So, home based workers of the UK, how have you found the first fortnight of doing your job from your kitchen/bedroom/garage? We’re now entering week three, with the McConnells’ team doing what they do best; designing, managing, writing and crafting omnichannel media campaigns…from their own four walls.
For the 1.5 million people who already perform their occupations without having to leave the house, the past two weeks may have been – from a work-logistics point of view at least – similar to any other fortnight.
However for those new to the home office style of working (especially when you don’t have a home office), it can take a little getting used to.
Hopefully for those doing what they do from home for the foreseeable future, the new regime is starting to bed-in. If the adapted routine could still benefit from a little fine tweaking, here are five ‘points in the right direction’ on how to structure a work-day at home to help get the most out of it:
1. Get up. Get dressed. Get on.
It’s psychologically advantageous to get up and get ready for the day, much as you would if you were commuting to work. The temptation to stay in pyjamas from morn-til-eve may be strong, but can hinder your mental ability to get into ‘work mode’ as opposed to ‘sleep/rest mode’. Whilst perhaps a suit is going a little full-hog, dressing to limit the impact of video call embarrassment is worth considering. Once your work-day is over, return to the comfies.
2. Try to keep a routine
It’s recommended that, if you’re employed by a company, you should keep to the same working hours your employer sets; however realistically, this can be difficult with children in the house who need support with home schooling. Tips such as going to bed at a reasonable hour, agreeing times when you’ll be available to answer questions or assist with tasks, and tidying the allocated space (should you be fortunate enough to have one) in the home where you work at the end of the day are supposed to help. However you may have to accept that you’ll need to work before everyone wakes up in the house, and again once everyone is occupied in the evening.
3. Get that hour of exercise
Who would have thought just a few weeks ago, that going out for a bout of fresh air and a leg stretch every day would be considered a treat? In these unsettling times, for many it is. If you’re not having to self-isolate, air your mind as well as your limbs – whilst staying two metres apart from any other people you may encounter.
4. Enjoy a bit of social
When you’re used to working with people all day, you can suddenly feel detached when you don’t have the daily company of your colleagues.
So consider phoning your work friends for a quick work catch-up, rather than solely relying on email and messaging. You can get the work elements covered as you benefit from the psychological and mentally stimulating advantages of a real conversation. At McConnells, we’re making sure that we video-conference as a group each day at the same time, with the wonders of modern tech enabling us to remain connected.
5. Take regular breaks
It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up and move around, just as you would if you were at work. If your house is busy with other people, (and if some of those people have home schooling requirements), it may work better for you to take several short breaks (to blast through questions and instruction) rather than one main lunch break. If not, walk round the block, clean the toilet, wash your hands again, etc…etc…
In this unprecedented time, working from home means we’re doing our bit to help combat Coronavirus through maintaining social distancing and acting in accordance with the nation’s directions.
Few of us will forget this episode in our lives. Tragically, it will come with the worst sense of loss for many – the gravitas of which we can never underestimate. With the members of our workforce on the frontline – working not from home – but right in the field, we will hopefully come through this difficult period as effectively and quickly as we possibly can.
We’re enormously grateful to everyone who can’t work at home, because they’re working to help us.