I used to love working from home. I felt relaxed and as long as I kept on top of my workload I could do the hours I wanted to. The flexibility was fantastic, but also meant I often had to work evenings/weekends in order to catch up, which I didn’t mind at the time, but with hindsight I probably ended up overcompensating and working more hours than I needed to. Also, even though I have a proper home office, I was constantly interrupted by my family. I have 2 young children and again I loved the extra time I spent with them, but it’s not 100% conducive to working. I now work in the office with the rest of the team, but occasionally work from home, so I get the best of both worlds.
My tips for working from home would be:-
Have a daily routine and stick to it as much as possible.
Get out as much as possible. I used to go running on a morning for an hour or so after the kids had gone to school and then get on with work, it seemed to set me up well for the rest of the day. I would also go out for lunch as much as possible. Now that didn’t necessarily mean buying out, but just meant getting out. Meeting friends/family for a break, just something to get you out of the house regularly. Do a bit of work at a coffee shop.
Don’t have your office right next to the kitchen.
Learn to turn off the computer and all devices. Have a time that you turn off and stick to it.
Good advice from @Mjbill. As someone who has gone back and forth over the years between office and home working, I now work mainly from home.
I’ve found a few good habits that help:
Dress as if you were going to work. If you’re not client facing on a video call, wear what you’re comfortable in but do the morning routine - shower, breakfast, coffee etc. You need to feel like you’ve set yourself up for the day
Exercise. Since I left my last office job this has been the biggest struggle for me. Before, I was in the gym almost every day near work, as there were always people heading over and it was like a mini club. Now, pretty much everyone I know is at work and as someone who thrives from competition I struggle with motivation. It’s important though.
Buy a massive water pitcher and take it full to your office every morning and afternoon. If it’s there, you’ll hydrate properly.
If you like coffee or tea, invest in the good stuff. This has been a mini revelation to me. We bought a proper cafetiere and loose leaf teapot and buy the proper stuff. In a world where you tend not to see people for lunches, a breakfast meeting or those days some legend brought in a treat for the office, a small investment in quality makes me feel like I’ve had a little treat. Might sound small, but it really works for me.
Your office space (if you have one) is not really a bedroom that Auntie Ethel gets when she wants to stay. This is your space to work; defend it and make sure everyone respects it.
My current favourite thing about WFH; at various times during the day when they can see I’m not on calls or head down in a heavy doc (which we signify with a shut door) my daughter will often come into my office to say hello, tell me about an episode of Dora Explorer (or some other high brow offering) and give me a hug. I cannot get that from being in the office 24/7 and I cannot explain the worth of that to anyone who doesn’t experience it but it’s incredible.
This is my biggest challenge. As of yesterday I have turned off work email and Slack on my phone. I found that I was never switching off. If I was watching TV with my partner I’d check in on work in the ads and then he’d get cross when I was still making him pause half an hour later. I would hear myself telling the kids that I’d answer them in a minute because I was just reading an email. I had a problem! Now, work happens on my laptop only (with small exceptions for really important things, I expect).
My biggest tip around exercise is doing it first thing. I get up at 5am, work for an hour, and then go to the gym. It’s the best time of day to exercise (from a metabolism POV) and you don’t end up making excuses not to go over the day. If we have a team meeting scheduled (we have them at my 6am) I make sure I block out gym time in my calendar later in the day.
I don’t take a lunch break (there’s no one to talk to!) so I make sure I take 10 mins at the end of every couple of hours and do a house related task that involves moving around.
The thing I found the most interesting at the session I mentioned in the OP is the number of people that recommend having an office and only working in there. I have an office, but I get incredibly restless if I stay there all day. I find that I’m much more productive if I move around the house.
Even at the office, I’ve set an alarm on my phone to go off every hour to force me to get off my backside and have a walk around for 5 minutes. I always go out of the office on my lunch break, sometimes for a run (don’t worry, we have a shower at the office) but mostly for a walk. Mental and physical fitness is important when you are sat down most of the day.
Very good question and I think it’s really overlooked considering the investment most top firms put into the corporate office environment.
Luckily for me the entire family is very fit and we motivate each other by competing on our Watt Bike, Ski Erg, C2 etc.
I’ve given up weights though (even though I have a Smiths Machine in the home ‘gym’) and now get all my toning exercise from Pilates and in particular by following Sean Vigue (I pay for his subscription service but his YT channel is excellent too). Pilates is great - try a few downward dogs to military press ups on the floor of your office - tends to make you keep it clean as a bonus
Great idea - hadn’t considered that.
For years my spaniel was my reason to go out - but he passed away Saturday and apart from the huge feeling of loss I’m already concerned about the lack of reasons to get out regularly.
Not forgetting the office environment itself - I’ve invested quite heavily in furniture (some of it bespoke) including a Herman Miller chair, plus good quality audio (Radio 4 iPlayer on iPad above ). I’m addicted to audio books (currently listening to The Romanovs 1613 - 1918, although you have to be careful to match the book with the type of work you are doing.
I love the idea of setting an exercise goal for the day and being held accountable! I just joined dietbet, it’s a community/app where you bet on your own weight loss, those who hit the 4% goal over the 4 week period get a portion of the pot which is at $90k at the moment!