Kitchen counters, dressing tables, coffee tables, dining rooms, summer houses, dens, kids’ rooms and more have all been transformed into office spaces, as working from home became the standard for millions more people than ever before. While it can still feel alien for many of us finding the line between work and life constantly blurred, setting boundaries and making rules are essential tools in creating the perfect work from home space.
Lots of members of the QVC family have discovered innovative ways to make working from home easier and even enjoyable, so we collated a few of their suggestions and ideas together to create your go-to guide to working from home.
Have a morning routine (this is a must!) – set an alarm for at least an hour before work so you’re not rolling out of bed and starting straight away with a fuzzy head, not in ‘work’ mode. There are so many things you can add to your morning routine to make it personal to you, but here are a few suggestions to give you an idea:
- Get up, dressed and ready as if you’re going into the office
- Quick meditation or/and yoga session – a 10-minute daily workout on an app or online should be just about right
- Get some fresh air – stand by the open backdoor or in the garden and listen to the birds for five minutes. If you’re an early riser, going for a short walk is even better. It’s rewarding for the mind to get a little burst of nature first thing
- While the kettle boils and your tea is brewing, jotting down in a daily journal what you did the day before is good for reflection; writing five things down in a gratitude book is good for the soul
Start middle, end – as well as creating a morning routine, make sure you also have a clear middle and end to your working day too, so it doesn’t bleed into your ‘home life’. Start the morning by writing down what you need/want to get done that day to put you into ‘work mode’ straight away. You don’t always have to follow it exactly but it’s a nice prompt to have right next to you.
Give yourself a break – don’t just list your work tasks, schedule breaks into your to-do list too. Without colleagues to suggest a coffee break or a trip to the canteen, you might find you need a nudge from elsewhere to step away from your desk. You could also set a reminder in the calendar on your laptop.
Get talking – if you’re alone all day and miss the office chat, suggest to a friend or work pal that you video chat over your lunch breaks, or if they live nearby you could meet up for a walk. Failing that, listen to a podcast, as it will still deliver that feeling of conversation you’re missing.
Tune in – music can be so helpful in getting you through a solo day working from home, although it doesn’t replace the background chatter of the office. Choose something instrumental if you get distracted by songs you know! You could also have the radio on quietly, the intermittent chat will keep you company without being too much of a distraction.
Where can we eat? If you’re working at the breakfast bar/dining table, you may find that there’s no room to eat dinner. Keep a ‘work box’ underneath the table and at the end of each day, pack your laptop, files and work things away and slide the box under the table or into a corner. There’s no point storing it away properly as you’ll be getting it all out again tomorrow, but at least it’s all in one place and out of sight! If you work in your bedroom invest in a foldable table so you can store your desk away at the end of the day as well.
Keep it together – like your desk at work it’s important to personalise your home office space if you can. Keeping all your work things together in a ‘work box’, is also handy if you need to move rooms. So, as well as your work essentials you could add your glasses, lip balm, headphones, work mug, desk organiser, even a relaxing candle etc. in there too. You can choose to use a tray, pouch, anything with enough room for all your essentials!
Move it – set a reminder to get up from your ‘desk’ every half an hour to an hour or so, just to stretch your arms and legs. Sitting all day can make you feel more tired, a change of pace helps to keep you energised. Making sure you get out for a run or walk at least twice a week on your lunch break if you can, is a must. It’s also a really good way of breaking up the monotony of the day, giving you a fresh outlook for the otherwise sluggish afternoon.
Just the two of you? Working from home with a partner can be another challenge. If you can, make sure you’re using separate rooms, especially if one of you takes lots of calls or sits in multiple Zoom meetings. Working, living and spending the weekends with the same people can be trying, make a conscious decision not to discuss work after your laptops are switched off, work has finished for the day. It should help ensure that you keep your work time separate from your downtime.
Let’s do lunch – where possible always take a proper lunch break, ideally away from screens to give your eyes a rest. Take your time to make a leisurely meal, walk the dog, call a friend, or set a time with the other people in your house to meet up in the kitchen to eat together, you could also read a book… or even get some household chores out of the way – so rewarding and you won’t have to do it at the weekend!
Create your environment – set your desk up so that you face a window offering lots of natural light to help you stay alert as well as an interesting view. Light a candle or wellbeing pod if you feel like you need a bit of a boost that day. House plants are also a wonderful way of adding vibrancy and colour to your office space – there are tons of benefits for having them in your home!
Make a change – if possible, move rooms for a change of scenery, as long as there is Wi-Fi you can create a fresh workspace. You don’t have to stay at home either. From cafes and pubs creating socially distanced community hubs to hotels offering office-hours day rates, there are ever more innovative ways that people can separate their work and home lives.
Turn it off! At the end of the day, switch off your PC, don’t be tempted to leave it open with the intention of checking your emails after dinner or finishing that last bit of work that can always wait until tomorrow. You wouldn’t be able to do this if your computer was in the work office, so when 5pm comes around, think home time, and do something like calling friends and family or going for a walk to immediately switch off from work.