Top Tips For Working At Home

For many people, working from home is part of their working life, but for others, it will be the first time they’ve needed to do it. It can be a big culture shock from being surrounded by people and talking to someone right next to you to total isolation in a matter of a week. It takes some getting used but after a few weeks it starts to get easier and you can then work from pretty much anywhere, so here are a few tips to help you be more efficient and maintain your wellbeing, without feeling too isolated.

 

Having the right kit

Hopefully if you’re working from home, you’ve got the right tools for the job. For most this will include a web-enabled laptop, with access to your work’s intranet and files, however most people can do what they need to via email. If you need to speak to people and have a mobile phone, start using video calls. This will help you to not feel like you’re on your own, and if you’re on the phone, try to use your headphones or a headset to avoid neckache.

 

Flexibility versus discipline

Sticking to a routine really helps. Get up at the same time, as if you were going to leave for work, even showering and dressing for the day helps. Then get to your desk, table, kitchen work top at the same time, this will give you a feeling of continuity, the only thing that you need to be mindful of is not working over, sometimes when working at home you can work longer hours, so be strict with your start and finish times.

 

However, in light of Coronavirus, you’ll probably need to be more flexible, particularly if you’ve got kids and other members of your family at home. Try to find a space in the house where you can minimise disruption but be flexible enough to know that you may need to do some work in the evenings when the kids are in bed.

 

Don’t try to overcompensate with communication – many people feel they have to ‘be seen’, but over sending emails is going to take up other people’s time. Be efficient, get things done and share what you’ve been working on.

 

Take regular breaks

When you’re working from home, a routine is important, but make sure it doesn’t become monotonous. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee, just like you would at work. Many freelancers that work from home recommend the Pomodoro Technique, whereby you choose a task and break it down into mini, focussed ‘sprints’ in the aim of reducing internal and external disruptions.

 

Lists is another way of compartmentalising your day, the best bit of a list is ticking off a task which gives you a huge sense of achievement. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it does help to focus your mind.

 

If you’re on a long conference call, stand up, walk around. These breaks will help to keep you focussed longer term and avoid burn-out.

 

If you normally have a lunch break – be sure to fit in some exercise; either a walk around the block (following the Government’s guidelines) or a ten-minute burst of activity to keep your energy up in the afternoon.

 

 

Keep in contact

Set up a WhatsApp group for you and your team/colleagues. Check in each morning, make sure you’re all well and ready for the day. It’s also a good way to communicate and update each other, without using email. Keep it upbeat and positive. As we’ve already mentioned, you can use video calling on your phone, but there are other options too – here’s a few you might find useful:

 

Zoom - is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.

Google Hangouts – with options for both audio and video conferencing, users must have a Gmail account. You can host both of these for up to 25 people.

PowWowNow – offers free audio conferencing for unlimited guests. If you want video or web conferencing they do offer a subscription service. 

Skype – one of the best-known conference-calling solutions where you can host calls for up to 25 people that have skype enabled on their computer.

Your Wellbeing

During this time of lockdown and social distancing, with the vast majority of people at home, it’s never been more important to look after your mental wellbeing as well as your health.

For some people, being at home during the day will be normal, particularly for those that are retired or looking after children. However, for a lot of people, this will be quite a change from the usual day-to-day life. Once the novelty of being at home has worn off, you may find yourself wondering how to keep some sense of normality.

Here are some top tips to help you keep busy, keep well and manage your mental health.

 

Have a routine

A lot of people find having a routine important. From getting up at the same time each day, following the same morning routine as much as possible, but what about after that? Whether you live alone or with others, why not set a plan for the week?

 

What activities you’ll be doing consistently every day? e.g. your daily form of exercise

Plan different activities for different days

Make a list of jobs you need to do around the house – some people find ticking things off a list gives them a sense of achievement

Having a sort out – if you’re not working from home, this is a great time to catch up on those jobs you’ve meaning to do for a while. Organising cupboards, cleaning the oven, sorting the garage, organising paperwork and bills – the list is endless

Have a digital clear out. If you’ve got hundreds of emails sat in your inbox, why not spend some time organising or deleting emails you don’t need.

