Covid19 and working from home.

COVID-19 has been a global pandemic of unprecedented proportions. The devastation on social, economic and health sectors is colossal. For those still fortunate to have employment, 2020 brought a whole new way of working to many. And as we roll into 2021, it looks like working from home is here to stay. The recent government announcement of another lockdown is only slightly eased by the promise of the vaccine. But for now, the population are being encouraged to keep working from home.

The benefits of working from home.

No commute – Top of the list is not having to commute to work. Many people have found they are saving both time and money not having to travel. According to the average commute is 57 minutes a day and the average cost of travelling to and from work equates to £4,198 a year.

Flexibility – The typical 9 – 5 working day has been challenged by being this new working regime. For some, the home office has allowed people to be more flexible in how their working day is made up.

Better productivity – Interestingly, some people feel that their days are more productive. This is great news for bosses, who felt that they would not be able to manage employees effectively in a remote working environment.

General savings – For me, I was always spending far too much money on lunch every day. Always had good intentions of taking lunch with me, but I would never quite have enough time to prepare it. Coupled with the spontaneous shopping purchases and the “must have” new items in my wardrobe. Nowadays, I can often be found designing presentations on my computer in my pyjamas.

"People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society."

— Vince Lombardi

The pitfalls of bringing your work home.

The flexibility and convenience is a bonus, but this also means that you can easily find yourself being distracted or interrupted by home tasks or family members. If I get up to make a sandwich for lunch, I will generally have to make one for the whole family. Funny how I never feel obliged to make lunch for all my colleagues when we are in the office.

Not being able to switch off is another negative. With your office on tap, it is too easy to keep checking your inbox or work late into the night.

Perfecting the working from home balance.

Although 25% of the UK believe things will start to get back to normal by April, here are a few tips that you can use to get the best out of your working day.

Have a routine
The boundaries between work and home life can overlap with negative consequences for both. Be disciplined with the times you set yourself for working. Make sure others in the household know when you are not to be disturbed. Although try telling that to my dog who has now developed a master nose nudge at moving my hand away from the mouse when he needs attention.

Create a separate space
Having a separate room in the home is ideal to remove general noise and chance of interruption. If that is not possible, claim a corner and plug in those headphones. Try to work from a desk and not slouched on the sofa over a lap-top. Your posture is extremely important especially if you have to spend a lot of time on a computer.

Be disciplined
How many of us will admit to procrastinating a little too much. Tim Urbans – Inside the mind of a master procrastinator is my favourite TED talk of all time. A must watch, it is a light-hearted look at how some of use approach deadlines. Try to avoid the urge to check all your social media, read The Mail Online, or look up last night’s football results before you start work. Be accountable for your working time.

Stay connected
One of the main challenges for me is remembering to stay connected with colleagues. There are reasons why people work together in person. Especially for a presentation design agency like ours. Communication is key to a healthy and successful business. We collaborate and bounce ideas of each other. Morale is lifted with conversation and we help and encourage each other. Online platforms such as Teams and Zoom have brilliant interactivity tools and chat channels to keep the connectivity going.

Go outdoors
Leave your desk. Take a lunch break. Go outside. Get some exercise. We all know the benefits of fresh air, but more importantly, taking a break from work can really help your workflow. It resets the brain, gives it a new charge and helps overall wellbeing. Many times, I get new, fresh ideas once I leave my computer.

Looking forward

So as we look tentatively towards a time when maybe we will all be back together in the office, keep connected and stay productive but most importantly stay safe.

Source: Office for National Statistics – Opinions and Lifestyle Survey

"Personal accountability requires mindfulness, acceptance, honesty, and courage."

— Shelby Martin