Coronavirus has reached the UK. As the disease continues to spread, the government will migrate from containment to delay. And part of the official coronavirus response will be encouraging businesses to let people work from home. So how do you adapt to working from your living room rather than the office?
The good news is you won’t have to get up quite so early when your commute is on ice. But you do need to get up and treat the day like you’re going to be around people. Don’t just roll over and open your laptop, only to find you’re still staring blankly at it at midday. You need to get out, get some air and some exercise.
1. Create a suitable work space
A dedicated space to work in is essential. Find a seat by the window for light and air. Maintain a degree of organisation and don’t let your work take over if you share your space with others – you need to maintain domestic harmony!
2. Communication and technology
Check with your IT guy to make sure you can still access all your work stuff at home. If you handle sensitive info you might be asked to organise VPN access and update passwords, anti-virus software etc. Stay in touch with colleagues with Slack, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. Schedule in a virtual daily meeting if you think it’ll be useful.
Where possible, use headsets or headphones with a mic – and use the mute button so it doesn’t transmit the sound of your dog barking / coffee maker gurgling / phone ringing. Just remember to unmute when you need to pipe up yourself.
There are plenty of distractions at home, and it can be easy to lose focus. Ah, the temptation to have a quick power nap. But if you can frontload the bitty and complex tasks in the morning you’ll feel good about your achievements, and it should help you power through the afternoon.
While you’re getting used to working from home, be realistic about what you can achieve and don’t try and overdo it.
4. Structuring your day
When you’re at home on your tod you can very easily work away for long, ceaseless periods. Work in short spurts by emulating your usual working day In the office. All those micro-breaks add up – meetings, tea and lunch breaks. Regular breaks will actually help you maintain your concentration levels. Go stand in the garden and say hello to the birds.
5. Taking breaks and getting out
Remember, if you’ve been asked to WFH you don’t have anything to prove. Try to use your gained commute time to exercise. Following guidance on social distancing, but do try to get out and get a change of scene and refresh your mind. Skype is not a substitute for leaving the house.
6. Managing distractions
Don’t let your dishwasher interrupt your flow. Write your domestic chores down and schedule them in to your breaks throughout the day, or just nail them before you settle down to work.
The same goes for any form of entertainment – don’t let Netflix creep in, even in your lunch break. It’s important to give yourself a break from a screen.
However you want to ride out your Working From Home experience, ANNA wishes you a healthy and productive period. Now keep washing your hands!
About the author
Tess O’Leary is a freelance copywriter and cultural strategist, who is also in the midst of launching a couple of new products - Ore and Hexe. She studied architecture, which was painfully slow, so upped the tempo by migrating to digital design, romping through marketing and communications to reach a happy place in writing, research and product development.Read more of Tess's writing