At Girls’ Globe, we know a thing or two about working from home. Our small team works remotely from different cities, countries and time zones. But doing your job from home when you’ve been used to working in an office is a major adjustment. As more and more people across the world are being encouraged – or required – to work from home, we thought we would share some of the things we’ve learned along the way. We hope these tips can help you to stay healthy, happy and able to do your best work amidst great uncertainty and change.
Say Good Morning & Goodbye
To create a feeling of camaraderie when we aren’t arriving into the same physical space, we send each other a short voice note to say good morning at the start of our working day. Even if you have a morning team meeting scheduled first-thing, a quick hello ensures you start the day on a positive note. Plus, it helps to signal to your brain that the work day has begun – particularly useful if you are used to a commute to the office. The same applies at the end of the day. A quick message to your colleagues letting them know that you’re finishing up for the day can stop the afternoon drifting into evening without a clear transition from work to your own time.
Trial Different Tools
There are many, many, many excellent free tools available that can make collaborating remotely quicker, easier and more efficient. The best tools for your team will depend on the nature of your work, and so what works for us might not be what works for you. What will apply to everyone, though, is that it’s ok if the first thing you try isn’t the best fit. If your new project management app is still confusing everyone after two weeks, it might be worth giving an alternative a go. With so many options available, there’s no need to struggle with a tool that doesn’t serve you.
Create a Routine & Embrace the Benefits
Without the regular routine that comes with going to the office, days spent working from home can feel unstructured. By building yourself a routine that you can realistically stick to, you’ll be more likely to move through your day without getting distracted, bored or overwhelmed. Set times for phone calls, admin tasks, lunch breaks and coffees, put these in your calendar, and try as best as you can to stick to them each day. One of the biggest positives of working from home is the flexibility to fit your routine around other parts of your life, so make the most of this as much as the current situation allows. Listen to a podcast or put laundry on while you work, call a loved one at lunch time, or take a break to do some exercise.
Get Some Fresh Air
Even if you sit on a bus or a train most of the way, travelling to and from the office gives you daily opportunities for a breath of fresh air. Make sure you don’t lose out on that while working from home. Taking a short walk round the block or a local park before sitting down to start working can be a great way to boost your energy for the day ahead. If it’s not safe or possible for you to go outside at the moment, simply opening a window and standing by it while you have a tea or a coffee can have the same effect.
Separate Your Space
If at all possible, try to work from an area of your home that you can then move away from at the end of the working day. If you have a spare room or a study – great – but most people don’t have a home office waiting for them each morning. Even something as simple as working at your kitchen table during the day, then moving to your living room or bedroom to chill in the evening can create a distinction in your mind between work and the rest of your day. This is especially relevant at the moment, when many of us will be spending most, if not all, of our time in our homes.
Over the coming weeks and months it will be more important than ever to be patient and compassionate with one another while we face the many unknowns and uncertainties of the coronavirus pandemic. This includes with our colleagues, team mates and employees. With children at home, relatives to care for and health and livelihoods at stake, many will be finding themselves in impossible situations.
Do you have experience of working from home? How do you make it work for you? Or, if you’re now doing it for the first time, what are you finding difficult?
Please leave a comment and the Girls’ Globe team will get back to you directly. With conversation and digital connection we can support one another through the challenges ahead.