June 29, 2020

Corona times - Working from home, my tips

As you may know, I've worked from home way before the Corona times and as in some cases working from home will be the new normal for at lest the next few months, here are some things that worked for me.
My windowsill office at the beginning of Corona Times

Change clothes

I know it seems like a small thing, but it does help. At the beginning I would spent the whole day in a pyjama or in some joggers and a t-shirt, often the ones I've slept in and changed them right before I went to bed. At some point I put on jeans to walk Luna and little by little I have a sort of the same routine as of someone going to an office all day. I wake up, change into other clothes, even if they are also joggers and t-shirt, and then open the laptop and start working. I think that at a mental level there is a switch and I feel like I separate more the working time from the home and family time.

Make a to do list

I am a big fan of lists, but this also works. I have my calendar with all the meetings and stuff to do for those meetings, but in my case I have a daily to do list and then a monthly to do list. My biggest satisfaction is to check things off the list. I put on my "to do" list even tasks outside of work, such as writing posts for my blog.

Have a dedicated office space

I have a desk with a pc. That is my working space. When I'm there I work and everyone in the house knows that I should not be, if possible, disturbed. My desk is in the living room, but you can have an office room or a windowsill as I did when my husband was as well working from home, or the ironing board in my laundry room when my zoom meetings should be private. It also helps to mentally separate the home world from the office world.

Maintain regular office breaks

Most of my friends say that they seem to work from home longer than at the office and that is because at home on one comes to your desk to have a chat, there are no lunch brakes and no cigarette or coffee brakes either. You also have to schedule those breaks. Now it is even better that my husband also works from home and we both sit for lunch, but at the beginning I skipped lunch a lot or I had a sandwich over the keyboard. That was wrong. Now I walk Luna down the street, 20 minutes, and that is my coffee break. 

Be very unyielding (had no idea that also meant firm) about office hours

So if you decide that at 6 p.m. your working hours are over then they are over. No more checking the office email, no more meetings, no more work. At the beginning I thought "so what if I have a little meeting?" "so what if I solve this one last email?". A small tip, no one expects a reply right away especially if they send that email after working hours. Working in an office building meant that at 8 p.m. the guards would come and kick you out, at home there are no guards, so you have to be very firm about working hours.

Be kind to yourself

We live strange times, so what if your kid makes an appearance on zoom? So what if during a meeting you go and help your kid or your dog with something? No one expects you to be office all day and if they do, it is not the right environment for you. We have lives outside the office and now that the office is home and everyone is also home, you will see my kid and dog, you will hear my husband or my neighbours, you will see my messy couch and my uneven paintings on the wall. It is my space and it says a lot about who I am. I personally don't like to work with people who have an empty wall behind their back. I like working with people who have book shelves with little knick-knacks as I have them, too. I love working with creative people who made an effort with their personal space.

Funny story my colleague works from his couch and at the beginning of the pandemic everything was neat and tight around him. Day by day he added things to that couch and now after three months of working from home you can't even see the couch anymore. :)

Also, one of my clients was so focused on a zoom call one day that she did not notice her son was painting the furniture in the background. The funny thing is we did not notice that either :)

As usual you can find me on Instagram @mademoiselle.ralu

P.S. There is no rule of conduct on zoom, but if the person in front of you has the camera open, you should also keep the camera open. I've been in numerous calls presenting something and having no feedback from the audience. It is awful. 

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