Sorting your finances – whether you’ve got an insurance renewal coming up, need to speak to your mortgage company about a payment holiday or just filing paperwork, now is a great time to sort these jobs. Remember that phone lines are likely to be very busy at the moment, particularly for mortgage companies, so be patient.

Cleaning – just keeping on top of the chores will help, but if you love a bit of cleaning get your dusters and Dettol out and give the house a deep clean.



Find ways to relax or be creative

Whether you’ve now got a full household, or you’re used to being out and about, finding some activities to keep your occupied or relaxed at home will really help maintain a sense of well being

 

Arts and Crafts – many people find they need a creative outlet so think about activities you might enjoy. This could be painting, drawing, upcycling old furniture, knitting, crocheting and much more. You can order supplies online.

DIY – if you enjoy a spot of decorating or you’ve got a list of odd jobs to do around the house, now is a great time to get on top of the DIY

Playing music – for those of you that are musically inclined, picking up an instrument, singing or listening to music will be a great way to get creative or relax

Mindfulness and meditation – taking time out to relax and shut off from everything that’s going on can be really helpful. If you’ve got children at home, it can be difficult to find time for yourself, but even if it’s ten minutes when the kids are all in bed, it can be beneficial. There’s lots of mindfulness apps out there.

Yoga is a great way to exercise gently and focus on your breathing. Many people find it reduces stress and anxiety as well as feeling more grounded

Gardening – if you love tending to plants, now is a great time to start seeding plants ready for the summer. You could even think about growing your own veg. You don’t need to head out to the local garden centre or DIY store, you can buy seeds, compost etc online

Create a list of movies or boxsets – maybe you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, now might be a great time to make a list and tick off all of the TV shows and movies you’ve been wanting to watch, but previously, not had the time to do so.

 

Stay connected

For some, not being able to see friends or family could become quite lonely, so it’s important to stay connected. And with all the tech we’re surrounded with, doing so with video calls through Facetime or What’s app or zoom is a doddle.

 

Make a bucket list

One idea that has been trending on social media is creating your very own bucket list for when life returns to normal and we’re no longer in lockdown or social distancing. Think about all the things you currently miss doing, what are the things you want to do as soon as you’re able to?

Maybe it’s visiting all the friends and family you’ve not seen and giving them a much-needed hug, maybe a visit to the beach, going to the pub for dinner, going for a walk without having to cross the road. Whatever it is, write them on a small piece of paper, fold them up and stick them in a jar or container. Then when life returns to normal, pick one out and go and do it. This will give you something positive to focus on.

 

Keeping your mind active

Remember to keep your brain active and challenged by setting aside time for reading, doing puzzles or watching films. There are lots of free brain training apps for smart phones. You could learn a new skill or language. What about setting up your own blog? Writing about your experiences during this period of isolation could be quite cathartic and entertaining for others, particularly if you keep it light and positive.

 

Managing your media intake

Whilst it can be useful to keep a watchful eye on the news, for some people it can trigger anxiety and be very overwhelming. Take a look at the MIND website they have some great advice with news and information. You can find out more here.

To keep informed, use reputable sources such as the BBC or the Government websites.

 

Out with the Old and in with the new

A New Year heralds change, ordinarily it's a list of New Year's resolutions, a sense of new beginnings and a New Year full of exciting possibilities. 

Not wanting to be left behind LOFA are starting this new decade as they mean to go on with a new look and new branding, making their resolution to be bolder and brighter for 2020.  Taking inspiration from the Spring and Summer months the new logo is a sun shaped symbol paired with an impactful font which makes the brand more recognisable and ever so slightly stylish.  

The LOFA logo has always been, and will always be, synonymous with quality products, great customer service and value for money.  LOFA members who show this symbol on their products and websites will instantly stand out from the crowd. 

PLUS! The new branding also ushers in a new make over for the LOFA website. www.lofa.co.uk.

So What's new? Well for starters a Product Showcase highlighting each and every one of the LOFA members, offering great imagery and a little bit of insight into who they are and what they do, there is an About US page and a News and Events section so you can keep up to date with everything LOFA, a LOFA Assured page explaining all about the initiative that LOFA have been working on for the last 4 years, brining cushions to the market place that comply with the current Government Fire Safety Regulations and lastly an area where members can log in and have current LOFA information at their fingertips. 

So a bold, bright, image led, easy to navigate website but above all a great visitor experience!