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I hope your all staying safe and doing what’s necessary to keep you, and that business of yours, healthy.

You may recall that way back in the olden times of Dec 2018 we said, “The home alone freelancing life has many benefits; however, it’s not without its challenges.” Fast-forward 15 months and the restrictions of the current Covid-19 situation mean huge numbers of us now spending the entire day at home*. With this at the forefront of everyone’s mind, now seems the perfect time to revisit and rethink the challenges of working from home. Here are our top 10 tips for working from home in what are far from “business as usual” circumstances.

*You’re allowed out (just). Full guidance here.

Tip 1 – Get dressed.

Tempting as it may be to work in your favourite pyjamas, it’s probably not be the best choice for a productive working day. Getting ready for work is important, we all know how you dress can affect the way you feel. “Enclothed cognition” suggests that dressing changes the thought processes. I know you want to find out more, so check out this video.

Tip 2 – Get into a routine.

There’s plenty of opportunities for chaos when work life and home life overlap. Consider creating a routine. Maybe try something like this:

  • Step away from the screen (after you’ve finished reading this blog, clearly).
  • Get a bit of paper.
  • Divide your day/week up into family, work, rest, exercise, meals, hobbies, etc.
  • Stick bit of paper somewhere everyone can see it.

Tip 3 – Stay connected.

Avoid radio silence; keep in touch with your people. Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime are all options that most of us are familiar with or have become familiar with in the last few days.

Instead of a long email thread, maybe a Zoom, Skype or Facetime call would be more efficient and help overcome the feelings of experiencing too little face to face contact.

Can you set up a daily “coffee” catch up online? Has that event you were planning to go to now become a Zoom meeting?

Try to do some work calls first thing. This means that each working day will start with you instantly engaging with life outside of the home.

Tip 4 – Make a designated space for work.

Just like getting dressed, see above, dedicating work to a defined area, such as a sectioned-off part of your home, can help build that all important productive work environment and creates a mental commute out of the bedroom.

Tip 5 – Create five minutes of work to non-work transition time.

Try having a period of transition between work time and non-work time. Even just 5 minutes to decompress and recalibrate your mindset from work life to home life can help.

Tip 6 – Take breaks.

It can be difficult to step away from the screen, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take breaks. This includes lunch and breaks to top up with water. Breaks also give you time to attend to some of the things that are distractions during periods of work; for example, breaks are great for chores like loading the washing machine.

Tip 7 – Get some fresh air.

This has taken on new meaning; you might not be able to go outside, but even opening a window lets the outside in.

Tip 8 – Make sure your business has an off switch.

Remember to shut off when the day is over. Making yourself available all hours of the day should be the exception*, not the rule. Ignore this and it will become an expectation, and you can then say goodbye to any work-life balance.

Let everyone know your working hours. That way, you set the expectation that you’re not available around the clock.

*Ok, we’re living in exceptional times, but you get the idea. If you ignore this, expect to be overworked.

Tip 9 – Plan for what you can.

We’re all getting used to different ways of working. To help, try making a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. Don’t spend time seeking out those “perfect” options, chances are, they don’t exist. Include whatever comes to mind that could help you get by. After you’ve evaluated your options, draw up a plan of action. You can download a simple action plan here.

Tip 10 – Have perspective.

We are entering a phase unlike anything we’ve had to deal with before; however, this will end. Avoiding obsessing over the news or Twitter conspiracy theories does lower the anxiety levels and helps maintain concentration. Focus on little things that you enjoy and, even if it’s small stuff, make plans for the future.

Oh…. three bonus tips:

  1. Stay
  2. At
  3. Home

Author Bio

Neil Leslie is a Business Growth Manager (BGM) for the Building Legacies programme and specialises in supporting clients who make, create, and innovate.

Neil provides the following areas of support to his Building Legacies clients who want to turn creative capital into actual capital: business planning that turns complex ideas into relatable, fundable stories; financial planning using words, pictures, and numbers; process planning, aligning efficiency with ambition.