Working from home tips during the Coronavirus crisis
(or how to work from home without losing your marbles!)
With the sudden and dramatic outbreak of the Coronavirus lives are changing, and fast. One of the big changes is how to carry on work when you have to socially distance or self-isolate for your own safety and the health of others.
Most employers except for essential services are now requiring their staff to work from home. But for a lot of people who haven’t done this before, setting up an office in your living space is not as straightforward as it sounds.
At Garden Affairs, we’ve been designing home offices for almost 20 years. A Garden Affairs garden building provides an ideal solution for working from home. You get your own space, peace and quiet, and time to concentrate away from the rest of the family and the distraction of household tasks.
All our buildings are fully insulated to keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter. They also have high-quality double-glazed doors and windows in slow grown, sustainable timber. And you could consider putting in an air-conditioning unit, a popular option for year-round comfort.
Let us design the right size building for you
We work with you to design a size and layout to suit your needs. Take our 3.5m x 2.5m Linea garden room (above) it offers plenty of room for a desk & workspace. There’s loads of natural light from double doors and full length glazing on the front face, and room for a sofa for break out time. The flexible and modern lay-out offers ample scope to work, rest and entertain clients. Everything you need for an efficient and stylish workplace.
A garden office gives you freedom to work the hours you choose, there’s no commute (if you don’t count the stroll across the grass), and we can provide all the electrics you will need & even plumbing, to make sure your office is mission-ready as company HQ. With some funky furniture and your own personal touches, you won’t want to go back to your old way of working!
There's huge uncertainty as to how long this crisis will last, and what its long-term implications for public health will be. As teams across the country rapidly adapt to connecting through Zoom meetings and fitting their domestic and childcare duties around more flexible working hours, some experts are talking of homeworking becoming the new normal.
Which means now may be the time to think seriously about putting a home office in your back garden. You don’t need acres of land to accommodate one of our buildings. A small garden office pod like our popular Mini office (below) is a comfortable and stylish way of creating your own office, even in the tiniest of garden spaces.
General Tips for working at home
Meanwhile, and for those without the space for an outside office, here are a few tips on how to work from home without losing your sanity:
Set a routine: unless you’re self-employed you’ll probably be required to work normal working hours. Don’t be tempted, just because you don’t have a long commute in the morning, to go to bed late. Set your alarm, and give yourself plenty of time to get ready for work. Make sure you know when regular meetings and catch-ups are scheduled. Put them in your calendar. They’re all virtual now, and without seeing colleagues physically mobilising to meeting rooms, it’s all to easy to forget they’re happening.
Have regular breaks: it’s important to stay healthy. You may not have colleagues to chat to but it’s still important to take regular time away from your desk. Make sure you move and stretch regularly so you’re not harming your back. And keep in touch with friends and colleagues by picking up the phone, or chatting on social media or FaceTime. You can quickly become socially isolated when you work from home if you don't keep socialising!
Find your own space: A separate, self-contained space, even if it means putting a desk under the stairs, is your way of saying - to yourself and others in your household: “This is where I work. When I’m here, do not disturb!” It’s no good using the sofa in the lounge as your ‘office’ if that’s where the kids watch TV and do their homework (hopefully not at the same time). A clearly-defined workspace also means you can shut it down and leave it, just like any other office, when you’re on a break or at the end of the working day. Boundaries are essential if homeworking is going to be a success.
Get the tech sorted: There are likely to be more demands on your phone and Wi-Fi than usual. You need to avoid the embarrassment of losing signal during a phone call, or dropping out of a teleconference because of a dodgy internet connection. Ask your employer for help, with equipment like laptops and Wi-Fi boosters. Make sure you know about any special security requirements, such as using your employer’s VPN.
Stay professional: just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you can stay in your PJs all day and not run a brush through your hair. Getting yourself psychologically ready for work is vital: you need a work mindset. Dress how you would if you were going out to work. And bear in mind you’ll probably spend time on video conferences. Slouching on the sofa in your trackie bottoms isn’t a good way of putting yourself across in a professional light.
Make your office look lovely: if you’re going to be working from home, your motivation levels will be higher if your office is a nice place to be. And don’t forget what colleagues can see in the background when you’re on a video call. Your office should look stylish not scuzzy. See tips on how to style your garden office in our blog.
Don’t forget to eat/avoid bingeing: There are two categories of homeworkers. The first get so engrossed in work they forget to eat or drink. Result: dehydration, irritability and inability to concentrate, along with a banging headache. The second category is the get-up-and-snack type - anything to avoid actually concentrating on work. For both types, working from home can be seriously unhealthy. So make sure you have a good breakfast before you start your day. Prepare lunch the night before so you don’t have to make it during the day. Get in some healthy snacks. Have a big bottle of water on your desk.
Use safe equipment: it may be tempting to sit in an armchair with your laptop on your knees, but that’s likely to be harmful in the long-term. Ask your employer for help sourcing a quality desk and chair to minimise your risk of injury. Maintaining a good posture during the working day is essential to preventing upper limb disorders.
Make the most of your time: working from home should free up a huge amount of time. No commute, fewer meetings, and less in the way of interruptions and distractions from colleagues. This is your chance to work more intensively and efficiently, get through your workload quickly, become a better worker.
If it's time for YOU to change your way of homeworking contact us now: