So we've all been hearing more about Coronavirus as it arrives here in the UK and measures that can be taken to prevent it spreading further. One of the suggested measures is to have staff work from home. This might be new to a lot of people who are used to having routine and designated 'ways of working' for their company. Some of us self-employed people have become quite the experts at homeworking and I thought I'd share some of my own top tips for remaining productive and making the most of what can be an extremely enjoyable way to get stuff done from the comfort of your own home.
1. Dedicate a space for work
Don't go thinking that you and your sofa are going to be enjoying each other's company for too long! Having a desk space you can sit at, with work related items stored for easy access will not only keep your house a bit tidier, it also helps you feel more 'at work' if you have a specific place to focus and get stuck in. When you have kids running around it can also be a designated, 'kid free zone' so that they know not to go wild with their Crayola's all over your latest report draft. You can (and definitely should) still have your favourite stationery out on display of course!
I picked up this small desk to have in my living room for times when I need to work from home. Nice shelf for storage too. I got mine from Argos last year and it's now available at Habitat.
2. Manage your time
One of the main problems with working from home can be the distractions that arise from being in your home environment. Suddenly instead of escaping to your office you are sitting surrounded by the washing that needs done, the dishes that need washed, noticing that the carpet could do with a hoover. It is so easy to start these tasks and find you've lost most of your day. I find it's best to just set aside a small chunk of time at the start of the day to do a bit of the housework so you can settle and get on with work. Flexibility is the name of the game here, dishes driving you mad? just get them done and then get back to your workspace with a clear head. Make sure you set a timer and watch the clock to make sure it doesn't eat into the rest of your working day. Clearing out the wardrobe can wait until the weekend. Oh and how gorgeous are these hour glass timers from John Lewis!
3. Take a breather
When you have all you need to hand and you don't have interruptions from colleagues, meetings and other office distractions you might find that you actually find it hard to STOP working. Keeping your head stuck to screens won't do your productivity much good so make sure you take regular breaks just as you would at the office, make sure you get a good lunch (bonus, you can make whatever you like) and take yourself outside for some fresh air if you get a chance (and haven't been quarantined!) Visiting and supporting your local coffee shop is a great way to get out in your own neighbourhood and see what you've been missing out on while you've been at the office!
I love a trip down to Good Times Roll for a tasty brunch and cuppa.
4. Set Boundaries for others
Your pal wants to stop by 'seen as you're at home', your Mum thinks you can take her for lunch 'because you're not at work', your kid wants to barge in right in the middle of a conference call because they reckon it's 'time for ice cream', but you have a ton of research to get tidied up for delivery and they just. don't. get it.
You've got to stand up for yourself here and make sure you set a clear limit around when you are 'at work' and when you are 'available'. It can be hard at first but the sooner you lay the ground rules the less chance you'll end up losing productive time and having to play catch up later (when you'd rather be getting your feet up and having a nice time with your sofa!)
5. Enjoy it!
I have spent many years working from home in my graphic design days and with Bonnie Bling, it has never stopped me achieving my goals or restricted my productivity infact sometimes it's quite the opposite. I do now have a studio along the road where I go to work most of the time but I also have a chronic illness that means I can't always be there so I work between them both. I enjoy spending some of my work time at home, I find if I am designing new work it can be a more nurturing environment to be creative in and who doesn't love being able to stay in their jammies all day from time to time!
And can they all be these awesome pyjamas from All That is Braw please?