Updated: May 7, 2020
Like many of the UK’s population, the AD team are now working from home and following the government’s strict guidelines on social distancing.
However, for every person who is merrily working away in a zen-like state of bliss, there could be ten more who feel sadly cast adrift without the ‘buzz’ of an office environment and the intermittent arguments over whose brew round it is.
Do not despair, we have picked up some practical tips over the past few weeks, and we want to share them, to help get you through this challenging transition.
Routine, Routine, Routine
Enjoy the extra 30 minutes of sleep your new (and seriously short) commute gives you, BUT still set your alarm and don’t be tempted to snooze it. Waking up as if it’s a lazy Sunday morning every day can mean your mind never fully moves into full force weekday mode.
Get dressed. It’s true, the chances of someone catching you in your PJs are slim, but what about those unexpected ‘video conferences’? If full on office attire feels a little extreme, consider dressing like a newsreader (all business up top, and whatever goes below desk-level). No one will ever know!
Maintain office hours. Don’t be tempted to stretch those flexible working hours. Working a set schedule every day, means you will be more efficient, not risk burning out, and take regular breaks.
Unlike idle hands, well-deserved breaks are not the devil’s playground. Don’t feel guilty. Breaks are vital. Make sure that you listen to your mind and body and step away from the desk when needed. We’re not advocating hopping into bed for a snooze. Don’t even be tempted to curl up on the sofa for 40 winks. But do rest, the quality of your work will thank you for it.
Have a lunch break. I repeat, HAVE A LUNCH BREAK! Don’t be tempted to whizz through the day thinking you’ll eat ‘later’. Take an hour, leave your desk, and eat. Take advantage of the ability to cook something simple from scratch instead of those limp deli sandwiches you usually have. Eat something that makes you smile and fuels your brain, and your afternoon will be much more enjoyable.
The Gift of Time
Love or loathe the working from home experience, you will most likely find that you will have the gift of extra time in your day. With no chance of someone nabbing you on the way back from the printer to make them a brew, and no calls to impromptu huddles, time suddenly expands. Use it. Do some exercise. Stretch. Bust a few yoga moves. Have a chat with the cat. Or even just grab a few minutes of fresh air and meditation before re-entering the work-zone.
At home, it can be easy to revel a little too much in the laid-back style of remote working life. So, start as you mean to go on and get organised. Create a workstation for yourself. Get a pen pot. Get a plant. A calendar. Make your home desk look like your work desk. It will serve as a subliminal reminder you’re at work.
Try to keep an invisible perimeter around your workspace. In doing so you’ll help separate home from work, even when work is at home. Tell those you live with about the perimeter. Pretend it has one of those invisible shock fences around it.
It’s a cliché, but a tidy desk does go a long way to a tidy mind. And, above all, it avoids that awkward silence when a colleague calls unexpectedly and you scrabble around for your notebook.
It’s all about Communication
Stay in touch with your colleagues. Even if you’re having the time of your life working independently, make time to have a catch up with your colleagues. They may not be loving remote life quite as much as you – try and send your best positive working from home vibes down the phone / email / Skype to them.
Don’t forget to check in each day with your workmates and use your catch-up time to organise and share the work. Don’t forget they’re there just because you can’t see them.
Make the most of technology. Technology has provided us with a zillion ways to communicate with both colleagues and customers. In the office it can be easy to forget that not everyone communicates the same way, and rely overly on telephone and email. In 2020, many are moving away from these forms of communication in their personal lives and they may prefer the same approach in their work lives. Use the home working environment to trigger the conversation and explore new ways to interact with each other.
Use WhatsApp, FaceTime, Zoom – the list is endless. Sometimes taking a conversation away from a phone or email, can change the dynamic. Suddenly the atmosphere is less formal, people open up more. It can be a game-changer. But of course, remember, not everyone is comfortable with it. And that’s ok. Know your audience.
We would love to hear your tips on working effectively and efficiently from home, how to inject some fun into these testing times and, most importantly, staying safe and healthy. Share your tips/photos on our Twitter / Facebook / Instagram feeds, or good old fashioned email if you prefer!