New Zealand has now been in official complete lock down for 10 days and I’ve been meaning to write this post since day one (work has been crazy)! As I sit here in my beautiful house with my amazing family, I’m thinking about how my experience over the last ten years of working from home can help others, so I thought I’d share my tips:
It's easy to get sucked into the work and never get away. You’re used to going to work every day where you have separation from your life. Now, your life and work are intermingled. Start and stop work at your usual times. If, like me, you work with international clients on different time zones and have to work ‘after hours’, make sure you take time in lieu.
It's also important to breaks - get up and stretch, go make a coffee or cup of tea. Step outside for a moment to breath the air.
Create a great space and don't do anything else in that space. Many of you have had to take your work, and in some cases your computers, monitors and even chairs, home. You may have set up your work station at the dining table, or perhaps you’ve got a spare room, or a corner at the top of the stairs. Obviously, if it’s at the dining table, it’s pretty hard to follow this recommendation, but maybe you can set up a screen or only use the table for work during this time.
If you do have the luxury of a separate space, make it beautiful – a place you really want to be. I would share a picture of my own office but, at the moment, I’m not practising what I preach – this is about to change. Andy came home with computers and monitors, and we had to move my sewing desk out of the spare room into the office. It’s all a mess – that’s a project I need to tackle.
Your office may currently look like this.
If it does, you really are running the risk of going absolutely mad during lockdown! Trying to work amongst chaos will make you feel depressed and anxious. (Hence why I need to clean up my own act.)
Here’s some inspiration for what your office space could look like.
If you only have a closet, perhaps you could make it look fabulous like this one:
Or perhaps you have a whole room you can play with and can create something amazing like this:
I eat lunch outside in the garden or go for a walk. If it’s raining I stand on my deck and look out at the World.
Maybe you don’t have a great view like I do, I know I’m lucky, but there must be something close by that will make you feel good.
Whatever that is, make it a priority, every day.
If you need to human contact, call someone. Some of you may be isolated alone. If this is the case, it’s important to speak to someone at least once a day. Maybe you shout out a hello to a neighbour walking their dog – this is a great time to get to know your neighbours, or maybe you call someone or do a Zoom call. Whatever it takes. Make it happen.
The last tip, for me, is the most important to stop me feeling depressed. Get dressed every day as though it was casual Friday. I know that some people think it’s really strange that I ‘dress up’ to go to work in my own home. This really helps me stay sane. If I went to work every day in my jammies, I’d be a mess. Getting up and putting on some nice clothes, jewellery, makeup, etc helps me to feel like I’m going to work. It also helps me to feel better about myself. Even if you are alone all the time, this will help. It will also put you in the right mindset to work.
If you think that you can get away with just dressing your top half, think again. Chances are, when you’re on that Skype or Zoom call, there’ll be a knock at the door, or one of the kids will need you, or the dog will need to go out, and you’ll have to stand up and show off your bottom half.
Take my word for it, dressing to go to work, even if it’s in your office, is important.
So those are my tips. I hope it helps.
Please stay safe, stay home and stay well during this time.
April 2, 2020