When I decided to start my own PR agency 12 years ago, the space that was “my office” was a corner of the family dining room with a desk behind a screen for “privacy”.
It was, at the time, sufficient, but I knew it couldn’t be a long term solution. We moved shortly after and I then upgraded the space to a former bar area. (Translation: another corner of a dining room, but slightly larger).
The new space felt more like a “space” and I was determined to make it work and I did, with thanks to my parents. But there were distractions and it wasn’t until I purchased my own place and had a dedicated room to finally close the door on, at the end of the day.
Working from home in whatever space you have can have its challenges beyond the “space” you’ve allocated.
Here I’m sharing my tips, so if you’re required to self-quarantine, you’ll be able to use my experience and lessons for your benefit.
- The above anecdote should prove that space is very important. If you have room to dedicate to work, then do this! Even if it is a corner of the dining room with a screen (IKEA has this screen that may do the trick!)
- Set up your space appropriately so you’re not slouching over your laptop, make sure the lighting is good and you’re not getting too comfortable, if your only option is working from the lounge. More tips here
- Use the time you’d normally commute to read, catch-up on news, exercise (if you’re well enough!) catch up on personal emails. Be productive with this time.
- Start at your regular time, just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should slack off. Show your employer how productive working from home can be!
- Dress comfortably but appropriately. I can’t stress this enough on my “at home” days, I still dress my top or bottom half, so if on the odd chance I’m called to a meeting, all I have to do is change into a nice blouse or get out my jeans into a corporate pair of trousers.
- If you’re allocated a lunch break (which you should be!) make sure you take it. Do some yoga if that’s your thing, a crossword, again use your time well. Also, don’t become too sedentary, it’s easy to sit and type and get caught in an email vortex and not move for hours on end. Set your alarm to remind you to move (most smart watches do this!)
7. If you have kids or pets at home you may need to call on some help from family or the dog walker to keep them away for a couple of hours while you get your work done, or if you have to, screen time for the kids can be a good bargaining tool.
8. Check with your employer about any expenses you may incur as a result of working from home (think Internet usage, notebooks, printing etc).
9. Keep in contact with your office colleagues – you may want to have “virtual Friday night drinks” via Skype or FaceTime remember it doesn’t have to be all work and no play.
10. Finally, enjoy working from home, the ability to dive into the cookie jar without judgement, sure the “at home” coffee may not be as good as your local barista, but think of the money you’re saving!