Suddenly the whole country has to work from home, and many parents are home schooling their kids too. So, how do we manage it? I’ve worked from home for ten years from my ‘shedquarters’ and it’s the simple things that can make all the difference. We asked some established homeworkers and freelancers for their top tips!
Have a routine. When you work from home, get outside every day, to walk or run or do a workout in the garden.
Connect with others. There are loads of great communities online for those who work at home. I run a free Facebook group called Cracking Content where lots of experts share information on content, PR and running an online business.
Get rid of distractions. It’s really easy to get distracted by email and social media when you work at home. Set two times a day to check email and if you have a task to do turn off all notifications and put your phone on airplane mode!
Have a Structure. Sticking to a routine will make life run more smoothly says Online Business Manager & Virtual Assistant, Kirsty Holden “Have a structure and don’t forget about your own self care! Make that the first thing you include in your schedule because you can’t look after other people if you don’t look after yourself.”
Get dressed. Don’t stay in your PJs, stylist List Talbot says,“Get dressed as if you’re going to work! This will make you feel in work mode.”
Don’t forget to take a break says Melanie Perry from Poppy Perry Media. “Schedule in breaks and have a defined start and stop time. If you have kids at home, structure their day too – slots for schoolwork, playtime, snack/mealtimes. You can work at times when they are working. Be laser focused and you’ll be more productive in a smaller space of time. If you have younger children you’ll need to adjust your hours and work early in the morning (before the kids wake up) or evening when they are in bed.” Taking breaks is a sentiment echoed by Nutritionist Jenny Tschiesche.
Have a defined work space. Digital marketing specialist, Jodie Humphries says, “Make sure your working area is comfortable long term – use a proper desk and chair, not just your laptop on the sofa. Invest in a new pair of slippers- you’ll wear them much more than shoes! I also like working with the radio on quietly in the background which helps me feel connected to the outside world. I also make myself go to the loo upstairs in our loft so I get more exercise running up and down the stairs!”
Remain positive. Online marketing specialist Naomi Gilmour says, “Surround yourself with happy stuff and create yourself an area to work boundaries are super important when you are working from home! I have some mindset Reframing tools which may be helpful here: https://www.naomigilmour.com/mindset-reframing-tools/ and I have lots of free resources in how to transition your business online on my online marketing website.”
Make sure you plan. Bettina Siddiqi says, “Have a timetable of some kind if you have children – do some homeschooling, there are so many things you can download for children to learn, go outside even if it’s in the garden or a short walk, work in between whilst children are on a break, maybe even work in the evening. Do some kind of crafts with them to try and be creative and think out of the box. It’s also a good time to build relationships on LinkedIn.”
Take time off. It’s vital you take time for you and your family while you work from home. Nutritionist Evie Whitehead says, “I take Mondays off to prepare for my clients for the week ahead to avoid eating into my weekends with the family.”
Have a do not disturb sign! Victoria Leigh from Tors & Co says, “make sure other members of the house know you are working. Put a DO NOT DISTURB sign up on your door when you are doing important calls/tasks and make SURE everyone knows in the house what this means! Unless it is a life or death situation… no one is to open that DOOR!”
Establish structure. Louise Goss from the Homework Magazine says, “I have so many tips to offer! But right now, I’d say one of the most important things is to establish is a good structure for your day, especially if you’re working from home with other people in the house. You need to communicate and understand each other’s needs and timetables so that you can work together and get a routine in place that works for everybody.”
Other great tips were not to forget to buy the wine from Lisa Rees, the website wonder woman. Ruby O’Hara says “you need to be flexible and learn fast, adopt to clients needs and love yourself and respect your time.” Carole Eveson has a separate task list for each client. Livi Parkins says, “Think about ALL your ‘coworkers’! Pets aren’t used to having people around all day” – read her post here.
It is a unique time to be working from home, sticking to a flexible routine, keeping a positive mindset and networking online should keep you relatively sane. Let us know how you are finding it in the comments below.