How to survive working from home & staying sane.
Now that we are facing staying at home and social distancing due to the Covid-19 Corona virus in the Uk more people will be having to work at home and around the kids. I have been working from home for some time now and my husband also started doing it as well after setting up his own company. It hasn’t been easy and when you bring kids into the mix it’s even trickier so we thought we would share some tips that we’ve found useful on how to survive working from home & staying sane.
Set up a dedicated environment
I have been working in my front room for a while. It’s my office space so I decorated it as a work space, to make it feel like a design studio, it has my prints around and things that inspire me. It’s important for me to feel happy in this space given that I spend lots of time here. When my husband Chris started working from home I assumed that he would be working in my office but the 1st thing he said was that he wanted his own space. I wasn’t so sure but he insisted and now looking back I think was the right decision as we are not in each others pockets, especially as we are together for family time as well. We moved the boys in together and he has turned Leo's room into a proper office-hopefully this will be a short term solution.
This has worked really well for us but obviously it’s not always possible to take a room in the house but even if you take a small area which everyone respects as a ‘work’ place it can set up boundaries and when the kids see you there they know you are working. I think it important to have plants around to create a nice environment, have good lighting, a table or desk and a good chair. A nice view is a plus.
Set up a working time
A lot of the concern about working from home can be that you won’t get work done but we find it quite the opposite. It’s really hard to set boundaries and sometimes work at all hours. When you work from home it is so tempting to say I’ll just sit and do something for 5 mins and then by the time you’ve got up it’s 11pm and no evening for relaxing. It can be a good thing if you’ve taken the morning off or decided to do something with the kids but generally having a routine is a must. I try to be on my desk by 9-9.30 after I’ve dropped the kids to school and try to finish at 5-6.
But now with the kids at home all the time it’s a totally different ball game as we will have to be helping them with homework and activities. If you don’t have kids then best to stick to 8 hours or whatever works best for you. Switching off and doing other things is important for wellbeing and productivity. Take regular breaks (we make tea for each other and chat) We also make a little time to have a sit down at lunch (at least 30 mins) When you finish your work day make sure you are doing other fun things for you and not work related.
Get dressed as if you’re going out to work
Yes it is so important not to work in your pjs! It will make you feel better, happier and more motivated. I used to think the dream was to work in pyjamas but it totally isn’t ( maybe the odd day is ok ha 😎
I do have to get dressed as I usually take my boys to school, I then go to the gym and then set to work. Nowadays (self isolating) I’m doing a 30 mins gym class indoors (nike training app) at 9 am with the boys and Chris and then having set them an activity we get to our studios to work.
Talk to friends in your field and find support groups
Virtual contact is key at this time of isolation. When I’m working on graphic design projects I often chat on Skype with my designer friends, show them what I’m up to and ask their opinion. This way I feel less lonely and it is nice to have another set of eyes, and chat to other like minded people.
In my product based business, Doodlemoo I am part of a few support networks and hubs, so when I’m feeling lonely I ask questions and know that these people are working on their own too. It feels like having people around even though they’re not physically there. Make some time to find these networks or set up some groups with friends you can chat with. Now with Zoom and Skype it’s never been easier to connect.
Set a home routine for the kids
We decided to isolate a bit earlier as our kids can get asthma so the 1st day we knew we had to think of something and explain to them that it’s not a holiday. We wrote a paper with a day structure and drew out activities they can pick from (they ar 7 and 10). So even if they are more grown up they still need a lot of guidance and prompting or they will just want to be playing games all day. Our 1st rule is that the games are at the end of the day and they need to get all their tasks done first. They range from art, to learning to reading, cooking (with me) and a little rest time too.
If you have little ones it’ll be a lot trickier and I think being flexible with your routine will be key. We are sharing some free printables that hopefully will help with keeping them entertained for a few hours I really hope this helps you. You probably know this but try dividing the day between working a few hours in the day around naps and a few hours in the evening.
Get fresh air
We have been on little walks and adventures around our area where there's no one around and makes for some quality family time, which we will need at this critical time, even if it is in the garden, when the weather is nice i usually have my lunch outside sitting in my hammock or swings.
Hope these help, we would love to know what tips you've found useful share below
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