There is working from home and then there is working from home in lockdown – possibly homeschooling children. While we offer plenty of suggestions and ideas at The Homeworker, I am often asked for my ‘top tips’ and so I have come up with three top work from home tips to help you through lockdown.
These are what I consider three key things to help you achieve as much as you can while also protecting your sanity! It was pretty hard to come up with just three but I have chosen three things that can help you regardless of the space of you have and the type of work you do.
Work from home rituals and routines
Getting organised and into a good routine takes away a lot of the stress that comes from work, life (and right now, a lockdown and homeschooling). A day that starts well generally continues well. In fact, I’d say a productive day starts the night before.
Get your clothes out, your to-do list written, and your workspace tidy in the evening. When you wake up, you can start your day without wasting time hunting for the missing pen and wondering which task you have to get on with. You will feel more focused when you do start work, even if you’re having to do it between online maths lessons or while delighting in the ‘artwork’ your child is creating.
If you can get up before the kids, I find this really helps with feeling you’re starting the day on your terms. If it gives you a chance to have a workout or do something for yourself, I find you’re much less stressed by all the other demands that pull on your time.
Ending the day well
If you are a working parent, I feel ending the day well for everybody is really important, even if the day has been fraught and chaotic. There is not much a cuddle and a cup of hot chocolate won’t solve plus lots of acknowledgement for how hard everybody (including yourself) is working.
I often suggest, as a work from home tip, saving a certain task to do at the end of each day that signals you are finished: whether it’s an inbox tidy up or a final ten-minute zoom call or phone call with your team. Some people like to change clothes, or have an evening ‘commute’ such as a quick walk outside to help shift the energy and mind from work and back to home.
For some brilliant expert tips from clinical psychologist, Stephanie Fitzgerald, read the article: Flick The Switch in volume 2 of our print edition. She looks at ways to transition between work life and home life successfully.
Moves more moves
This is really important, especially because we no longer have the multitude of reasons to get up from our desks when we are home. No photocopier runs, no colleagues to pop and chat to, no commute, or even a walk down the corridor to the toilet.
Try to move at least every hour. You can incorporate stretches or even mini workout breaks such as squats or dancing! (Nobody can see you after all!)
If you don’t have the perfect ergonomic set up, this helps prevent all the aches and pains associated with poor posture and being hunched over a laptop for hours.
Communicate more and better
This is a huge topic which I could expand on massively, in fact, we had a whole issue dedicated to communication in issue 3.
We also spoke to mindset coach Ekaterina Ward in our Facebook Group about reframing how you see your day to avoid those relationship tensions.
There are three key people you need to consider when you think about your communication: your family, your colleagues or clients, and yourself.
For a harmonious family life, we need to make sure we are communicating regularly with our household members: our partners, our children, or housemates.
This means letting them know when you are and are not available. It might mean a sign on the door for older children, it might mean having a short evening or morning meeting to discuss what the day is going to look like.
Getting the children involved as much as possible can help make them feel important as part of the decision-making process.
Educator and positive discipline expert, Joy Marchese, wrote a fantastic article on how to embrace parenting with working from home in issue 9, The Joy Issue.
If you’re a remote worker, make sure you are also in touch regularly with your colleagues and your boss. This isn’t just for social interaction, but to make sure you are comfortable reaching out for help and can be transparent about any challenges you might be facing.
For excellent tips and a strategy to help you with mental health struggles when working remotely, read the article by positive psychologist HR expert, Heather Beech in our latest complete guide to working from home.