Working from HomeBack to All News
In this week's article, Caroline shares her thoughts on Working From Home....
This week marks my 8th week of working from home, and I feel now that his has become my norm. I can barely remember the pain of my commute to Manchester or how it feels to work in a busy office interacting with other people all day.
How to Work Well From Home
One of my first and most prominent lessons that I learnt was that you can be very busy doing nothing. Working from home is no different to working in the office in that respect, although I have found that I need to plan my day even more strictly now that I am working from home. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is because I am now my own Receptionist. Administrator, Resourcer and BDM and so whereas in the office I could plan specific tasks and call back people in my own time, every query now needs to be dealt with immediately. Therefore my “to do” lists are shorter and more specific with the most important tasks written down first and lots of room for impromptu activities, so I can get everything done without giving myself a hard time. I have to write everything down otherwise I definitely will forget to do things. I am still learning though and I am still finding myself constantly busy all day long, but I like being busy so it isn’t too much of a problem.
One of the other lessons I learnt very quickly was that pyjamas were a no go! For my own self pride I need to still have some sort of morning routine of getting dressed for work – albeit this normally involves sports clothes rather than a dress and heels – unless of course I have a Zoom meeting in which case this might stretch to a smart T-shirt (just for the top half of the body of course!)
The Daily Commute
This is the highlight of WFH for me – my normal commute to Manchester is over an hour long and has been replaced with a 5 second jog down the stairs. This now gives me time to not only have a lie in, but to also go for a run before work and I now start my day feeling relaxed and refreshed!
I have NEVER before been a runner – I have always played team sports and attended the gym but now I find the best way to start my day is to go for a run…I have really surprised myself and so now 3 days a week I get up extra early and run 3 miles before work. I feel that on these days I am so much more motivated and focused and these tend to be my most productive days of the week! I would recommend to everyone if you can get out even for a brisk walk before you start your day it will do wonders for your productivity.
At lunchtime in the office we would normally do a gym class so I have been trying to do one of these each day at home as well. I think I am currently signed up to Peloton / Les Mills on Demand / Jessica Ennis and Bannatyne Gym YouTube Channel ( I have become addicted to home workout aps!) so the hardest part is deciding which one to do each day but I would recommend them to anyone who has been missing the gym classes whilst we are all at home.
Well it’s a really good job that I am doing all this exercise as working so close to the fridge has been tough!
- Had a good call? – Let’s reward myself with a digestive
- Temps all turned up? – Have a cake to celebrate
And this is how the day continues…
Some people like to work with a soft noise in the background, like a TV or music but not me. I like my workspace to be the same volume as when I go to sleep at night - complete silence! I am having to set myself away somewhere in the house with the door closed. I do have the odd interruption – mainly from the dogs, and sometimes at very inopportune times – last week Hudson (my black lab) decided to wait until I was mid-call with a client to try to kill the cat; thankfully he was not quick enough!
What does a typical day look like?
I am now into a pretty regular routine of doing sales in the morning and candidate and admin tasks in the afternoon, which reminds me of the days when I worked as a Recruitment Consultant I would always do client calls in the morning! I have also found that it is important to take regular breaks – especially if like me you are not normally sat at your computer 24 /7 - it can be a big change and at first was giving me eye strain and headaches. Unfortunately I am now responsible for 100% of my own brews so I am probably drinking half as many as I was in the office!
What happens at 5.30?
For the first 3 weeks (or perhaps 5), what happened at 5.30 was another reward (see snacking) for making it through another day – but this time it was a gin (or a wine). A few weeks ago I made the decision to not drink midweek, but still wanted something to signify the end of the working day (who knew I would miss my journey home!). Instead of alcohol I now take my dogs for a walk – leaving the work phone at home for an hour which is probably a lot better for my liver (unless it’s Friday when the wine comes out at 5pm!) I do think it’s hard sometimes to differentiate between the working and non-working day when you are at home – unless you are working from a home office that you can “leave and shut the door” it’s good to have something that signifies the end of the day.
The Future of Working From Home
It looks like it may be a while before it is “business as usual” and I think this period of time will see a lot of business rethink the logistics of working. Expensive offices may be replaced with smaller workplaces with more flexibility for home and office working. The mindset of – more hours in the office = more output of work is under question with many people proving that with self motivation they can be productive in any surroundings! I have found some definite benefits to working from home, I know myself I have been a lot more efficient with administrative and planning tasks in quieter surroundings.
That aside though, I have missed my normal job – I love being a manager and I have missed working closely with my team. It has been hard not having anyone to bounce ideas with, and I have missed the satisfaction of coaching, training and mentoring people and seeing them improve and succeed. I have missed the buzz of a busy day in the office, and of course the banter and I have definitely missed the 3pm coffee that arrives on my desk! For me, the days of working in an office are definitely not over….I think there will be others people out there who feel the same as me…how are you all feeling….?