Until this week, working from home was something we did at Wordtree for one of two reasons. Either we had a crunchy piece of strategy or deep reading to do, and home offered a no-distractions environment. Or, we were having something delivered – like a dishwasher.
Now, along with so many people across the world, WFH has become our new reality. Here – from our own experience of working within easy reach of biscuits, radios and greenhouses – are our top tips for making wuh-fuh-huh work well…
1. Look after your back
There’s a good chance that your home office or kitchen table is not set up as well as your workstation in the office. Which you might get away with for the odd day here and there. But if you look down at a laptop screen for several hours a day from a less-than-well-set-up space, you’re going to start to ache.
So, set up your space. Make sure you have any footrests, external screens and raisers you might need. Make sure your chair is good for sitting in all day.
Move. Set an alarm on Outlook, or on your phone, to go off every 45 minutes and get up and walk around. Stretch and push your shoulders back. Do a little downward-facing dog while you’re at it.
2. Manage the munchies
When you’re on your own and your brain is doing deep, crunchy work, your body might start saying: “FIND ME BISCUITS.” And because you’re at home, you know exactly where the Hobnob stash is (or the left-overs from last night’s pasta). And there’s also no-one there raising eyebrows as you think, “Well, I’ve eaten five, I may as well smash the whole packet.”
When we’re working from home, we find it useful to make a packed lunch, as though we’re going into the studio – and to eat it at the time we would if we weren’t at home.
3. Go outside
If you’re a conscientious person, you may find it difficult to walk away from your screen. But fresh air is good for the soul – and having a break from the screen is good for your eyes too.
If you have a garden, go out and have a look at any new spring plants coming up. (Liz often has a potter in her greenhouse for 20 minutes on a WFH day, for example.) If you don’t have a garden, get your coat on and walk around the block for 10 minutes.
4. Wear what you like – but remember conference calls
We’ve seen plenty of advice this week that says: “Dress as if you’re going to work.” If you feel comfortable wearing tights and a suit at home, then why not? But seriously, we just wear what we’re comfortable in. Some of our very best strategies have been conceived wearing slippers.
One thing, if you’re wearing a onesie and haven’t brushed your hair since Monday – remember to pop a Post-It note over your laptop camera. Then you won’t frighten your clients when you speak to them on Zoom.
5. Build in time to download software
Make sure you download any conference call apps or any other bits and bobs you might need well ahead of an online meeting or call. If you’re faffing around trying to install GoToMeeting, you won’t have a great call.
6. Manage pet interference
There’s nothing better than a cat snoozing on your work table. But if you have a call lined up, shut your barking puppies in another room and make sure your moggy doesn’t choose a critical moment to walk over your laptop.
We’ve already had several calls this week where kids have joined in – and you know, that’s fine. We’re all learning how to do this new thing… and kids are fun.
7. Watch the time
When you work from home, it’s easy for home life and work life to blur into one. So set alarms and set boundaries. Because even though you’re WFH, you need downtime to be healthy.
If you’re starting earlier because you no longer have a commute, that’s fine – but don’t burn the midnight oil too.
We find it works better for us if we separate “working” and “home” time. So we don’t do tend to do housework in the 9-5 slot – and we don’t do client work outside 8-6.30ish.
If you have any WFH tips to share with us, please send them on over. We’ll share your thoughts here.