At various points in my working life, I have Worked From Home. I have done this enough to have a routine that works well for me. This has generally involved using the mornings, while my children are at school and my wife is in her office, to do the thinking and writing part of my work. It’s also good for calls, while it’s quiet at home. I have generally used afternoons for face-to-face meetings in others’ offices, and in coffee shops. Calls to Europe and the US can be made at night, after dinner (and, while the children were young, after they have gone to bed).
This is a very different situation. Working At Home involves everyone being at home, all the time. There is no from, only at. It is a fundamentally different situation, but the strange thing is that my routine has been quite similar. My children are doing Home-Based Learning, and my wife is also Working At Home.
Our living space is open-plan, so that can be awkward, but mornings are still mostly thinking and writing, while it is quiet (I no longer have the luxury of a spare room, since the girls each have a room of their own). Afternoons, although a little noisier, are for calls, leading up to the daily 6.00pm video call with the team. I have found a few tricks to help:
- Wearing headphones creates a closed loop with the other person.
- And provides some insulation from my surroundings.
- Using a webcam provides better video, and a more professional look.
- A separate monitor draws me into the call.
- And blocks my vision of my surroundings
- Choosing where I sit gives me a sense of preparing for the meeting
- I vary my background according to the nature of the call, and time of day.
- I always wear a plain, collared shirt – even if it’s a polo.
- Stripes and patterns can distract and fluoresce.
This is far from an exhaustive list – and I am not the expert. You will doubtless find what suits you.
The point I would like to make is this:
Do not think of this as Working FROM Home – or you will be frustrated by not being able to get out and meet people.
Think of it as Working AT Home – settle in and make your space, circumstances and routine work for you.
Stay Safe and Work On