide Open Print webinars and many more. Why not use this time to enhance your skillset?
It would also be worth recreating your work environment, sitting in silence might be a preference, but if it’s not what you’re used to it’s certainly going to feel strange. Radio for company is always good but try a lower volume than you would normally have at home so that it doesn’t become the key focus. TV is best avoided – I think we all know that, especially with the regularity of news it’s not likely to be of much help.
Whatever works for you, do share your tips on social and with others – you never know what might make the difference.