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COVID-19: How to Work from Home
19 March 2020
Are you working from home following the introduction of COVID-19 policies at work, reducing staff exposure and possible infection?
I live in Newcastle and work remotely quite often (see my setup above). Given some of us will be working remotely more frequently than usual I thought I might share some tips I’ve learned over the past year.
- Know your most efficient times of day then block out your diary for project/deep thinking work – for me it’s the morning and between 3-5pm.
- Plan healthy meals and snacks… it's all too tempting to run to the pantry for just one more biscuit.
- Check your desk setup - make sure you are comfortable and check-out here for more detailed information on how to ensure you’re ergonomically setup for working from home.
- Check in regularly with colleagues and your network. Just because you're at home doesn't mean all contact should stop. Be sure to video chat where possible. Connecting with people is so much easier when you can see them. I am forever interrupting people on teleconferences.
- Dress for the job you want. That’s my motto. It’s pretty tempting to be very casual at home, but for me, I feel how I look. I like to make sure I still put some effort to my style even if I’m just at home.
- Get your steps up. At home you miss out on the walk to meeting rooms, kitchen spaces and the transit to and from the office. If possible, go for a morning and evening walk even if it’s just a lap around the block. I find it’s a great way to open and close my working day.
- Schedule breaks and take them. It’s important for you to have a moment away from screens to allow you to recharge for the rest of the day.
- Background noise – I like some gentle music for background noise. The house doesn’t feel so empty. I avoid the TV at all costs, even during my breaks. Ellen and other day-time TV is tempting but before you know it you’ve lost your momentum.
- Social media can be incredibly distracting at the best of times. I try my best to leave it until I have a break unless I’m checking on Ruby socials, of course. Turning off notifications helps too. I can’t bear to see those little red numbers over my apps.
- I’m a bit of a clean-freak (which will come in handy in weeks to come) and it can be tempting to tackle the housework. Just one more load of washing or I’ll just fold this, etc. I put the same boundaries in place as I would if I was going to the office. I try and get it all done in the morning before work hours and then it’s off my mind and I can focus on the rest of the day.
- Finally, I try and find something that gives me a great belly-laugh once a day at least. We’re entering trying times and I love to stay positive. Find a meme, a kitten video or chat with a friend who makes you feel good.