Contracting Life

How to manage your day effectively when working from home

Government restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 have been tightening up again recently as cases rise and, as a result, many of…

Author Photo by Martin Baxter

Government restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 have been tightening up again recently as cases rise and, as a result, many of us are now working from home again (if, indeed, we ever stopped in the first place).

Of course, there’s a crucial difference between these restrictions and those of the spring and summer: the kids are back to school and nursery. And with local lockdown exemptions allowing informal childcare arrangements to continue, even those of you with very small children are likely to be working from home without distractions for the first time.

It would be easy, so easy, now to look at the hours of child-free working time you have once the school day has begun and think, “I’ll just pop the kettle on and watch Homes Under the Hammer before I get started” but you would be wrong.

According to the PM, working from home is likely to continue for the next six months and it could even be longer, so it’s vital to get into good habits early on and stick to them. Or else you could fall into the daytime-TV-baited trap of procrastination and then be rushing to get all your work done in the evening when the kids are in bed..

Working from home can feel unstructured and, in that respect, hard to manage, but never fear: we have some top tips to help you manage your day productively.

Check in to your home office

While working from your bed or the sofa may seem like a work from home perk – and it’s fine for a quick email check or a long read with an obligatory cuppa – it’s not a permanent working solution. Instead, set yourself up with a dedicated workspace if you don’t have one already.

The ideal would be to set up an office in your spare room so it’s out of the way, but we know not everyone has this kind of space so you may need to be creative, using the area under the stairs for a desk, or turning your dining room table into a co-working space for you and your partner each morning before packing it away when you’ve finished.

However, you work it, have a proper space where you can work each day so that when you sit there, you are in work rather than at home.

Take regular screen breaks

When you’re working from a client’s office, are you glued to your screen the whole day? Chances are you go to speak to people, join meetings, or nip out to get a snack at various points through the day.

At home though, speaking to people and joining meetings tends to happen on Zoom or Teams, so you get very few breaks from your screen, leading to tired eyes and, in some cases, headaches or even migraines.

Set regular intervals where you can get away from your screen by either going to make a drink or perhaps going out for a walk. Whatever you do, rest those eyes.

Set routines for the kids

The kids have to come home from school at some point, but you may find you still need an extra hour or two to work. Rather than putting this off until the evening, instead set routines for your kids that mean you can finish off your work now before spending some quality time together.

One of our favourite suggestions is getting your children to do their homework as soon as they’re in from school so that you’re all working at the same time (although we appreciate you may need to take time out to help them a bit).

This way, you then have teatime and your evening together to enjoy yourselves.

Find the positives

We know some of you love working from home while others absolutely hate it. If you fall into the latter category, try to find some of the positives in working from home, otherwise you may have a long six months ahead.

Speaking to some of the Kingsbridge team and our clients, some of the best things about working from home are: being able to pop a load of washing on during the day, being able to do some quick chores at lunchtime so you don’t have to do them at night or the weekend, having the time to make tasty meals for lunch and tea, being able to go to the gym or out for a run without having to get up at silly o’clock in the morning, and not having to rush round getting everyone up and out to school and work every morning because there’s less to organise.

Get yourself a (virtual) project manager

One of the problems of working from home is trying to keep all your ducks in a row work-wise. It’s not as easy to just speak to someone to clarify the nuances of a project and because of this it’s easy for tasks to slip through the cracks – an even bigger nightmare if you’re working on multiple projects.

A project management tool such as Trello or Asana  will help you keep track of everything you’re doing and allow you to differentiate the big and small tasks on a project, as well as allowing you that satisfying moment when you get to tick things off.

At Kingsbridge, we can help you tick off at least one of those tasks by helping you make sure your business insurance is all in order. Perhaps you let it lapse during lockdown, or perhaps it merely needs renewing.

Either way, our friendly, expert team can help you ensure you have your public liability, professional indemnity, and employers’ liability cover all sorted – as well as other included insurances that you may not have considered, such as occupational personal accident cover.

So, give us a call on 01242 808740 or get a quote online and we’ll make sure you’re covered for all eventualities.

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