There's a child babbling away in the background, you're dressed smartly from the waist up for those Zoom meetings, and your third cup of coffee is making your eyes twitch. Sounds like you're working from home!
It's a situation that has been prompted by the Covid-19 virus. With any luck, companies will come out of this realising that working from home does work and that there is little excuse not to offer this level of flexibility to employees who need it.
However, it should not have taken this pandemic to act as a catalyst. As Rebecca Cokley wrote in a recent blog post:
"With the outbreak of COVID-19, we’re beginning to see schools and employers make what would have once been seen as radical shifts to change how we learn and work. Yet many of these proposed solutions are things the disability community has been asking for — and denied — for decades."
It is a point worth emphasising before we jump into our home-working tips today. It is a point worth emphasising whenever we get the opportunity to do so. For people with chronic illnesses or other health impairments, flexible working arrangements can be the difference between struggling and thriving at work.
Let's keep banging the drum for this after the Coronavirus pandemic is over.
- What to-do? If you weren't a 'to-do' list person before, you're probably at least thinking about it now. It can feel a bit of a free-for-all when you're working from home if you're not used to it, so having a list of tasks, sorted by order of priority, is a solid idea. You can even plan in some treat points to keep you going. Two tasks complete? Cup of tea and a Custard Cream.
- What to wear? There are couple of schools of thought when it comes to work-from-home attire. Some people like to dress smartly to get in 'the zone' where others prefer to prioritise comfort. It does seem to help to get out of the pyjamas in the morning, but there's nothing to say you can't switch to a fresh pair of joggers.
- How to parent? We've taken this tip from Brooke Lea Foster: "Give your child a nonverbal 'Do not disturb' when you need quiet time. Perhaps you could wear a tiara when you're on the phone to signify that kids are not allowed to make noise or interrupt, unless there's an emergency."
- When to work? It can be tempting to check your emails in the evening or at the weekend when every day seems the same and you're not sure what to do with yourself, but make sure your downtime remains that way. Is there a book you've been meaning to read? A TED Talk you've been wanting to watch? Add these things to your schedule. They're important for your well-being too.
Have we missed any top tips? Add your suggestions below. We'd love to hear from you.
And - if you're a key worker who can't work from home and who is doing their job to keep us safe, supported and productive - thank you. You are amazing.