What Does Working From Home Mean For Us?
With the global pandemic of COVID-19, we have seen a dramatic change in the way that we each go about our working day. Governmental restrictions have meant that we are no longer able to go into the office, and have to be increasingly vigilant in maintaining required distancing between each other. At Strawberry Blond, we have experienced changes in our working lives, adapting our roles to meet this new normal. A revamped Working from Home has become the order of the day and with that comes challenges. Here at Strawberry Blond, we’ve been putting our heads together to understand what works to keep us on the ball during lockdown.
The Number 1 tip to enable you to become a wicked ‘working from home’ employee, is to see every day as a normal working day. Whilst this might seem pretty obvious to some, it can be easy to just stay in your pyjamas, take a snack break every 15 minutes, and not quite focus on the job in hand. To ready yourself to ‘go to’ work it is useful to have a set get-up time where you get dressed (just to get you out of your PJs), have a nutritious breakfast and even, take your own commute. This could be a quick run around the block, a short exercise session or, if your daily commute would involve listening to a podcast or reading a book on the tube, do just that! This process of starting your day will allow your mind to settle and help you to become ‘activated’ for your working day. The next step is to set up your workspace. If you have the facilities available to you, it is important to attempt to make your work and life spaces separate to enable you to delineate which is leisure, and which is focus time.
Whilst there are many people in the creative industries who would work from home regularly, and would actively choose to do just this, there are others who would be repulsed at the idea of becoming self-motivated enough to maintain the quality of work that they have been accustomed to produce. There are ways to ensure that a ‘Working from Home’ routine can prove effective AND possible. One way of ensuring continued productivity is to write down a list of jobs that you know that have to be accomplished; both daily and weekly. This not only breaks down what is expected of you but enables you to work through and cross off tasks that you have done, giving a sense of accountability and accomplishment throughout your working day.
Depending on your Working from Home setup, it can be easy to develop a feeling of being alone. Without the regular work catch-ups; hearing about the latest trick that your co-worker’s dog has learnt, or the most recent flat fallout, you can become increasingly isolated and out of the loop. To help combat this it is important to have regular work discussions and social events that allow you to remember how fantastic your team is. At Strawberry Blond we have a Monday morning teleconference to discuss how the previous week went, plans for the new week and any new/ongoing projects. This ensures that everyone is in the know and gives an opportunity for any questions. Yet this short call is more than just a meeting, it reminds employees of the infallible camaraderie of the team and, when people feel connected, they are more likely to be invested in their work environment; increasing their ability to work proactively. A regular event in the Strawberry Blond calendar would be our weekly yoga session. Whilst COVID-19 has closed down all yoga studios, we now use video conferencing to help keep our employees flexible and zen during these stressful times.
When you are working from home, a tempting trap to fall into is to always keep working. Whilst it is fantastic to have the drive to want to continue contributing, it is not particularly healthy to not have a cut-off point. Finish your working day when you would normally clock off – tidy all of your work things away and clear your designated work space. Give yourself some time to unwind; maybe fit in a yoga session, or take your time to prepare a wholesome meal. These are all luxuries that you now have the time to make the most of (where that daily commute would have normally eaten into this time). This period of relaxation is important to make sure that you are revitalised for your next working day.
Adapting to work from home can prove challenging, but remote working is an important skill to carry into the future as we still don’t know how permanent these changes might be. It can sometimes feel like a drag but the benefits, if done correctly and with the right support from your company, have the potential to improve your quality of living. It also gives you more flexibility in your working day, allowing you to forge a routine that works for you, with the bulk of your day being when you’re most efficient. It is still unknown as to how long this lockdown will go on for, but this period has shown employers that a working from home lifestyle CAN function in their workplace, so maybe this is something that will be considered a more acceptable way of working.