As I sit to write this, the news and information being shared is literally being updated on the hour every hour. Of course, I’m talking about the Corona Virus COVID-19 and the way in which we are all changing the way we are living, working and interacting, realigning our daily routines to the new normal. As of today, no non-essential travel or even movement outside is advised – no visiting restaurants, bars, pubs theatres, cinemas etc. and I’m just waiting for all three of my children’s schools to announce their closure.
For so many of you who’ve never had to work from home before, this is going to be your new norm for the foreseeable future and I know it’ll take some adjusting to. I’ve been working from home for over a decade, as a PR consultant, freelance beauty and lifestyle writer and editor and more recently, as a content creator and influencer. Always juggling it with family life (three kids, two cats and a husband) and an extended family that all lives close by. So I thought it might be helpful to jot down a few of the ways to make this new norm easier on you and those around you 🙂 (And I’d love you to add any of your tips in the comments below too).
- First and foremost, stick to your normal working routine as much as possible. If your average working day was 9am to 5pm, aim for something close to that from home too, obviously allowing some flexibility for your different surroundings. You’ll find you’ll be able to focus much better if you have a time frame in which to complete the day’s work tasks (and you want to make sure you don’t allow work to infiltrate your evenings).
- When it comes to routines, try to change as little as possible under the circumstances. Get up at your usual time, get dressed and ready for the day – if it helps you, even wear your normal working wardrobe. Whatever you do, don’t stay in your PJs, however tempting that may be. You’d be amazed at just how much it can affect your mindset.
- If you used to exercise in the mornings, use the time you would have spent travelling to work as your exercise time – in your garden, in your front room or even in your kitchen – you can get a full and challenging workout without going to the gym – LEAVE ME A COMMENT IF YOU WANT TO SEE MY AT-HOME WORKOUT ROUTINES. But above all, don’t relegate regular movement and exercise to the back of your prority list – it’s just as important when you’re working from home, if not even more so.
- Create a dedicated work space, minimising distractions if you can. You don’t need a separate office or study space – even the corner of a room or the end of the dining table will do. Don’t think you can be effective working from the sofa – you’ll be kidding yourself. And do yourself a favour – keep the TV switched off until you finish for the day.
- If you normally work in a team scenario, make sure to book in a regular, daily team call to check in with everyone else. It’ll help get you organised, motivated and lessen the impact of not seeing everyone as usual. Also, if possible, schedule these as team video calls – yet another reason you’ll need to get out of PJs!
- Make sure to take breaks throughout the day, just as you would if you were at the office. Getting up and away from your desk to get regular refills of water, tea, coffee or whatever else you might need will keep you productive. It’s all too easy when you’re working alone to completely lose track of time, get to the end of the day and suddenly realise you’ve not hydrated or even had lunch!
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can multi-task. Schedule separate time for household chores – remember, you’ll be saving travel time so perhaps plan your household chores for the time you would be travelling home from work.
ABOVE ALL – plan, plan plan! Set out your goals, identify your prorities, list them out and plan your week, day and tasks – don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll all just happen on it’s own. It won’t.
Hoping and wishing you and your loved ones stay safe, well and healthy through these uncertain times… we WILL get through this. Look after yourself and one another, helping those who can’t help themselves.