Self-isolating? Top tips for working from home during coronavirus outbreak… 19th March 2020 | IN CORONAVIRUS | BY SBID

A new reality dawns as working from home becomes the widespread norm! For many, working from home is no new concept as companies around the world were already increasingly implementing flexible work-from-home policies and the continued rise of freelance workers means more and more of us have the liberty of generating most of our income from the comfort of our own homes. In fact, in 2019 the Office for National Statistics recorded over 5 million self-employed people in the UK alone. For the rest of the working population however, working remotely amid the coronavirus outbreak can be daunting and unfamiliar territory. So, how do you maintain efficiency and keep the momentum going?

With thousands across the nation likely to be working from home under government instruction to self-isolate in a collective effort to control the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing some useful tips and strategies to help you settle into this new reality and stay positive, sane – and of course, productive!

1. Routine is everything! Be strict with your schedule.

Try to follow your usual daily routine as you would on a normal working day. If this involves heading to the gym first thing before work – roll out your yoga mat on the kitchen floor and get to it! The main thing is to stick to your usual working hours and routine as you would when arriving into the office on a normal working day. Wake up, shower, and yes, get dressed if you have to (or at least get out of your pyjamas!). This will help you get into the right mindset for the day ahead – and also inject a much needed sense of normality into your new home-based routine.

2. Resist the temptation to stay in bed!

As glorious as it sounds to spend the day bed-bound on your laptop and treat it as a luxury staycation – this habit will get tiresome (literally)! Try to set up a separate space you can dedicate strictly to working – if you’re lucky enough to already have a home study, that’s great! But if you don’t, create your own makeshift ‘work station’ – or use your dining room table and chair instead. The NHS advise is to provide support for your back and position your desk/chair correctly, so sitting slumped on your bed will not bode well in the long-term for your posture or your productivity!

3. Have a REAL conversation…

Remember, there’s nothing stopping you from picking up the phone and having a real conversation outside of your email threads and instant messaging! If you’re working home alone, don’t forget to exercise your vocal chords too. Not interacting or speaking to anyone all day, everyday can feel lonely and deplete your morale – not to mention your mental health. So, try to make time to arrange a video conference with your team or colleagues and schedule in some actual face time. There is a lot of technology available for this – so whether it’s Skype, FaceTime or Microsoft Teams, maintaining social connection will be crucial during this uncertain time!

4. Don’t forget to take a break!

It’s easy to get sucked into your screen when working from home, but being glued to your computer and sitting down all day (even if you were still in the office) doesn’t promote a healthy lifestyle, so it’s important to take regular breaks. Get up, move about or go for a short walk – even if it’s only around your house! Stepping away from screen time allows you to recoup, stretch your legs and come back with a fresh perspective – whether on your designated lunch hour or just to re-fuel with a quick cup of coffee, regular screen breaks are essential to maintaining efficiency! Also, if you’ve manged to gain an extra hour or so from not commuting to the office, this presents a great opportunity to factor in time for exercise, so use it wisely by doing something active! Self-isolation means a walk outside may not be the best option here, but instead open your windows to let the fresh air in or step out into your garden and breathe!

5. Avoid those pesky distractions…

Fight the urge to get up and do the pile laundry sitting in your bedroom or start deep cleaning the kitchen – the household chores will be there later, and you definitely wouldn’t be scrubbing the toilet if you were at the office. It’s important to treat this time as if you’re not at home so you don’t get distracted by your daily house keeping. That being said, avoiding unnecessary disturbances is much easier said than done if those distractions are in fact your children! Working from home with children is obviously no mean feat, so our advice would be to get help if you can by isolating with a family member who can watch them while you work, adapt your working hours around nap times or at night, or encourage them to engage in time-consuming activities to keep them busy – and out of your hair!

SBID is dedicated to supporting the interior design profession and the interior designers in practice, if you need help or advise during this time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.