Since last night’s announcement from Boris Johnson regarding staying at home, even more people are going to be working from home than were previously required to. Given that we’re seasoned pros at this, we thought we would put together some of our own top tips to help those who feel like a fish out of water.
If you’ve only just started working from home, welcome to the club. Give yourself the luxury of spending one or two days in your PJs under a blanket, laptop balanced on your knees. Enjoy the novelty!
Once that becomes old hat, the best thing to do is develop a routine.
Get up, shower, get dressed. For some people this means wearing sweatpants, others really benefit from the mental boost of putting on the whole shirt and tie get-up – whatever works! Give yourself planning time with a cuppa before you start, let yourself watch a bit of news but then turn it off and don’t keep it on in the background.
If you’re working with kids at home, having a set routine that you stick to as much as possible will help them, too.
Take regular breaks
It’s so tempting to stay sat in the same place for a long time, thinking you have to plough through work. However, this is a stressful time for all of us in different ways. Looking after your mental wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical wellbeing.
One way of doing this, is planning in regular breaks. Make a cup of tea, wander round the garden, synchronise your break with a friend and give them a call, go for a short walk whilst following social distancing rules. You’ll return to your work feeling refreshed and much more able to get on, rather than feeling bogged down and distracted.
When everyone is working remotely, communication becomes super important to make sure everyone’s on the same page. There are so many tools for this, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack to name but a few. The JPG team do have regular Skype calls as it’s lovely to see each other’s faces, but our main source of communication is a Whatsapp group.
Different setups will work better for different people, we use ours mostly for quick questions, updates, feedback on something we’ve been working on, and checking in on each other. This may not work as well for large teams, but could work for smaller departments within that team. As this is going to be for a while, don’t worry about trying several things until you all find what works for you.
If at the moment you’re struggling to focus on tasks – completely understandable with everything going on – one thing you can do is take a look at working using the Pomodoro method. In a very basic sense, this means setting a timer and working for 20 minutes, then stopping for an enforced 5-10 minute break.
It’s surprising how much this helps focus the mind on the tasks you have to do, and truly amazing how much you can get done in 20 minutes. What this also allows you to do if you’re a planner, is split your to-do list for the day up into Pomodoros. Pretty plans using colourful highlighters are strongly encouraged.
As a team, we work remotely all of the time. So if you’re struggling with working from home in any way, or have a question about how we deal with certain issues, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where we’ll be posting more tips, and also happy to chat to you and answer any questions about how we do things.