Working from home
In light of Covid-19 and the Government’s guidelines, a lot of us are going to find ourselves working from home. I’m not claiming to be an expert in working from home, I don’t think it’s something that can be certified (if it can, let me know, my fridge is looking a little sparse with recent achievements). However, having done it for the last few months, I’ve found there’s certain ways to keep motivated, productive, to be grateful for certain things, and not put a bullet in my head.
Avoiding cabin fever (oh how cliché I hear you say)
You’ve probably seen posts about people overlooking some amazing city skyline, or something along those lines … well if you’re not them, then cabin fever is probably going to happen.
Being isolated in the same environment can drive you up the wall. I find it helps when you move around the rooms in your house if you can. I’ve recently moved from the office space in my bedroom, to my dining room; different environment, and I feel more productive. Next move might be the breakfast bar, or the actual home office (but that seems too obvious).
Another is going for a walk about, this can be around the house; or if you have a pet, take them out for a bit. Permitted you still finish the required work. Nicola use to set an alarm every hour to do that, and I do something not too dissimilar.
One that Nicola mentioned from her home-working days: If you have kids that you need to drop off at nursery/school, treat the drive back home as your commute to “the office”. Knowing her, she probably had some hardcore drum and base playing to get her fired up… or Katie Perry’s Roar. This sounds like quite a good mind-setter, but if you don’t have kids, you’re kind of missing a key ingredient.
Some of you may be a bit lost when it comes to what to work on without knowing what the manager wants from you, and what your colleagues are working on. Like the morning meetings you have at work, still have them. It will help overcoming the gormlessness.
Office environment (generalised)
I reckon the actual office environment is something we take for granted. When your colleague secures a deal, or hits a target, the competitor in you gets fired up. You will be hitting the phones harder, thinking smarter and finding ways to pump those rookie numbers up. We’ve all had a bout of complacency, don’t lie.
Another thing is missing the general camaraderie… not being able to pop your head up and ask your colleague/manager for advice, assistance, or a chuckle. You’ve also most likely seen a few people posting about their working from home video conferences… it’s still work, and the “banter” will be there too. Unless there’s a ‘Karen’ on call.
How clean and tidy, or messy and chaotic your desk apparently comes down to your personality. Whilst I’m the latter, I would like be the former.
I made the decision of getting a new L-shaped desk for more desk space which would have provided me to have a nice tidy layout… instead it’s more space for more clutter; there’s another slight drawback, which I thought I’d be cool with, this being that I went from looking out over the garden with my old desk, to looking up and seeing cream walls (back to the cabin fever). Being able to look at greenery does help, research says so my dear Watson, but it also means containing the day dreaming, or get a desk plant.
Having spoken to a couple of people, they feel more in “work mode” if they are wearing what they would wear in the office, at home. As this one doesn’t affect me, I’m not sure what I can do with this information. But it’s content, so I’m putting it down.
Taking a break will rejuvenate you and keep performance levels up (unless you’re Liverpool returning from winter break). This is an obvious one, just wanted to throw it out there for the Liverpool comment. On to the next one…
This one is easy to abuse. You’re not being watched, so who knows if you have a quick sit down, or flick through social media. It’s simple. Don’t. Don’t fall down the social media rabbit hole. You probably don’t do it at work as most offices have a no phones policy, and I’d imagine they don’t have Netflix on either. That “oh just a quick browse” will turn into a lengthy bit of time.
What it comes down to is being able to work your way, which will hopefully be the most productive way. From choosing what music is playing, what you’re wearing and how you’re set up to name a few. One thing is certain, and that’s when you return from isolation, you’ll have to face accountability. Your boss is going to know if you’ve done well, or you’ve seen this as an opportunity to binge Netflix, and have a mini-break. And if you have slacked, and you see yourself being frogmarched out the door, there are going to be candidates waiting in your place.
But seriously, we are in uncharted waters, and every professional has a different opinion on how severe it’s going to be, what precautions to take etc, stay safe!