At the start of 2020, Account Manager Lauren Connell never expected to be making Zoom calls from a desk in her dining room. After finding the ideal balance between work and home life, she has some tips for those who are settling into a new routine working from home.
As the New Year came in last January, we could never have imagined that the year would pan out the way that it has. Workplaces have been forced to change the way they operate and adapt to the new ‘normal’. Going from the 9-5, five day weeks to your entire workspace being moved to your dining room is not an easy transition.
Some of us are still only just coming out of furlough and adjusting to the surroundings of working from our homes. It can be a difficult transition to make when you’re so used to commuting, working in an office, and face to face meetings.
But how are you supposed to stay productive and organised at home during one of the biggest economical and social changes that any of us have ever, or will ever experience? Here are a couple of simple suggestions that will go a long way towards making the transition from the sofa to your desk that much easier.
The first (and arguably most important) thing about staying productive and organised at home is to ensure that you have a designated working space. Whether it’s your dining room table or a desk in your spare room, ensuring that you have a separate space for work that is different to where you would generally unwind in the evening is pivotal to being in the ‘work’ mindset.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general well being. You can follow it by examining how the energy flows through a particular room or house. Practices of feng shui include simplifying and clearing your clutter, and creating a safe, healthy and comfortable environment. This should apply to the room or area you work from too.
Try to keep your working area as tidy and clutter-free as possible. In the words of Marie Condo, “having a tidy home can make you think more clearly to focus on your work and get more accomplished”. As Marie would say, your workplace should spark joy.
Planning your day
Now that you have your feng shui nailed, the next step towards productivity is to plan your day. Create a task list on Trello or Asana and add deadlines to help you focus on exactly what you need to do that day. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a huge tasklist.
If you need to, block out time in your diary to complete specific tasks which will then help to keep you on track of your to-do list. This is essential to help you focus and get things done – especially with the ever increasing number of Zoom calls, Teams calls, text messages, phone calls or WhatsApp messages (the list really could go on!).
Take time for yourself
It’s easy when you are working from home to keep your laptop open until the late evening and work through your lunch. You don’t have the two hour daily commute anymore so you can get so much more done in the same space of time that you would have been in the office. However, you have to ensure that you are taking regular breaks, take your lunch break to go out on a walk or to sit in the garden. This outdoor time should be used to replace the period you’d have normally spent taking in fresh air on your commute. You should also try and get outdoors before you start work to give your body and mind the best possible start to the day. Make sure you are getting out of your seat and moving around like you would do in the office. It might even help you to refocus your mind on your work or spur on a burst of creativity.
Overworking yourself generally reduces productivity (there’s plenty of research to prove it!), so you need to take the time to relax and unwind. The world as we know it has changed immensely to what it looked like at the beginning of the year. It’s important for us to reflect on this to understand what we need to do in order to grow and adapt in the future. Not just personally but for the wellbeing of our colleagues, friends, family and workplaces.