Working from home for the novice
New to working from home? Alex Taylor from the Children and Youth Ministry Support team offers us his tips from 7 years experience of working from home.
Now that the government has recommended working from home for those who can, you might find yourself with the prospect of the sofa, the dining table or your great-auntie Margaret’s antique card table instead of your office. I’ve been working from home for more than seven years now, so I thought I’d share how I made it work for me. We’re all different though; different things might work for you!
Get into a routine.
Try to maintain office hours, so that you don’t lie in bed all day or end up working into the night. Get up, have breakfast, get dressed and get to it. Having a routine helps to keep that work/life balance and keeps you on track. You can have a bit of a lie-in though, as you won’t have far to commute.
Find a place to work.
If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, set up a temporary office there. This helps me focus on work and not get distracted by other things or get tempted to eat all the food in my house. It means I can keep work away from the rest of my life at home. If you don’t have a spare room, set up a space in the corner of a room that is not much used. Think about all those occupational health questions – how you’re sitting, light etc – so that you don’t end up hurting yourself.
Take a break.
Don’t slog away for hours on end. I’m much more productive if I work in bursts punctuated by a five or ten-minute break away from my desk. I tend to do 50 minutes work followed by a ten-minute break.
Go for a walk or run, do workouts via YouTube or an app. Go to the gym (if that’s still possible). Whatever works for you. Exercise is good for me mentally as well as physically, and forms part of my daily routine.
Don’t let it take over.
As I have a routine, a set place for working and take breaks, I’m able to shut the door on work for the day and leave it behind. It’s so tempting to carry on working because it’s there and you can, but your body and mind (and family, if you have one) won’t thank you for it.
Even if it’s only into your garden or balcony. If you don’t have that, open the windows wide. Fresh air make such a difference (unless it’s pouring with rain – there’s no point getting drenched).
Don’t feel guilty.
Sometimes you might need a nap or take slightly longer for your lunch. However, think of all the distractions you normally get in an office – you’ve saved up some treat time by avoiding all those!
You may have gone from a busy office to your home. You’ll miss the human contact you’d normally have, even Gerald from accounts who always uses all the milk. Make the effort to call or Facetime people wherever you can.
Get in touch with the children and youth support team on Facebook or Twitter and let us know how you’re getting on!
Alex Taylor is part of the children's and youth team at the Diocese of London. He is an experienced children's and youth worker and writer.
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