Covid19 has forced upon us, the world’s largest work from home experiment ever seen.
For some this shift has been pretty seamless, for others, there has been a struggle to get up to speed with new work practices, online communication as well as the discipline and mind set needed to work effectively from home.
For those that might be struggling, we wanted to share some top tips from our freelance community members, who are pretty much ‘pro’s’ when it comes to working remotely, given around 80% of the work via our platform is remote based.
So what are the key takeaways and top tips!
James Fitzpatrick- Writer and Communications Consultant: ‘Don’t be tempted to wear your dressing gown all day. Whilst there is no need to wear the full suit, going to a little effort helps put you in the right mind-set.’
Louisa Clack – PR Consultant: ‘Put on shoes! There is something about wearing shoes that changes your mind-set. Also with shoes you won’t be tempted to curl up on the sofa. I sometimes wear some really nice heels at home because I don’t have to walk far in them!’
Have a designated work space
Nadia El Meallem – PR Consultant: ‘Make sure you have a comfortable and designated working space. Keep your area clear of clutter and if you can, make sure you pack everything away at the end of the day and at weekends to have that mental break from work. ‘
James Fitzpatrick: ‘ Try and replicate your office work station; don’t be tempted to just setup on the couch – it can be really bad for your posture and motivation (particularly if you get too comfy).’
Louisa Clack: ‘If you can designate a working space and try to keep it separate from the rest of your household activities. I’m lucky enough to have a personal office above my garage which is perfect as I have a ‘commute’ (of 20 seconds…) and it’s away from everything else so the dining room and lounge remain places for relaxation.’
Claire Bustin,-PR Consultant: ‘ If you are using a temporary office, try to have a blank wall behind you for video calls and sit near a window so you get the natural light.’
Plan your day
Claire Bustin: ‘Routine is everything, start your day at the same time and finish at the same time when you can. ‘
Nadia El Meallem: ‘Organise your work and set clear goals at the start of each day. It can be easy to get distracted whilst working from home and drift from one thing to another. If you have outlined your to-do’s and intentions at the start of the day it will be easier to stick to this and follow through.’
Ben Maynard-Tech PP Consultant: ‘Key for me is routine, especially with the children off as well. Its important to establish and stick with a routine for work and let everyone know its ‘work’ time. ‘
Regular contact with clients and colleagues
Ben Maynard: ‘It’s important to keep a routine with clients, without regular meetings or calls they can loose track of projects and campaigns. Now more than ever it is important to stick to regular calls and updates.’
Nadia El Meallem: ‘Maintain regular contact and update your clients. In addition to a weekly call, I usually email clients a weekly update on a Friday outlining all activity for the week and some pointers on what the following week will look like. ‘
Amy Hewis – Social Media strategist: ‘If you’re in a team, suggest after work or lunchtime catch ups to have a chat and check in on each other. If you work by yourself, suggest a virtual coffee and catch up with your clients!’
Louisa Clack: ‘Pick up the phone when you can or if your company doesn’t have it already, suggest Slack. Try to avoid clogging up people’s inboxes with questions you’d normally just call over across your desk. Your co-workers will appreciate it, believe me.’
Ron Finlay – Communications Consultant: ‘Video conferencing is fab these days. Google meet, Zoom and Microsoft Teams all seem equally good. What’s nice is the increased intimacy you get from seeing people (and them seeing you) in your home workspace!’
Claire Bustin: ‘Call clients don’t just resort to email’. Join Facebook groups for brainstorming or just to talk things though.’
Take regular breaks and exercise
Claire Bustin: ‘Get up and move around each hour- work standing up if you can. I do calls standing up. Schedule time for coffee and a lunch break. In the current situation I’ve replaced my lunchtime walk with a workout instead.’
Nadia El Meallem: ‘Make sure to take regular breaks and be mindful of screen time. Try and take at least a 20 min brisk walk outside (unless self-isolating) and fit in daily exercise, which is great for mental clarity.’
Ben Maynard: ‘One big difference I’ve found working for myself from home, is that you don’t get interrupted by the normal hubbub of a busy office. This is good in many ways – I can focus, I work faster and with higher attention than I ever could in an office. But is is also easy to find you’ve been sitting at your desk for 4 or more hours without even stretching. Without interruptions you need to plan in breaks in order to stay sharp, active and healthy. I put them into my calendar as meetings so that I get reminders.’
Louisa Clack: ‘Don’t feel like you have to be online constantly. In the office you’d have little chats, walk to get a cup of tea, have meetings. So try and keep your day varied.’
‘Back up your work – more of a boring practical one, but if you’re not using your office equipment anymore or are not storing on a cloud server, get a memory drive and just save all work onto there. Trust me, if you have an IT issue and you’re at home, it will take a lifetime to fix!’
‘From a more humorous point of view, I saw a great suggestion online for couples working together from home for the first time; Invent a fake co-worker who you can both blame for always leaving the mugs around the house !’
‘Relax! You can’t do everything, everyone is in a new situation and will completely understand if things take a little longer than usual, especially if you are in constant communication. Also, involve family – half-hour reading with Grandma over facetime will ensure the children are occupied!’
-Vicky Hutchinson – Digital marketing specialist.