Biz Tips,  Lifestyle

Working from Home: is it the new normal?

In these strange times “working from home” is to become the new normal. How do you feel about that?

After almost 7 years of home-working, I’m not sure I could go back to a traditional office environment.

Even though there are potential distractions everywhere, I find it peaceful and productive. Working from home brings me contentment with a large dose of flexibility.

So if you’ve just arrived home with your laptop and you’re not sure where to start, make yourself a coffee and have a read of my 10 tips for working well from home.

Spoiler Alert – blog contains beautiful stationery and gorgeous mugs that might trigger online purchasing

1 Get dressed

It might be appealing to stay in your PJs but you’ll only feel on top of your game if you get dressed. My wardrobe has completely changed since I worked as a PA in a corporate office. I’ve swapped suits and blouses for jeans and jumpers. But getting dressed makes you feel ready for the working day. I promise you. Also I have a thing about slippers. I wear (comfy) shoes round the house and only change into slippers for the evening. I just feel funny working in slippers.

2 Create a working space

If you have a dedicated office, studio or workshop – brilliant. You can close the door at the end of the day and walk away. If not, it will help to make yourself a working space where you can keep your laptop, files and other working materials. It might be a corner in the guest room or a table in your living area, but have a designated area for your “work”

3 Work out a routine that suits you

I’m not an early riser. I wish I was but never will be. I like my mornings unrushed with a good breakfast and plenty of coffee. You might be up with the larks and that’s great. But find a routine that suits you and your family and try and work around it. You don’t need to be a slave to the routine but it’s good to have a framework to hang your day around.

4 Buy a good coffee machine and some new mugs

Please do not underestimate how important this is. If you like instant coffee – good for you – but you’re weird. We have a Delonghi bean to cup machine. It’s a few years old now but still going strong and you’ll find the nearest equivalent here. The good news is there are lots of amazing offers just now so it’s a good time to upgrade your “home-coffee” situation. Let’s face it – if we can’t get our daily fix of barista coffee in town, we at least owe ourselves a home upgrade

It might just be me, but lovely mugs bring me great joy. I have a slight Emma Bridgewater habit / addiction. I love opening the cupboard and choosing the perfect mug for my mood. Today it’s pink pansies. Tomorrow it might be the city of Florence. Heading to the kitchen to fill your mug with hot coffee will become an important part of your routine. So make it count.

5 Assemble your best stationery

I have a Busy B Weekly Planner on my desk where I transfer tasks from my Papier diary. It’s in front of me all day and keeps me on track. But the greatest joy of writing a list is crossing things off when they’re done. Sometimes I even write jobs after I’ve done them – just so I can have the joy of checking them off.

6 Keep the TV off

You might be tempted to have the TV on in the background but it will only be a distraction. I listen to the radio or a podcast while I’m baking but only watch the news at lunchtime and then at 6pm when the working day is over.

7 Take regular breaks

It’s good to try and keep things as normal as they would be in your place of work. So take your morning coffee break. Take an hour at lunchtime and walk round the block. Have a ideal finish time.

8 Get outside

I feel like as long as there’s fresh air and coffee beans we’ll all be fine. And that’s easy to say on Day 1, but fresh air really is good for your brain. Sometimes when I get a stuffy head, brewing a headache, all it takes is 20 minutes outside to readjust my brain. You can walk round your garden, pace up and down your balcony, stroll along your street. Whatever you have outside your house – make the most of it.

9 Put your work away at the end of the day

Wherever you’ve set up your work area, it’s important to have that moment where you close down your work for the day. Close the door on your workshop. Tidy your desk and switch off the PC. Clear your papers from the kitchen table and stack them in a corner.

10 Treat the weekend like the weekend.

Unless your work demands you to work weekends, try and keep the working week as it was the office. Savour that Friday feeling. And enjoy Monday mornings in a new way.

You’ll find your own routine in time. You’ll find what helps you be productive and the things that really distract.

Working from home is really quite nice. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Judith xx

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