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17.03.20 / How to WFH – you’re going to need these tips

Olivia has been working from home for the last two weeks and we’ve all been grateful for these tips. So in true OneFifty style, we’re sharing. 

As a proclaimed WFH expert (according to my boss on an all-team google hangout this morning, thank you Alex) following two weeks of doing so, here are my top tips for you during these upcoming months. 

Get up at a normal time.

If you’re logging on at 9am don’t get up at 8:50am – trust me, that extra bit of sleep it is not conducive to a productive day’s work. Keep your alarm time consistent and early enough to allow you some time for yourself before your working day starts. Honestly, you can do so much better than a bowl of cereal for breakfast now you don’t have your commute time… 

Get out of your pyjamas.

Even if you’re just getting into a different set of pyjamas that you didn’t sleep in, it is a better option. Staying in what you slept in makes your day a continuation of your nights sleep, then you just go back into another night’s sleep with the cycle never really ending. Get up, get dressed, so you can get going. 

Be active.

During the past two weeks my house mates and I have got up every morning and gone for a walk around Tooting Common. Firstly, when much of your life is spent within the four walls of your home you really appreciate open spaces… Secondly, it is good to get up and get active. Another top tip would be start bringing in lunchtime runs a few times a week, they will become a much loved time of your day allowing you to get out of the house and away from your screen. (Note: these activities are currently aligned with government advice as they are in open spaces, but please use your judgement as to whether you think it is safe to be partaking in them). 

Have a designated workspace.

Do not work from your sofa, or your bed. Assign yourself a clear working space, so that you create a distinction between your “work” and “play” even if that is all happening within the same house. This physical separation will also help you switch off easier on an evening as you don’t hold an association between your sofa and working, meaning you can enjoy some downtime a lot more easily.

Setup a call room.

This one is more specific to my fellow house sharers out there. When there are four of you WFH’ing at the same time, with three of you working in consulting, you can bet there are going to be a lot of calls throughout the day. Set up some spaces, even if it is just bedrooms, that act as designated call rooms that allow a quieter space and avoid interruptions.

Allow yourself a break.

You have so many unconscious breaks when you’re in the office. For example, you get your morning coffee from the kitchen with a colleague and you’ve actually got up and taken a 15 minute break. Grab a coffee when you’re working at your kitchen table and you’re looking closer to two minutes. Your brain needs a break in order to have sustained productivity throughout a day. So, don’t feel bad, take breaks. 

Check in with your friends.

You spend so much time with your work friends, so make sure you check in with them. Still have that morning coffee you always have together (or, that 5pm Friday wine…) but just do it virtually. Book in some time together, get on Google Hangouts and have a catch-up. Self-isolation can feel – you guessed it – pretty isolating, so take that time to check-in. It will do everyone involved good and is not exclusive to your work pals. 

Set an alarm for “home time”.

It is very easy to just keep working when you’re at home; you have stuff to do and nowhere to go. But, it isn’t sustainable. We don’t know how long this WFH period will last so you need to be thinking long-term. Log on in the morning, then set yourself an alarm for the time you would like to have finished by. It doesn’t mean that when that alarm goes off you shut your laptop instantly, but it acts as a check on yourself that you should be looking to wrap things up for the evening and logging off. No, you won’t be able to abide by your alarm everyday but it is a good habit to get into. 

Keep in touch with your anxiety.

The circumstances under which a lot of us are going to WFH’ing are abnormal and uncertain. There are a lot of factors around the whole situation that are anxiety inducing, let alone any anxiety you may deal with from other areas in your life. Recognise this and explore different methods that help you deal with this. I am not going to recommend particular methods, but I will talk about my own. If I am anxious it seeps into my dreams leading to me becoming overly tired and more irritable. Then in turn more anxious. I find that mediating before I go to sleep, even if only for 10 minutes, helps me to dispel these thoughts and get a good night’s sleep. Mediation might not be your preferred option, but allow yourself this opportunity to figure out which is yours.

I can say that a sustained WFH period is a weird thing when you’re not used to it, and I am very happy to work for a company where I would much rather be in the office with my colleagues, but also very lucky to work for a company that WFH’ing doesn’t compromise by ability to do my job. I hope these tips help you have a more enjoyable (and productive!) WFH period and stay safe, because there are better times to come at the end of it.

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