If you're a Member of DU or have been to any Generator/Digital Union events, you may have met me before. I'm also the one who makes all the cracking content we have online. My name is Alex, and I am the Digital Marketing Lead here at Generator!
We are now in some super scary and unprecedented times, and a lot of us, who’s work may be cloud-based or accessible via laptop, are now working from home.
As someone who ran a business for 2 years and worked from home for this period, I know it can feel very isolating and the idea of it being “fun” can wear off after only a few days. Sometimes that commute to work, whether your walk, cycle, take the bus or drive, can actually be beneficial in that it breaks up your day into personal life and work life. It’s the buffer between your home life, which is where you eat, sleep, and relax, and your work life. When we lose that buffer, it can be really hard to adapt, especially if you don’t usually work from home and enjoy having a team of people around you!
If you don’t usually work from home or are struggling to adapt to this new way of working, I’ve put together my top tips for staying productive and getting through the workday.
1. Separate your personal life from your work life.
You may not be able to leave your house or flat, but you can still split your day into personal and work time. One big thing I have learned is to never work from your bed or even your bedroom, if you can avoid it. Your bedroom is a place for sleep and relaxation and working from your bed, while it may be comfy, blurs the lines between sleep and work. This can mean losing sleep and definitely a lack of productivity, no matter how much you promise yourself that you will get work done! Instead, I have been using our home office or working on the kitchen table. Keep your bedroom as a place of solitude – you won’t regret it at the end of each day.
2. Leave the house early in the morning for the gym or a walk, to separate waking up and starting work.
This was a tip given to me by Sarah, our Tipping Point assistant! She said she found it useful to go out for a walk early in the morning, or head to the shops (if there’s anything still on the shelves) in order to create that barrier between personal life and work life. You’re leaving your house like you would on a normal day, which can help trick your brain into thinking things are semi-normal.
3. Stick to your routine. I can’t stress this enough.
If you got up at 7am, exercised, got ready for work and started work at 9am before this epidemic, follow that same routine now (if possible). It can be easy to let things slip when working from home, but sticking to your routine will help keep you in work mode and stay productive. Never work in your pyjamas either, for the same reason as not working in bed as I outlined above. Shower, get dressed, and do everything you would do on an ordinary morning before sitting down to work! This will also prevent you from feeling sluggish and tired. Keep the pyjama days for Sundays…
4. Use software like Microsoft Teams to communicate with your team and have regular check-ins or daily stand-ups.
The Generator team have recently adopted Microsoft Teams as our new way of communicating with each other. It’s also great for storing files, keeping track of projects, and making to-do lists. Teams has a ‘Meet’ feature where you can set up a video call with your colleagues and have team meetings. From the outset, we decided that it was super important that we used this daily to keep everyone feeling a little more connected to each other and maintain the daily ‘stand-ups’ that we would usually do at the office. Stand-ups take place every morning at 10:30am, and consist of everyone giving the team a quick run-through of what tasks they are doing today, any important updates, and anything we may need from each other. It’s a great way to not only keep everyone accountable but also to re-connect with each other and keep the business moving as it usually would.
5. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a colleague or friend if you’re struggling.
Things are very weird and dystopian right now, and if you’re anything like me, this is probably triggering a lot of anxious thoughts and stress. Every single person is in the same boat, and we are lucky enough to have technology advanced enough to connect with anyone at any given time, without physical contact!
These are just some basic tips, however, I hope they are useful in getting through this period of craziness. It feels really strange to be working from home again after over a year of working in a tight-knit office, so I feel like I’m learning these things all over again! Best of luck to everyone 😊