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The Reality of Working From Home

Great, you’ve been told you can work from home as the country finds itself in lockdown. In these unprecedented times, your thoughts might jump straight to:

• No more traffic jams
• No more worrying if I’ll be back in time for the children
• I don’t have to get dressed
• I can sit in the garden all day

These are just a few of the initial reactions felt by many of us when thinking about working from home. The reality of the situation, however, is quite different, even before COVID-19. So how are we going to cope now?

Advice for working from home

When working at home, it’s so very important to stay motivated and structured, especially at this time. Both personally and in our work, we seriously underestimate the power of office energy and, believe it or not, the benefits of travelling to and from work. For many of us, this was our quiet time to help us focus on the day ahead and then, after work, to put it behind us.

Routine helps to maintain our sanity and working from home shouldn’t change this. So, to help you stay motivated, energised and structured, below are some personal tips:

  • Get up at your usual time and get dressed (this makes such a difference, especially after weeks of being at home).
  • Force yourself to take breaks away from your desk, possibly with your family (members of your household), having your meals together and sharing what you have going on. Also, try to understand each other’s needs for the day and support each other.
  • Try to go for a walk around the garden or dust off that exercise DVD you brought 10 years ago and do 30 mins of exercise where you can.
  • Try not to consume the contents of the fridge or the treat cupboard just because it’s there.
  • Talk to people! Probably the most important piece of advice I would give. Becoming isolated and not having human interactions can be very detrimental.

Stay connected

I have worked from home for many years and I have to admit, I have never been a video chat kind of person. But now, more than ever, I have reaped the rewards of doing so and I would urge you all to give it a go.

In an era where anxiety and self-doubt are rife with social media, making us feel inadequate, constantly comparing our lives with others, it can be easy to disconnect. However, we should avoid this temptation as you will soon realise behind that laptop is someone just like you, having the same balancing act with the children and having the same worries about doing their job to the best of their ability during this time. We have the tech, let’s really use it and make our lives that little bit better! It’s good to talk, you do it in the office, so why stop now?

Reducing the distractions & separating work and home

Start by clearly differentiating between ‘working from home’ and ‘being at home’ in your head. If you do what you enjoy whilst you should be working, how will you know you have ‘left work’ and be able to start enjoying ‘being at home’?

You will also need an office space. If this space is always in your line of sight, you will never feel as though you have left work. Additionally, if everyone is walking through it, you won’t be able to concentrate either. So, here are some tips:

  • Find somewhere ‘not in the hub’ of the home. With the nursery and school closures, this is a real tough one but one worth doing.
  • Recognise and accept that you might not be able to get your day’s work done all in one go.
  • Try to introduce ‘quiet time’ if your children are old enough. Maybe all sit around the table together but each of you working as you would in the office.
  • If you have younger children, they likely won’t do quiet time on demand. Perhaps, instead, you and your family members can ‘work around’ sleep times or have an ‘entertainment rota’, allowing the other to focus for an hour or two throughout the day.
  • Think about using a travel cot or playpen as a safe space for your toddler to play in for short periods of time, allowing you not to worry about accidents whilst you concentrate for an hour.
  • Try not to keep the TV on. You wouldn’t do this in the office and unless your brain needs background noise to focus, it’s not conducive to your productivity.
  • Leave the washing up; treat it as though you had ‘left for the office’. If it was there when you left, it will be there when you get back.

We don’t know how long this will all last but stay calm, talk to others to keep life in perspective and remain positive. Give your friends and family the gift of time and learn how to enjoy the basics in life again.

Be safe.

If you require any assistance and support when working with HR technology, payroll, or forming business continuity plans, please reach out to us here at Phase 3.

For more tips and advice, make sure to head to our blog page.

This article was written by Emma Perris, one of the lead consultants and a payroll specialist at Phase 3.

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