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6 practical tips for working from home

We're a little off topic in today's post in terms of skincare, but totally on-topic in terms of what is uppermost in everyone's mind - coronavirus or COVID-19. As we've previously written, we're not experts on anything much (except maybe publishing) so we're not here to offer anything on the medical or care side of things. For that please go to sites like this and this and this.

However, what we do know about from a really practical perspective is something that many of you are having to do for the first time: work from home.

Our parent business is a home-based business. My 'boss' has a great office space in her home and others of us who work with the group (including on this side project of also work from home. We're all connected by various mechanisms such as email, Slack and WhatsApp. When we want to or need to meet, we generally go to a cafe. The others we work with are located elsewhere Sydney, Australia and the world.

And when it comes to the bottom-line, we just get things done.

So we know a thing or two about working from home and not being distracted.

I'm also a mum to three girls under 9 - all school age. As I write this, today is their first actual day at home due to the school being largely closed and they're busy in their rooms doing tasks assigned to them for the moment. But I'm not going to write about that as I expect that will be a whole different kettle of fish as time goes by ... so far, so good (I'll let you know how we go!)

I do want to write about how to make the most out of working from home and how to be effective in doing so.

1. Make sure you have a routine

The worst thing you can do is drift in-and-out of doing work and being tempted by other things. For me, once I get the girls to school and have a morning coffee, I work for four hours from 10.30am to 2.30pm. I have other friends who work far more hours than that and they have a similar regimen of keeping to specified hours. It helps ensure you get things done; it helps others you work with know when you're available and when you're not - and they can plan around that; it helps your friends and family know you're not available then.

2. Have a defined work space

This may not be easy if you've suddenly had to create a workspace in your home. Whatever you do, don't make that space in your bedroom as that's not a place where you want to feel wide awake - which you do when at work. The ideal situation is a specific room, but that's not possible for most people. I have set myself up a corner in our dining area/living room with a stylish desk that looks like it belongs but is also functional. It helps that I'm a really tidy worker also, who does almost everything electronically!

3. Stay connected

I mentioned that our small business stays connected through email, Slack and What's App. We have a regular (fortnightly) face-to-face catch-up at a cafe or, if for longer than usual, at one of those work spaces you can rent by the hour. Of course, we won't be doing that for a while. In the off-fortnight for a personal catch-up, we all connect by telephone at the beginning of the week just to touch base.

4. But don't stay connected

This is generally true for switching-off, whether you're working in an office or from home. It's less relevant to me as a part-timer but I do try to get my other half to abide by this ... make a time after which you will not respond to work phone calls, text messages, emails etcetera. It's good for your health and for relationships!

5. Get outside

I spend time outdoors every day but even if you're working full time, you should try it also. Go for a walk to the park, walk around the block, do some gardening, walk to the shops to buy those few things you need, have your morning coffee or lunch outside, or even just stand around outside and inhale some fresh air for a 60-second break. To make this related to our main topic - a bit of Vitamin D and fresh air is essential for our skin and general wellbeing. Obviously, this depends on the restrictions put on us over the coming weeks and months.

6. Focus on the positive

Rather than focussing on a sense of 'isolation', focus on the positive. You can still start work at 8.30am but not have to leave home so early! You won't have people wandering over to your desk for a chat during the day, so you'll get more done. You'll save money on transport and/or parking costs, as well as make-up and take-away coffee. You'll feel energised by achieving more. And when life can get back to normal, it will be a reason for celebration with your colleagues!

All the best in the coming weeks and months.

Remember to wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow or tissue (and dispose), keep your distance and don't touch your face! Stay safe everyone.

#coronavirus #workingfromhome


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