14 Tips from a 14 Year Work from Home Veteran

For the love of GAWD 2020?! What a WAWU. We sprinted our way into this new decade guns blazing, affirmations spouting left, right and centre, goal setting to our eyeballs because 2020. That itself was just AMAZING and it was as going to be “THE” year etc etc etc.

Yeah. The YEAR that was. The year of the Coronavirus. Colonial vylus, colloidaldrivus, “Chinese virus” – what hasn’t it been called? We all know what they are referring to….as we shuffle along trying to make sense of it.

It feels like an episode of “24“. I’m still expecting, Jack Bauer to appear, any minute now, looking harassed and sounding equally so, through jaw-clenched tones. Sometimes I feel like I’m in parallel universe, or someone else’s dream (nightmare?). But mostly, I feel like I’m in a bubble. Insulated and isolated at the same time from the chaos and confusion as almost everyone adjusts to a new normal, my standard. Working from home. Something I’ve been doing for years. Now I can’t go anywhere. Uh oh.

The day I became a management consultant was the day I started “working from home”, the year was 2006. Technically, I work at the client’s (office) site which could be for a few days a week for weeks and months or none at all which means I am at home for months and months. I went from working in the UK Public Sector where I worked in a physical office in central London, took the trains for nearly an hour and a half one way, sat with my team and manager, had a desktop and when I logged off for the day, that was the end of the day. TO. The UK Private Sector where I was given a laptop and told to go forth and work, drove or flew to the client site, sat at a random “hot desk” by myself or with other random folk and took my laptop and work, home with me. Today I work through software called “Teams”, go tech!

The first few days were strange. You’re at home but at work, no one is watching so…can I watch TV? Or you find yourself wandering over to the fridge or snack cupboard ever so often (speaking for a friend). Should I bother to shower? Wear pyjamas all day? Go workout? Decisions, decisions (yes, I see you nodding). Over the years my style, habits and format of working from home have changed.

Coronavirus or COVID-19. Devastating. I’m sure you are overwhelmed with info so I’ll stop and say something “positive”. I have seen a lot of creativity come of out this. On the mainstream – exclusive DJs hosting Instagram and Facebook Live virtual dance parties to live streams of workouts by fitness and dance studios; classes, churches, schools, counsellors, yoga, telemedicine, virtual concerts and museum tours. I haven’t even started on activities for kids. Almost everything that was never considered work from homable now is – including many companies who never allowed it! And in everyday life, people are discovering skills they never had, kids are learning how to cook….

Anyhoo. I’m contributing my bit to the sea of survival tips.

Here are my current 14 work from home / COVID-19 tips:

  1. Wake up and shower, put clothes on – dress up or dress down, your choice. But it’s a slippery slope to slovenliness, especially if you’re alone. If you need a routine to get your day going, this is it.
  1. Drink (more) water. Preferably first thing in the morning! It rehydrates the body after all that sleep, fuels your brain, increases your level of alertness, jump-starts your metabolism and helps the body eliminate toxins – which your body will have accumulated while in repair and recovery mode during sleep. This is good time to start this. By the time you go back to work, you’ll have glowing skin! I used to do green smoothies in the mornings (I didn’t have a commute time to beat), now I do apple cider vinegar and lemon in warm water. Don’t get me started on the benefits of lemon……
  1. Find an office “space” – just find a space “somewhere” that you can go to everyday to work. If there’s more than one person in the house, or kids, this can help establish some boundaries.
  1. Learn how to use video conferencing features, know where the camera on your laptop is and which buttons are for “mute” and “video”. Make sure your camera doesn’t automatically switch on when a meeting starts (facepalm). When in doubt, make sure you are decently dressed and do go to the bathroom/restroom/toilet BEFORE your meeting not during, and not with your laptop. I’ve seen a few casualties in this age of quarantine, not pretty.
  1. Life will get in the way – don’t over apologize, don’t be mortified. You’re going to be on a call and your kids will cry or ask you for something and the dog will bark. We are all adjusting to this new life together. Do you remember the BBC interview of Professor Robert Kelly explaining South Korean politics when his son barged in? Yah. If you have been working from home for a while, chances are you have an office set-up to avoid these scenarios, however, schools are closed so…..

