Working From Home – The New Normal
You may have been doing some work at home during the lockdown but are you prepared for full time remote working?
Sharing the kitchen or dining room table with the kids or cosying up on the sofa with your laptop balanced on your knee is not conducive to great productivity.
You need to create a designated space where you can focus and get in the zone.
Here are out top tips to help you make the most of the new normal working from home.
Your Home Office
Try to set up a work space with a table and hardback chair where you can set up your ‘office’ without being in the way. You may be able to pick up an ergonomic chair for a lower price as demand for office furniture is reduced. Your back will thank you for this!
Don’t put your desk in front of the window – you will find yourself getting distracted by the birds, the sun, the neighbours…. Similarly, don’t sit with your back to the window – you will appear as a dark, faceless being in video calls. It may be worth investing in a light for video conferencing, you can buy selfie ring light which can also hold your phone – you can clip them anywhere and adjust them to get the best effect, they usually retail between £15-20.
Make sure you have easy access to power points to plug in phone/computer and the internet connectivity is strong. If the wifi signal is poor, you could try to move the router to a more central location in the house or plug in directly through your ethernet connection. Some providers supply boosters or powerline extenders which extend the reach around the house.
Make sure that your computers are protected, install anti virus software and make sure your internet is password protected.
Set up your pens, pads, all those lovely stationery items that we love.
Create a vision board – pop on your goals, inspirational icons, motivational quotes and put it where you can see it whilst you work.
Set Your Goals
Whether you are working for yourself or for your boss, you need to consider the expectations. What do you need to achieve? Make a plan and create a list; Must, Should, Could and remember to eat the blue frog for breakfast.
Keep a note of what you have achieved, it can be easy to forget all that you’ve done.
Do Not Disturb
If you are working from home whilst the family are around, you need to set some ground rules. It is estimated that each time you are distracted from a task at hand, it can take you another 20 minutes to get back to the place you were pre-distraction.
Maybe prepare snacks so that if anyone needs something to eat they can help themselves. It’s hard with small children but the rest of the family can learn the importance of survival whilst you’re working. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean that you are also the maid-of-all-work/chief bottle-washer and referee. It might sound harsh but many women have reported that during lockdown they managed to do 1 hour of work compared to the 3hrs that their male counterpart achieved. Selective hearing can help but some people manage to zone out of family noise better than others!
Set A Routine
It sounds obvious but set your alarm and get up, showered and dressed ready to start the day as you would have done when you went to the office. It’s time to ditch the pyjamas and slippers. You can still keep the loungewear but remember, other people will be checking you out on those online video conference calls.
Keep hydrated and take time out for lunch and breaks away from the screen. The same health and safety rules should apply wherever you are working. You need to rest your eyes, move around and have a change of scene.
At the end of the day, turn off the computer and move away from the desk.
Working from home can be lonely. You might long for some adult conversation. Connect with your Pink Link network and take time to call or video chat with friends and colleagues. Book some online meetings and find out what everyone has been up to. Plan some social distanced walks or visits. You might be helping the other person cope with remote working.
It’s a great time for personal development. There are lots of online webinars and courses, many of which are free. Take some time each week to learn new skills.
One of the best things about working from home is there’s no commuting! No traffic jams, petrol fumes, frustration as you miss the lights or your train is delayed.
Eat your lunch in the garden, bake brownies or prepare the dinner, go for a walk and listen to the birds, listen to podcasts while you work. You can set your own pace, just make sure that you focus on your goals and tasks as well.
Remember, these are unprecedented times. Millions of people are worried about their work, their homes, their health and that of their family and friends. You are allowed to have a wobble, a cry, a moan or a power nap if a wave of exhaustion hits you. However, it’s also important to be positive. Dust yourself off and do some meditation, exercise or look for ways that will help you to rebalance. It’s a fantastic opportunity to focus on your work-life balance and wellbeing which will in turn help your productivity!
Lastly, give yourself a big pat on the back! Ladies, you’re doing a great job.