Updated: Mar 23
During these hard & crazy times, we have been asked to stay at home when/where possible. Come today, many of the schools are closing, bars & restaurants are struggling to keep open. So if you have been asked to work from home by your employer, what are the best ways to do it?
I have worked from home for the majority of my career as an Interior Designer, when I first started with the company back in London, I did have an office down in Shoreditch, however this was soon replaced with me working from home. To me - I don't really know any different. Now one thing, I don't have any children, so I'm not sure how some of your are going to juggle this but I am more than willing to throw in some suggestions!
A while ago, I met & spoke with a Instagram friend of mine who's profession, is a mindset coach & Work Sanctuary expert. That is literally what we all need right now isn't it. Her name is Becky Stanton and if you aren't following her, I would highly recommend you do (Yes take me to her page!) The moto here, is that you need to create a work sanctuary in order to maximise your business success.
"My top tip is to create a work sanctuary. A space that is 100% aligned with you and your work, free from distraction and designed to make you feel high vibe... The rest is habits & rituals to support this." - Becky Stanton
Now I am fully aware we may not all have the space to have a "specific" home office to create your perfect sanctuary, or free from distractions. My own home office right now, is full of materials for a job which has been postponed due to the virus, the mess, is driving me insane as I am a neat freak. I keep finding myself re-arranging the mess every day or two, but there isn't much I can do about that, not at this current time.
Below are some tips on how to try and create, a natural working from home environment, to help keep the distractions down to a minimum and hopefully keep everyone from going a little insane, during these difficult time.
1) Try to remove/minimise the distractions (i.e kids) -
It would be best if you could set a schedule that is going to work for the whole family. For the family to have activities at set times throughout the day, to keep them satisfied. Or tag teaming with your partner, if that is possible. Setting set times, when the children are going to be with you learning or baking (depends if you're trying to keep the school structure), then times when they have "down time" with a movie for example. This should give you some time to focus your attention on work. Have you ever found, the more busier you are, the more productive you are? This is because you are in the swing! So if you are juggling children, but have to complete tasks for work - it could work in your favour. You learn how to manage your time VERY efficiently.
2) Keep to your normal routine -
As I have mentioned about, structure. This really is the underlying key, get up at your normal time, get the kids up at their normal time and start/finish the day as normal. Get dressed! Do not work in your pj's! If you usually go to the gym on a Tuesday morning, then try to keep to that, either a home workout (can get the kids to join in too), or go for a walk outside.
3) It is ok not to work the whole 9-5 -
This is very different for a lot of people, and it is different from an office. However when you are at work, you aren't working every single minute. You go and make a coffee/tea, you talk with your co-workers, you're on the phone (even if it is work calls). What I am getting at here, is that you don't have to feel guilty not being at your computer every second of the day. If you have the freedom of flexible working hours, it may be beneficial for you to work later (once the children are in bed for example).
4) Continue to eat healthy & exercise -
It is very easy to become a couch potato while working from home, you can go hours without eating or moving from your desk (this is more aimed at people without children). This goes without saying - this isn't good! Try to either do some mild exercise from home, support a local personal trainer as plenty of these are now setting up online classes, or get out in the fresh air for at least 30mins each day. If you have phone calls to make, do them on your walk!
This is rather hard to type regarding the situation in the food shops, but try and eat healthy, don't just grab a few biscuits with your coffee! You need all the vitamins from fruit & veg more than ever right now!
5) Transfer your commute time to intentional rest time -
If you usually have a long commute into work (anything from 30mins +), convert this into rest/you time. It is a very worrying time for everyone at the moment, we all need a little bit of extra loving and self care to get us through this. Take the time to mediate, read a book or story time, arts & crafts (I personally find painting so good for stress relief). This can also create a natural way of knowing the work day is either starting or ending, as your brain recognises the train/drive commute as the same.
6) The "To-Do" List -
This shouldn't feel like a daunting task in itself, your to-do list for each day should only have three (yes three!) main priority tasks on it. Don't set yourself up to fail by having a to-do list with ten or more items on, will you seriously get them all done? If you can, because they are small tasks (like each email to send is a new task), then great. Although if you aren't superwomen, if you have a long list and don't complete it, you will feel like you have let yourself down. Whereas, setting three, when you complete them you will feel much more empowered & won't feel guilty about watching that movie with the kids. Roman wasn't built in a day.
7) Don't work in your bedroom or living room (if possible) -
Again in these circumstances, these might not be possible for everyone but if you can, try not to work in your bedroom (especially bedroom) or living room. If you work from your bedroom, your brain will start to associate that room with work and you may struggle to relax or even sleep come nighttime. The living room is full of distractions, you might think working from home is a time to binge watch the new season on Netflix, but it isn't, it might be fine to indulge in this vice once, but it will catch up to you if you’re not careful.
8) Stay off social media apps -
During this time, most of us will want to be knowing the latest update but it will likely be doing us more harm than good. For one, we can end up scrolling endlessly and the time just disappears into a black hole! Another reason being, constantly keeping up to date with the latest, isn't exactly keeping us positive! I will link a reason to this at the bottom.
Top tip for this - remove them from your browser shortcuts or quick access on your phone!
9) Minimise notifications -
This comes under minimising distractions really, but, turn off all of the notifications that you can on your mobile. Myself for example, I don't have any turned on, its like an old mobile phone that only *pings* if someone is ringing me or a text. My boyfriend actually hides his in his draw while at work (out of sight, out of mind). This becomes very effective in also staying off social media apps. While you're working, everything you need should be via the laptop/computer.
10) Pick a definitive finishing time each day -
It can become very easy to say "I just finish this" or "this is almost done"... and then it is 10pm! I used to do it all the time when I started Alice Molloy Interiors, you will end up burning out. You need rest time and it will enable you to wind-down for the evening. What ever you haven't managed to get done that day, I am sure will be able to wait until the next.
As promised I mentioned in No:8 keeping up-to-date constantly with the news, may not be doing you any good. It isn't exactly positive vibes currently and is making even the most upbeat people, feel anxious. Now I listen to a PodCast called "Unf*ck your brain" by Kara Loewentheil, and she has posted one about the "Pandemic Panic", for anyone who does feel anxious or panicked by what is going on, I highly recommend giving this a listen!
I do hope these have or may help you over the next few days/weeks. Please do follow my own instagram - Alice Molloy Interiors, as I am offering online design services throughout all of this period.
Until next time