Avoiding Home Working Pitfalls: A Guide

Remote Working Blog Series: How to Avoid the Perils of Home Working!

As a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic, employees have been displaced from their traditional office locations to work remotely in an effort to practice social distancing. For some, this is a new way of working. For others, it’s an adjustment working from home alongside partners, children, and housemates. 

In the following weeks, Pontoon Solutions will publish a blog series written by remote colleagues sharing their experiences and tips for navigating this new world of work. 

Join our #remoteworkchallenge on LinkedIn and Twitter by sharing your remote work setup or commenting with your own tips and experiences! 

How to Avoid the Perils of Working from Home!

Mark Doyle
Global Marketing Team

Unfortunately, I really love vacuuming. I was even bought a t-shirt once with I LOVE VACUUMING on it. I was known for it. I don’t know what it was about vacuuming I liked so much, but I think it’s got something to do with the fact that I’ve spent quite a lot of my working life freelancing or working from home. The link? All will become apparent very soon.

The current Covid-19 crisis that has enveloped the world and touched every aspect of life, has created a very stressful, and very isolating new world. So many people have been affected by this virus, and many more will soon. For many workers, changes to their work/life balance have been huge. Some are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, and many are doing so for the first time. Some are going to struggle. I know that struggle all too well! Here are my tips for staying sane at home.

  1. Stay in your routine – it’s easy to let your daily routine go to pot when working from home. Don’t! It’s the bedrock of making home working work. Get up at the normal time, do your work out, take your kids to school, then start work at the usual time. Have lunch at the usual time. Finish work at the usual time. Stick to it. It’s more important than you think. The real killer for working from home is thinking you can put something off until later because, hey, you’re at home! My laptop is right here. I can do something else for half an hour and finish that report this evening. Don’t get into that mindset!
  1. Following on from that and tying neatly back to vacuuming – distractions. There are a million in the home. There are a million in the workplace too, but the ones at home are more insidious. Daytime television. The washing up. Prepping for dinner. Vacuuming… argh! It’s all there, staring at you. Things you wouldn’t normally see or care about until you got home. Banish them from your mind. Stay in your routine. Ignore the fact you are home. You’re not. Until you knock off for the day, you are AT WORK!
  1. TO DO LISTS – make one. For work and for home. Separate them. During work time, do the work ones and tick them off. When finished working for the day, do the home ones. Why this? Well, it will stop you obsessing about home stuff when you are working. It really does work and keeps work/home compartmentalised in your brain.
  1. Get out during the day – if you can. You might be in isolation, and there are other things you can do in that situation. But if you are not in isolation try and get out for at least 20 minutes – go into the garden, take a stroll to the park, observing all the correct WHO sanctioned social distancing rules. It’s important to switch environments when working from home. If you cannot do this because you are in isolation, then make sure you switch the focus of your brain – watch something on TV during your lunch, play a musical instrument, read a book, play a video game – do something else. Do not, if you are  on your ‘work time’ at home, spend your lunch break eating at your laptop doing work – take a proper break from ‘the desk’ and engage your brain in something else that’s fun or distracting. But stick to the hour, and stick to the routine.
  1. Use Teams or Skype to keep in contact with work colleagues. Check in with them regularly. Video call them. Staying connected is important and will help normalise your routine. Colleagues also make work fun and varied. Stay in touch. If you work freelance and solo, then stay in touch with friends or family whilst working. Put them on a call and work as you chat. I have done this many times when working solo freelance in a hotel room or café. But make sure you keep those social bonds going. They can really make a difference between having a bad day and a good day.

I hope these help you if you are taking your first step into working from home full time. Stay safe and take care of your family and friends!

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