Given current events, dusting off an old desk or dining room table is set to be a common occurrence. Those working remotely while the office environment is a no-go may feel overwhelmed by their first experience working from home. Thankfully, I’ve already had some practice.
Since the start of the year, I’ve worked remotely one day a week, commuting to the Conscious office in Bristol from my home in Cardiff for the other four. It’s been a unique change; one I’ve not been afforded in previous roles. It’s also a change that’s helped me personally to better manage a work/life balance and fine-tune my focus wherever I work. But it certainly wasn’t a change that I settled into immediately!
Focusing on work while at home can be difficult when you’re used to leaving it all in the office. Working remotely blurs the lines between the two by requiring you to be productive where you might typically unwind. So, although it may feel like you’re getting the best of both worlds at first by watching TV in the background while working, or joining a conference call from the sofa while you finish your breakfast, all this does is further blur those lines.
Addressing these habits sooner rather than later can help you to find your focus and find some clarity in that blurred work/life balance.
When working from home, my alarm starts ringing a little later than usual, but it will ring nonetheless. It leaves enough time for me to get dressed in my regular office outfit (minus the shoes), watch some TV and eat breakfast all before 9am. When I lift the laptop lid, I’m ready to get to work.
And come lunchtime, I do what I do in the office. I shut down the laptop and move away from my desk to the kitchen in order to more clearly define that break between work and life – whether that’s by going for a walk or eating copious amounts of noodles whilst watching something on YouTube.
Over time, you adapt. Sure, you miss being on the receiving end of a regular tea run, but at least now you don’t have to admit you haven’t memorised everyone’s preferred shade of tea and sugar preferences. But most importantly - you control the music. “OK Google, play Soft Jazz”.
Conscious’ MD David Gilroy regularly reminds us that “work is a thing you do, not a place you go”, and it’s a motto that’ll come in handy now more than ever as we come together for our regular team huddles, meetings and, very occasionally, board games – just with a bit more assembly required.
Finding a rhythm when working from home takes time, discipline and a creative approach to making the most of the space available to you. Whether you’re already good to go or you’re using an ironing board as a standing desk and your child’s metallic gel pens to take down notes during a call – you work with what you’ve got because you enjoy the work.
So let’s get to it!