Three freelancers share their best tips for working from home, now that businesses are asking staff to work remotely due to coronavirus concerns.
As the coronavirus becomes a more pressing threat in Australia, the shut down of businesses, industries and schools has today been called an “inevitability” by Victorian premier Daniel Andrews. Some businesses have already urged staff who can work remotely to do so, with many others busily preparing for this scenario.
Not going to lie, the thought of working from the comfort of home is a delightful silver lining in a fairly macabre situation. But aside from ensuring you’ve got enough toilet paper at your place, how can you ensure you stay focused, productive and sane if you’re asked to work from home?
We asked three freelancers, who don’t have coronavirus but do happen to call their home their office, for their best advice.
Kate Leaver, journalist and author of The Friendship Cure and Good Dog (released April 20)
Embrace daytime pyjamas
“I am here to tell you that embracing the chaos is part of the joy of working from home. Make the most of it! I get dressed in the morning, yes, but really only into daytime pajamas. Under no circumstances will I wear a bra; it is my blessed right as a freelancer not to. I wear track-pants and a T-shirt, with a cardi if I’m cold. I make myself something delicious for lunch often because I can. I regularly have naps, also because I can. Two pm is the ideal napping time. I also like to fit in a bit of exercise – yesterday I did a jazz workout class at 12.30, other times I’ll duck out for Pilates. In the case of coronavirus isolation, I suppose I’ll put on some sort of YouTube video that requires me to break a sweat.”
Take advantage of the ‘soft office’
“Don’t be ashamed of working from the sofa or even the bed. I don’t personally use a soft office (a bed) because I’m an insomniac so I need to reserve that space for sleep, but I know a lot of people who swear by it. I do a lot of good work on the sofa, under a blanket, next to my dog.”
How cats and dogs might be the secrets to a successful career. Plus, now you can get a BFF necklace for you and your dog.
Set up clear work boundaries
“Try not to look at your emails right before bed – if you can, choose a cutoff time in the evening and try not to engage in work chat past that time (working from home can easily get out of hand if you don’t set some boundaries).”
This story originally appeared on whimn.com.au and is republished here with permission.
Sheree Mutton, Founder and Managing Director of Reeton Media
Schedule in breaks
“If you are quarantined during the outbreak or start working from home, always schedule in breaks. Most office workers take a 30-minute to an hour break – and working from home shouldn’t be any different. It’s important to give your brain a break and clear your head. It will keep you focused on the job at hand.”
Don’t make personal calls during work hours
“Working in isolation can be lonely, so it’s understandable that you may crave human contact, but don’t have lengthy phone calls with family or friends during the day. Be disciplined and schedule those calls outside of work hours or during lunch breaks – just as you would in your normal work environment.”
Have a designated workspace
“I have conducted the majority of my work for almost two years from my home office – it’s essential to set up a work space. Having a laptop in bed while you type away in your pyjamas isn’t good for productivity. Whether you set up a home office or even a computer at the dining table, having a designated work space will help minimise distractions.”
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Carolyn Tate, whimn.com.au’s Morning Editor
Create a morning ritual
“I start some mornings at four am, and even on those days, I brush my teeth and boil the kettle to make a pot of green tea so I can settle in for the morning. On days that I start later, I exercise, shower, and get dressed for a day ‘at the office’ so I can start the day feeling energised.”
Plan, plan, plan
“Time creep is a real danger when you’re working at home with distractions everywhere you look. I’ve learned to start every day with a list of tasks I want to get done, and plan them out hour by hour – then I work hard to stick with that plan.”
Create a room of one’s own
“You don’t need an office with a door you can close (although that does help enormously, especially if you have children), but have a space that is yours and yours alone. Make it comfortable and pleasant to be in – somewhere you want to be every day, and somewhere you can be creative, productive and relaxed.”