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  1. Set a start/stop work schedule – because. Work. Does. Not. Stop. At. Home. You’ve got to learn to control your day. Working from home can mean working all day. It’s there, you want to do a good job, prove a point, prove yourself, some eager colleague will get carried away. Without the commute times, the pick up your bags and walk outside the office time, you’re already working longer. Sort yourself out or the work will.
  1. Use that extra morning no commute time to exercise, meditate, yoga, stretch, something!
  1. If you are going to eat snacks, you’re going to have to get some exercise in. It’s that simple. What’s not so simple is the exercise part. For me, I do group workouts and I prefer outdoors so this is hard. Even harder, because leaving the house to go workout at least got me out of my bubble! There are a lot of different online workouts or Youtube videos that you can use. I was very impressed to learn of “P.E. With Joe” – The Body Coach, a British fitness coach, TV presenter, conducting home workouts aimed at kids on YouTube! I made sure my nieces knew of it. I’m currently doing a 21 day jumprope challenge on the Crossrope app. You know I’m all about the fitness, and I’m all about the writing too. So, guess what? I published a book LAST WEEK!! Been writing it for months!!! Smiley face.

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This is the BEST TIME to start a fitness challenge. Get your copy now!

If you need motivation, daily guidance,  fitness tips, exercise ideas – get this book! It is a collection of stories and fitness challenges I created and curated. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Do something different today! Check it out on Amazon in your country or via this link. Tell me what you think!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086B9N194/ref=cm_sw_r_oth_api_i_qNqFEbH4C1XP9

  1. One trick to combat sitting for long periods – get up and move every hour. I’ve had friends whose days are suddenly filled with meetings and there’s no water cooler, vending machine, someone’s office to walk to, that brings that natural leg stretch. I have a fitbit so I set a schedule to remind to move every hour. Sometimes I set alarms on my phone.
  1. Meal prep. Said friends in meetings all day are grabbing snacks because there’s no time to make lunch in between meetings (I’m a pro at this). Prepare meals for the week at the weekend or a day in the week and hey presto, you can grab a meal on the go
  1. Collaborate or call colleagues and friends – quarantine is isolation. Have video calls with friends, set up water-cooler chats with colleagues. Tea time even! Reach out and speak with people, check in on people during this time. You could be bringing someone much needed cheer.
  1. Join a virtual group – support or otherwise. Or start one! I belong to two global running groups on Facebook, it has become a support mechanism for those hard core runners who can’t and are having near meltdowns. Some countries are in total lockdown so we are also learning from each other and what’s happening around the world.
  1. Get creative! Garden, paint, write a book, read a book. What can you do with your time? I wish I had free time, my workload has doubled!
  2. Stay safe, stay well, stay smiling! You’ve got an office to go back to!

Did you get any a-ha moments? Which tip will you start applying today? Which ones are you already doing or are not on my list that I could do? Tell me! Leave me a comment.

Wow. 2020. That was how I started my first blog this year in – Do you speak American?  Now we are all speaking a global language “quarantine”. We will survive this. We will #flattenthecurve! And if you’ve been personally affected by the virus or lost some one, big virtual hugs and my condolences.

Let’s start April strong.

#workfromhometips #worksmarter #covid19survivaltips #corporatelife

Toodles

Ttx

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Cover image, dog image: Pixabay

4 Comments

    1. You are very welcome and thank you for your comment! I’m glad you find it helpful and well done for keeping your business going, online. Best of luck! What has been your major discovery during your process?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That a separate workspace is a must, as well as deciding when work hours definitely end.

        I had trouble with work bleeding into personal hours before, but I used to travel to my office on weekends and after weekday dinner break. That gave me natural boundaries.

        Now I have to create a subspace within my small home. Much harder than I thought!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting observation!! And yes that boundary “thing” can become a real “problem” if expectations are not set, that’s what I’ve found. I hope you find your creative/productive space in your corner of your home 😊😊

        Like

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