Home working – how to make it work for you

Some insights and suggestions to make a success of home / remote working

I have done wfh (work from home) for the past 5+ years and totally love it.

Over the past 20+ years there have been periods of wfh. I was thinking this morning about the changes and how I work that might be of interest to others.

Way back when… (as a single parent)

When my girls were younger and on holidays (as this is probably relevant to many now..) I used to start early and then take a break to have breakfast etc with them.

They knew I had to work and we would all sit together in my study, or the open plan area and we would all “work”. They would keep busy doing ‘important things’ and often drift off to play. I would check in with them and we would just ‘be together’.

After a proper lunch break we would take time outside to go and do things together – either a walk, some gardening, exploring what might be happening under a pile of leaves or watch the birds in the trees, etc, as well as time at the park to burn off their energy.

A few hours later back to work together again, by now they may have drifted off to draw, or colour, or just play – tv really wasn’t a big thing in those days…

Again in the evening I totally stopped and focused on family time. A solid enjoyable meal, and doing things together, before they went to bed around 8pm…. Yeah I know, sounds crazy as I don’t see many youngsters with a regular bedtime these days.!.!

I then had a good couple of hours to do more work. In retrospect, this might be where my tendency to work late has come from.. 2-4 hours in the evening are always worth 5-6 hours in the daytime for me!

Bath, bed, rinse and repeat 🙂

The intervening years (the teenage years..)

Nowadays, my girls are grown up and married. Where did the years go…

In the intervening years I became a commuter to various places of work, sometimes driving 2.5 hours each way each day, other times flying to more distant destinations every week.

Whatever the change we do adapt. I accepted and enjoyed what I was doing and where I found myself. But as I’ve got older, or is it just more appreciative of how I spend my time.., I find myself wanting to spend less time travelling to work and more time working!

I now work from home every day and have done so for more than 5 years. I have been really fortunate in having amazing people to work with.

That might sound strange but Imaginatik was a global company with employees, and clients, spread across all timezones. We used Zoom chat and video conferencing to connect daily, or as needed, with each other and with our clients.

I ran remote training sessions, did demonstrations, resolved problems and just had a good connecting chat building the relationship with amazing folk.

More recently I have done a 5 month stint working onsite at a semi-local company, where remote working was not encouraged. I spent 3+ hours each day on my commute, felt frustrated at the time being wasted and found my energy levels impacted by the journey..

I also found that getting time to connect, those little chats that build trust, understanding and support, really didn’t happen as people were ‘too busy’ and often in endless meetings in the hard to secure meeting rooms.

I have become very particular about how I use my time and how I can add the most value. After all, clients deserve value, from my input and for the fee.

And more recently…

Apart for the brief stint mentioned above, I have been a remote worker for 5+ years. And I really love it! So how do I make it work and what is different now to when I had my girls at home.

I keep a regular working routine. I start my day with yoga, get to my desk by 8:15, work for an hour or so, doing the immediate things, stop to make breakfast which I tend to eat at my desk while I catch up on some reading.

Then the day starts in earnest. Meetings, calls, preparation and general admin work through till lunchtime.

A proper stop for lunch, where I like to catch up with #LooseWomen…. usually as a replay to skip the ads…

I often do a quick fast walk to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, and then back to work until about 6pm.

Another stop to walk the dog and have some dinner. Followed by downtime or if I’m busy or got things to do… back to work for an hour or two. I now stop by 8:30pm most nights! But do still occasionally fall back into the late nighters…

It is fun to have flexibility and get the washing in if the sun is shining etc. But it is also important to create a routine to ensure that a) you get your work done and b) you don’t work too long – seriously this can be a real issue..

Good luck and enjoy the new experience. But mostly, keep safe and healthy.

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