We’ve all been affected in some way by the Coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks and for a lot of people the challenge of working from home successfully has been a big one to overcome.
It’s especially challenging if you are trying to work from home with children off from school at the moment. Home schooling and doubling as a teacher in addition to everything else going on is a huge added pressure in it’s own right.
But as schools start to show signs of reopening working from home might be something that more people find they want to do more of.
Working from home for us is a choice.
We’ve had large 3,000 square foot premises in the past and found that due to travelling and working away a lot it was left empty most of the time rendering it a big expense that we simply didn’t need.
We figured out a better way to work and reverted to working from our office base at home back in 2014 and it’s something that allows us to provide more flexibility with our products & services, competitive prices and better customer service.
One of the other big advantages is of course is better time management.
And with less commuting to the office and back in the peak traffic times you can often get more done with less distractions.
And the other enjoyable advantage is that you can shun corporate office desks, chairs and colour schemes and design your own perfect work from home office space.
Here are our top 10 work from home survival tips during lock down that might be useful if you think you will be working from home more in the future.
1. Keeping In Contact With Customers
The information about the Coronavirus is ever changing, but we are here (not furloughed) & happy to help.
First and foremost we are here at the end of the phone or by email every day.
We’ve added a Coronavirus Update blog post to our INFO & HELP area on the main menu of our website which is updated every time we receive new information that affects the current situation for new & existing customers.
And as I’m sure we are all experiencing during these unprecedented and somewhat frustrating times we can only follow the latest advice and work together as the Government guidelines suggest.
Although the construction industry was not one of the industries told to close, most of the main suppliers which includes main builders merchants and kitchen manufacturers have chosen to close and furlough staff.
It’s a decision many have had to make based on the costs of staying open for a very few customers versus the cost of closing and furloughing staff.
And with hotels and restaurants being closed travelling installation teams have been unable to find accommodation or food in the normal way.
Social distancing for what we do on site or with a lodge delivery is actually quite easy in some respects so we are confident on how we will work with that in mind going forwards.
With strong indicators from Taylor Wimpey, B&Q and Premier Inn Hotel websites recently we are anticipating that some lock down measures will start to ease from May 11th 2020.
2. Using Zoom Calls With New & Existing Team Members
As we announced in last week’s blog, we have a new Commercial Manager Sean Cronin who joined us on the same fateful day the lock down began on March 23rd 2020.
Instead of weekly meetings involving the usual 200 mile round trip (Sean is based in South Yorkshire) we’ve discovered Zoom.
Shares in Zoom have risen 143% during the Coronavirus lock down and their service hasn’t let us down once.
We’ve been able to work together, be productive and stay connected via Zoom. It’s one of those things we’d probably never have tried and now wonder how we ever did things without it.
It will be something we use more in the future and has been invaluable.
3. Not Every Business Activity Has Stopped Still
Planning offices are still operating and are in general quieter than they have been.
They are also not making site visits at the moment so the process is all being done via the plans, photos & information we supply.
As a Government planning authority it is still working and now is a very good time to submit your planning application if you are thinking of building an annexe in your garden.
Opportunities do not come along like this very often!
4. Have A Designated Office Space
Working from home is usually more relaxed in many ways.
There is no need to get dressed up as if you are heading to the office, smart casual or dressed down is often the best choice.
Create a designated office space or if you are thinking of working from home more in the future you may want to invest in a garden office or studio to work from.
If you are a small business with a small team you may be able to lease one of new commercial work from home studios that we will be launching next month complete with a kitchenette and toilet.
The saving on renting a commercial office space and paying business rates will be tempting for many SME’s that have received little or no subsidies or grants from the Government during the Coronavirus lock down.
5. Walk To Work Even If It Is Around The Block
If you can swap some of your commute time for exercise time it’s a real win / win.
If you have a good walking route near you and you enjoy getting out in the fresh air, working from home provides you with a great opportunity to do exactly that.
Indoor gym equipment has been in high demand since gyms had to close but if working from home more in the future is something you see yourself doing you can set up a home gym in the garage, spare room or garden studio if you have one.
It’s one of the real hidden perks of working from home.
6. Have A Lunch Break
Without regular chats with co-workers or face to face meetings to interrupt your To Do List you can try to complete more tasks or keep working through what would be a coffee or lunch break.
A lunch break is not a guilty pleasure, it’s a fuel station for more energy for the second part of the day.
Take a break every 45 minutes from the computer, walk the dog, make lunch, talk to family members about their morning and don’t feel guilty about it.
You will get more done if you maintain a healthy work / life balance even if you are working from home.
7. Staying Focused
It’s an unusual situation for all of us having to cope with suddenly finding ourselves trying to work from home with members of our family constantly around.
We tend to have a “trade-off” of home school shared shifts in the morning and focused work time in the afternoon as our work around.
The gaps tend to be filled in either early in the morning or late into the evenings.
We find Google Calendar appointments between us a good way to manage everything, even the online food deliveries are on there at the moment!
It’s important to remember that all this is temporary and it will change again within the next few weeks. Unless of course you decide to launch a whole new career after this.
8. More People Are Discovering Online Services Than Ever Before
As someone who works and loves the digital world we live in, I’ve been amazed by how many people are ordering groceries online for the first time.
Not many of us have used things like Zoom, Facetime or Facebook Portal in quite the numbers or the frequency we are doing right now.
For a lot of people these new ways of doing things will become the way they will do things in the future.
Local stores and online deliveries have been the only way we can stock up on food and essentials and if you are home schooling you will know that weekly schooling lessons are being made available online.
Whatever our new world looks like, we’ll all feel a little more comfortable with digital services than before.
9. Discover Your Highest Productivity Hours And Keep Them
Some of us are morning people, and are most productive and focused first thing in the morning.
For others the most productive time in the workday is in the evenings when the house is quieter and the children are ready for bed.
Discover when you are most productive and build your working from home schedule around your peak productivity periods.
This is your time so protect it.
When working from home, you don’t have a boss around, so it can be challenging to keep track of what you have to do.
It’s easy to lose sight of priorities, tasks, and deadlines.
Set out your agenda each day and set time limits for each task.
After you complete each task, cross it off the list.
Make a task list at the end or the beginning of each day.
10. Software Will Restore Calm And Keep Everything Flowing
If you can access your normal work systems from home you will feel much more like you are on top of things.
Cloud based systems usually allow this and Google Drive is a great way to access vital documents from wherever you are.
Keeping an updated To Do List is a vital part of your work from home day.
If you are not a “write-it-down” or to-do list person, don’t worry—there are plenty of modern project management apps available that can still help you. These are great if you are working from home.
Some of the best project management apps include:
Most of these apps offer both web-based and mobile versions so that you can use them on your phone.
- With lock down measures looking like they will be easing up in the next few weeks will working from home be more popular than ever before?
- We’ll be keeping ZOOM meetings, they have been invaluable.
- We work from home by choice, it allows us more flexibility and are able to offer a wider range of products and services that benefit our customers and more competitive prices.
- Digital planners and services have kept our business in touch with our team members, customers and key suppliers.
- We’ll be launching our new commercial work from home range in May 2020!
We work with you to help you design your space so it suits you, your specific requirements and whenever possible your budget.
Why not book an appointment to visit the show site when you are ready for more inspiration in a day than you’ll ever get anywhere else!