Sabia Morrison is Digital Science’s Conference and Events Manager and has worked from home for a number of years now. Here Sabia imparts some wisdom, tips and general sanity to how working from home can be productive and beneficial (without talking in-depth to the post / delivery person).

Working from the home … how to survive!

Working from home (or ‘wfh’ as we are all now calling it) is an odd thing.  For some (me), it has been my way of life for the last five years and I love it.  When I first took a job that was purely home based I was delighted. My husband, less so, as he was worried that I may become too talkative when he came home from his office based job, having been starved of human contact during the working day.  Fortunately, his fears were unfounded and I remain as untalkative as I ever was when he returns home! Wfh is now a way of life for me and I can’t think of a better way to work. Technology has a big part to play and enables communication via chat apps (such as Slack), virtual meetings for two to twenty people and collaborative working using things like Google Docs and Monday.com.  I never feel lonely and, if the day has been a bit quiet, there is always someone available on Slack for a bit of banter around some non-work related topic.

Wfh is not for everyone and with the current situation forcing so many of us to work this way, it may take some getting used to.  Many friends have asked me how I do it … surely I get distracted, never get dressed, gaze out of the window all day, talk to the post person too much?  Honestly … I don’t, but I think the key is discipline.  

Top tips:

  1. Have a set morning routine, including getting yourself ready (make-up on, shaved, dressed (!)) just as you would if going out to work.  I’m so anal that I even make myself a packed lunch and lay out three pieces of fruit on my desk each day, just like I used to when I office based.
  2. Make sure you take regular breaks away from your desk and always, always aim to take a lunch break to do something completely unrelated to work. I vary between going out for a walk, popping down to the shops or cleaning the bathroom whilst listening to a podcast.  If you go out, make an effort to smile and chat to the people you meet – nice for them and nice for you!
  3. Switch off at the end of the working day!  It is one of the downsides of wfh that you can sometimes find it very difficult to stop working and, whilst that is fine from time to time and when things are busy, you should ensure it doesn’t become the norm.  It’s good to schedule something that starts after work hours – I book a gym class that starts at 6pm a couple of nights each week, which means I have to stop work at a set time to get to it.

Photo of Omar in IT

However, even for seasoned folks like me, the huge amount of people who now find themselves working from home alongside ‘loved ones’ is bringing new challenges.  Currently, myself, my husband and grown-up daughter are all wfh and will soon be joined by my 17 -year-old son when his sixth form close their doors tomorrow. Next week will be interesting.  We are a family. We know what it’s like to live together. We holiday together. We do not work together and experiencing that is proving to be quite the eye-opener. Can the man I have known and loved for 27 years really not know how to scan and attach a document to an email? Does my daughter always get up at 8.45am to start work at 9am?  Should I now offer to make tea for all of them when I take a break? I’m sure my irritations and internal dialogue will continue to grow over the coming weeks, but I also need to remember (as we all do), these are unprecedented times and we are in this situation for a very good reason. Let’s embrace it with good humour and patience … I might even offer them all a biscuit with their tea this afternoon.