Working from home is a gift.
A break from the ick of commuting in London, losing two hours of your day to travel, plus inner office faffing, etiquette and politics. To those nervous about the prospect – put in positive vibes and you will reap them – all it takes is a little thought and effort. I’m a happy work-from-homey freelancer and here are my tips for keeping sane and productive, as well as a themed playlist for your listening pleasure.
1 Move / Pomodoro Technique
Action that fitness watch’s sedentary reminder to 25 minutes or set your phone alarm to follow the Pomodoro technique – four times 25 minute bursts of work, each interspersed by 5 minute breaks, then a longer break of 30 minutes afterwards. Leave your desk, walk around, boil the kettle, quick-blitz the kitchen worktops. Whatever it is, be occupied elsewhere for a short time and it will boost your productivity.
2 Routine… ish
Every day I set up and pack down my desk space, I don’t read emails until I’m sat at my laptop with a coffee. My working pattern is nine to six, unless a campaign calls for different or I’m considering US time, as constantly being ‘on’ previously was so draining. Outside breaks are CRUCIAL for mind and bod, plus without them your daily step count will be shocking. Pre-work yoga has been a revelation for me, though my plank game needs honing.
3 Psychological distancing
Keep your work life and chill life zones separate. My office (pictured) is the dining table in the corner of our living room, it’s by a big bay window that lets in lots of natural light and gives a slight Carrie Bradshaw vibe (ha). Some houseplants sit with me and soak up the rays and inspo. I’ve adorned my magazines files with my favourite William Morris prints and have a photo of my Uncle’s Beverly Hills patio next to me. The sofa is strictly a leisure zone here.
I’ve seen a number of judgemental comments on ‘How one must dress’ during work-from-home stints and really… it’s just about what makes you feel good in your work zone. You might want to wear something suitable enough to answer the door in though, eh?
I’m a big advocate of daytime napping – it helps me reset and refresh a wandering, unfocused or anxious mind. At uni, my roommate and I mastered the art of the 20-minute power nap and almost half a lifetime later I still find it works a treat.
Let’s keep it real – working from home isn’t all serenity, discipline and insta-worthy interiors. I struggle with snack discipline, the baby next door cries when I’m in deep focus periods, often I don’t exercise my speaking voice for most of the day and it can feel a bit bonkers. Take a break and reach out. If you’re well, take advantage of doing things off-peak, like shopping or cinema trips. Call a mate, go for coffee and cake, take a class. Preserve sanity.
7 Positivity and reflection
We often take for granted what is available to us. Remote working is a marvel and now that hands have been somewhat forced, I hope many employers will consider implementing more remote working allowances in the future. Look at this great place you live, the fab job you have, the valuable skills you’ve cultivated that enable you to earn a living and how you’ve progressed in your career – it would be remiss not to reflect on these things and practice gratitude. Then when the working day is done, reach for the biscuit tin, get to that Netflix binge aaand relax.
Listen to the Work From Home – Coronavirus 2020 edition playlist