Once again, back in lockdown. Another strict stay at home order. As a result, working from home looks likely to continue for a while. We’ve heard a lot about it. Not least how to make working from home….well….work. We take it all in. Intend to turn our new-found knowledge into action. Then don’t. Despite the promises we make to ourselves

The Difficulties of Working from Home

The commute, for all its misery, helped us leave work in the office. Now home encroaches on work too. Interaction with colleagues is crucial to collaboration, for creativity. Worse, without it we feel isolated. It’s part of human nature. And it’s human nature that’ll help us overcome the problems

We Don’t Like Letting Others Down

We’re more likely to keep promises to others than to ourselves. The key to making working from home work is to involve others. By separating the day into sections. And relying on each other in different ways during different parts of the day

Start of The Day

To start your day, chat with a colleague. Discuss and challenge each other’s plans and priorities for the day. Ensure you’re not trying to pack in too much. Freelancers can ask someone in their network to take on this role

During the Day

Agree with your household when it’s work time. Be flexible, allow the odd interruption. Use a don’t-disturb-signal, such as wearing headphones, for those times when you must be left alone. Young kids make this difficult, but not impossible. When all else fails, resort to bribery!

Understand social distancing guidelines. In previous lockdowns single people, single parents could form a support bubble with another household. Don’t sit alone, unnecessarily isolated. Work in the other household. Or invite them to work in your home

If you can, meet another someone for lunch. Even if it’s outside. During winter, you’ll need to wrap up warm to beat the cold. Be inventive with available outside space. For instance, a bandstand can make lovely rain shelter

End of the Day

End the day as it began. Have a conversation with a colleague. Make sure it’s a chat, not an email or slack exchange. Discuss how the day went. What you need to finish off. And what can wait until tomorrow. Agree when work will stop. Above all, hold each other accountable to that agreement

The Way Home

The daily commute was once a boundary between work and home. Why not re-create it? With something more enjoyable. Arrange to go for a walk. Just getting outside boosts creativity, relieves stress. Agreeing to do this with a friend, makes it more likely to happen. If the weather is truly horrendous, replace the walk with a video call

After Work

Don’t sneak back to work. However tempting that might be. A lesson from consultancy firm Baringa Partners. What started as the odd Sunday email, became a habit known as ‘Baringa Pinga’. One email made several phones ping. Others felt obligated to reply. More pings. The next Sunday it happened again. But started earlier. And so on. Don’t make the same mistake. Agree an out-of-hours email ceasefire

We Don’t Have to be Alone When Working from Home

Let’s use our creativity to support each other. To hold each other accountable. To find ways to spend lunchtimes together. And ways to help each other stop at the end of the day. Together we can overcome the difficulties with working from home. Together we can make it work



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