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Tips if you're new to working at home

By Sabina Piter, Head of Performance Media | March 20th 2020

If you've never worked from home for a long stretch before, it's bound to take some getting used to. Our colleague, Sabina Piter, Head of Performance Media, has been based in her home office for over a year. Here's what she learned.

You'll miss the commute

Not the actual huddle and bustle, but the time-out the commute gives you between work and home. Devise ways to 'replace the commute'. I walk the dog before/after work or do little things around the house or take time to listen to a podcast, read a book or watch a video.

You'll move less

On top of no commute, chances are your house or flat will be tiny compared to an office. You won't have as much space or opportunities to move around. Mitigate against this. Set reminders to get up, stand up, walk around, stretch and go for a walk if you can enforce social distancing while out and about. Try and exercise at home too (lots of apps can help from Fitbit, 8fit, sweat are some examples).

Make yourself a nice lunch. Use the extra time to read, exercise, spend it with family/friends/flatmates, learn something new, meditate. Pay your sleep debt. Do what makes you happy!

You might not drink enough water

Keep a water bottle on your desk and set reminders to drink water which will make you get up and walk to the sink at least!

Your posture could be bad

Unless you have a proper desk and chair that's suited for 'office work', your posture may suffer and so may your back! Be mindful of that and correct it, set yourself up in the best possible way.

You'll be drawn to comfy home clothes

Your energy and mental state will benefit if you maintain the same routine as before and 'get ready for work'. No need to be suited and booted, but don't work in your pyjamas either.

You might not take (enough) breaks

There's always that one last thing to do! And maybe just one more time! Set time blocks/cut off points and enforce them. Use an alarm at set times to take breaks, to have lunch, to finish work.

You'll miss chatting with people

Whether it's about work or just a friendly chat, working from home doesn't allow the same opportunities - especially if you live alone. Go for a virtual coffee or lunch with a colleague or a friend - just zoom or call and chat!

You'll need 'me time'

If you live with other people and you're all spending 24/7 together, you'll need to take time for yourself. Spend some time on your own, read a book, take a long bath. Self-care is important!

You'll be tempted by home distractions

Think of your workspace and work time, in the same way you think about the office. You might feel weird about the blurred lines between home vs work. There's always interruptions and temptation in work, but working from home doesn't mean there aren't any. They're just different types of distractions at home - family, TV, loading the dishwasher, watering the plants. I found it useful to think about it this way: if you weren't engaging in that activity in the office, don't do it at home during office hours either. Setting boundaries between workspace and time and home space and time keeps clarity and helps your productivity.

You're getting some time back. Enjoy it!

All the commuting time is now yours. Spend it wisely. Make yourself a nice lunch. Use the extra time to read, exercise, spend it with family/friends/flatmates, learn something new, meditate. Pay your sleep debt. Do what makes you happy!

This is by no means an exhaustive list and the experience will be different for everyone. But we hope that this one person's experience might help.

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