We are living through unnerving times. Government advice is changing daily, and unprecedented numbers of us are having to adapt our working habits until the storm passes.
So we've put together a little list of tips and tricks, based on our own team's experiences of working from home offices.
1. First things first. Create a distinct gap between your bed and your new office. It may be tempting to roll out of bed straight onto the laptop, but it's important to create a distinction between home life and work life. If you're used to commuting, why not "walk to work"? Use your allotted daily exercise slot by strolling around the block for 30 minutes (being sure to stay AT LEAST two metres away from other people). One of our team can't switch on their Mac without putting on a pair of shoes, even if they're only walking up the stairs to work!
2. Create a distinct working area if you can. If you're lucky enough to have a spare room, set up a desk and shut the door. Slouching on the sofa with your laptop may be tempting, but you're unlikely to be productive with with one eye on Friends!
3. If you're self-isolating with family, make sure they understand that you are actually at work, and respect your time and space.*
4. Set a routine and try to stick to it. If you're usually in the office between 8am and 6pm, do the same.
5. Schedule your day in the best way for you. At Public, some of our team like to Eat That Frog first thing in the morning, while others prefer to save the difficult tasks or sticky problems for mid-morning after two strong Espressos.
6. Keep in touch with colleagues or fellow freelancers – use technology to stay connected and remain visible. You could even set up a regular morning meeting to remain accountable to your team and to yourself. We're regular users of Skype and Microsoft Teams, and have now started using Zoom for wider group meetings.
7. Log out of your social media accounts to remove the temptation to peek every ten minutes while no-one's looking!
8. Have breaks. Get away from your desk. If you can, spend a few minutes in your garden or balcony, or open a window.
9. If you have friends also working from home, arrange a lunchtime Skype call.
10. Set a definite finish time and mark it in some way. It may be tempting to work on into the evening, but if you can it's important to stop work at a reasonable time, and enjoy some much-needed downtime.
Above all, try to remember that despite the huge challenges we're facing, this WILL be over. Look forward to the "return to normality", or whatever the "new normal" will be.
Keep healthy, stay indoors, look after yourselves and each other, and we look forward to seeing you IN PERSON in a few months' time.
Sarah and all at Public
* If you have school-age children at home, your attempts to do this may be difficult/impossible/futile.