Working from home, once the exclusive province of a few lonely souls, has recently been sampled by large swathes of the population! What can you do to make your new office work for you? We’ve gathered together some top tips from our freelancers – seasoned work from home professionals.
Where to work
It doesn’t matter where you work, some favour the kitchen table while others prefer the attic, cubbyhole, or even the garden shed… wherever you decide to work, peace and quiet (that elusive thing) can really help get the creative juices flowing and increase production.
“My top tip, which wouldn’t suit everyone, is to get up really early and work when no-one else is around and the house is lovely and quiet. You get lots done and a terrific sense of achievement when you finish, and you can feel smug about doing so much before breakfast!”Kathy
Comfortable and safe working
It’s important to make sure you’re sitting comfortably with your screen and keyboard at the correct height to work ergonomically. You don’t necessarily need expensive equipment – you could balance your laptop on some books, use a wireless keyboard and mouse and sit on a yoga ball at the kitchen table… or you can get a standing desk, some of which are relatively inexpensive and sit on your table bringing your laptop up to the correct working height. There’s the conventional desk and desk chair… there are many options.
“Take lots of breaks away from screen and make sure you get out for a walk at least once a day… it also helps not to have a toddler (haha)!”Anna
“When you’re suffering from back pain, it really helps to get up and move around frequently and this is also good practice to protect yourself from the harms of a sedentary job. Housework can be a major distaction, but you can turn it to your advantage and use the housework as exercise! Try getting up from your desk every 30 minutes or so to do 5 minutes housework. Empty the dishwasher one time, load the washing machine the next. Try to find time to take a proper lunch break and use some of that break in your schedule to go for a 20 minute brisk walk.”Siân
You’ll need safe storage for your documents. A lockable filing cabinet, or padlock and chain on the cupboard door, anything to keep tiny prying hands away from your work. It’s also a must for GDPR compliance, all personal and sensitive data needs to be kept securely. Make sure that your computer – and other devices on which you perhaps collect email or store files – are all password protected. If anyone else uses your devices, set up a separate user account for them.
Trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance is a bit of a tightrope. It’s worth trying to ringfence work time, resist the urge to check emails and run off quick tasks outside of ‘office hours’. Take time out for lunch and take regular breaks.
“Protect both your work time and your leisure time in equal measures, try not to let one bleed into the other. Be disciplined with yourself and firm with others. You know the type, “Oh go on, what difference will meeting me for a 30-minute coffee make?” “You can’t work without a break.” “Just work an extra 30 minutes this evening to make up for it.” etc, etc, etc! And, equally, try not to let work seep into your free time unless absolutely necessary (unfortunately, sometimes it is)! This also requires self-discipline but reaps its own rewards in terms of productivity.”Sophie
Working with children, without childcare…
Many of our team have young children in tow. How did we cope, working from home without childcare, whilst simultaneously home schooling? Dare we say TV, iPad, sweets… it’s a recipe for insanity! I’ve been working in small blocks of time and taking regular breaks to play, home school, feed them some ‘real’ food. But perhaps we should all just take Libby’s advice:
“DON’T DO IT!!!”Libby