There’s nothing in your life that cannot be overcome, or so I was once told.
However, working from home has its moments, doesn’t it?!
A legacy of a post-covid way of life is a literary life from the living room. It’s far removed from an open plan office which I’d work from most days of the week and I still struggle to get to grips with it.
No friendly faces to make a cuppa for, nobody to bounce ideas off and no communal cake in the kitchen to fight over. For many days since the pandemic, it’s a case of me, my laptop and I.
I find myself with my dog and a 24-hour news channel for company in a workspace where nobody can hear me scream.
Nor can they hear my kettle boil, my microwave ping or the cogs turn in my mind as I try to summon up some creativity from a bungalow in Wolverhampton. Some days are definitely better than others.
It’s with this observation in mind that I have penned a ‘working from home’ themed blog, in the hope of helping out when you’re wrestling with the dynamic of coffee cups, corduroy cushions and continual worry that you should be managing your time better when nobody is watching.
After years of working from home and still wrestling with the dynamic, I have noted down five inner-mechanisms that keep me productive when I’m sat with my Lenovo laptop for company:
- A change (of scenery) will do you good
It might be stating the obvious, but a change of scenery can be a godsend when working from home. Whether it’s a hotdesk with a client or a Teams call at the Costa, finding somewhere else to get through the workload can assist in greater levels of productivity.
I’m fortunate enough to work with Bridgestone and their new-look office space is a godsend and a place I can call home once a week or two. It features custom-designed space for flexible working and assists in eking out some inspiration when I need it most.
Equally, working from your living room on one day and your office desk the next is no bad thing in aiding productivity. There’s no pre-defined rules to where you should work from, so go with whatever feels most comfortable on any given day.
2. Structure your day!
Minutes can merge into hours if you don’t apply some structure. I had a friend who would conjure a commute around the residential block for two minutes before parking back on his drive and meaning business. In an amusing turn, he encountered temporary traffic lights along the way and contrived to be late to the very desk he’d just left! But you get my point. Envision how you’d like your day to go and try to stick to a structure where possible. Include ‘walking the dog’ and ‘coffee break’ because it’s important to add these rewards.
Don’t forget you’d be having an hour long lunch break in the ‘olden days’ and you’d regularly be interrupted by colleagues, so don’t berate yourself if you’re not productive for 8hrs solid, as that’s just not realistic.
3. Don’t be hard on yourself
A natural succession from the last point, but I can’t emphasise this one enough. If you’re not conquering worlds and reinventing wheels on one given day, then don’t be hard on yourself and come back better the next. Some days are more productive than others and everyone has a bad day at the office now and then. Working from home is no different and if a certain day is not working out, then there’s no defeat in closing the laptop early and coming back stronger the following morning, making up for lost time.
4. It’s good to talk!
Call this method of communication ‘old school’, but picking up the phone and speaking to contacts isn’t just constructive, but it’s equally restorative. Speaking to a contact puts a spring in your step once you’ve put the phone down. Emails are indispensable, but phone calls are essential. A call or two a day is worth its weight in gold.
5. Cleanliness is next to godliness
It’s one thing to work from home, but quite another to work from a pigsty! Try and keep your house tidy. I don’t want to sound like your nagging mother, so I’ll try and sound like an inspiring influencer instead…
…Cleanliness is godliness in the home and don’t ask me why this is, but I’m more productive and positive when everything is looking neat (even if I haven’t put the iron away in the picture above!)
Failing all of the above, drop me an email on email@example.com if you’re struggling with the WFH dynamic. I’m here to help!