March 13, 2020

Work From Home

With the likelihood of a 14 day quarantine rising for many workers, we thought we had better research how to make the best use of that time. We are business as usual until the point where things become unusual but working out how to spend 14 days without adding cabin fever to potential ailments is a practical way to prepare. 

Have a work ‘zone’

Unless you regularly work from home, you might not have the extra space to go ahead and set up a new home office for the secondment. It is however, important to dedicate some physical space to ‘work’ in order to not enmesh work and home duties.

As humans, we are pretty bad at dual processing and so if we are working, distracted by piles of dirty laundry – we will be less effective. If we are doing bathtime and can see our inbox filling up in the corner of our eye, we won’t be present. So ideally you’ll be able to carve out a space that is a ‘go zone’.

Creating that physical space might mean shifting some plants to create a barrier or a rug is also a great way to break up a zone within a bigger space – work is on the rug and home is everywhere else. Being in the ‘zone’ can also help to communicate to those sharing your home that you are working and can present a barrier for interruptions that can probably wait.

Carve out your time

14 days is enough time to create a great habit and enough time for the lack of routine to destroy you, too. So it is worthwhile getting ahead of that game a defining a routine for yourself, and your family that clearly creates a division between work time and non-work time. 

Again, if you schedule it and communicate that schedule, you are more likely to have it respected.

Dack the tracks

Unless you are unwell, this is not a 2-week long pyjama party. If you maintain how you normally prepare for work, then you are likely to feel the part and behave productively. You also won’t be caught out on any tricky or spontaneous video meetings.

Consider your background

On the topic of video meetings, if these are going to be a big part of your life over the next two weeks, give some thought to how you will appear in video meetings. Ensure that there is a pleasant and on-brand background to your presence on video. Check that the lighting is in front of you so that the people you are meeting with can see your face and expressions. If the light is shining down on you (or up,), you can add some very unflattering shadows.

Sit in comfort

In the workplace we are generally ergonomically catered for in a way that we don’t consider in our domestic environment. We tend to sit on dining chairs for shorter periods of time than our computer chairs so it is important to be comfortable. You should also move around more than you might be used to doing in a day – just to ensure that you don’t get stuck in an uncomfortable position or give yourself achy bones. 

While you are working from home and saving time on the commute, you might use that time to check on elderly neighbours, the single mum down the road and anyone else who might be lonely and vulnerable.