WFH – how to make it work for you

Last week, normality was turned on its head. For everyone. Those of us who were fortunate to do so swapped the office for our homes for the unforeseeable future as the world became a very different place.

COVID-19 has swept its way through Europe and its impact can be felt everywhere. It may be in its infancy in the UK with the worst still yet to come, but already it’s had a profound effect on the way we live and work. Huge industries have been decimated and for those fortunate enough to be still trading, work practices have been drastically altered.

At OTB, we have all begun to work remotely and we recognise how fortunate we are to be able to do that. So, in these testing times, how do we try and establish some sense of normality? Here are a few things we’ve learnt in our first week out of the office:

BAU

Okay, so you’re not technically making the commute into the office. But you’re still preparing yourself for a day at work. For all intents and purposes, it is business as usual. That means you shouldn’t roll out of bed at 8.55am. Give yourself time and get up for the day as you normally would. Ditch the pyjamas, brave the shower and get dressed into clothes you wouldn’t be embarrassed to leave the house in. Get yourself into the right mindset and the rest will follow.

Communication just became even more important

You still need to go about your job as you would in the office. Briefs need to be fulfilled and there are no deadline holidays. You don’t have the luxury of wandering over to your colleague’s desk to question the task set. You need to keep open all lines of communication. Email, WhatsApp, video call, phone call – regular checking in can help make this newfound work environment feel more normal. If you’re delivering a joint project and you know where everyone else is up to, you’ll feel more at ease about the task ahead of you.

Your sense of humour is your superpower

With a constant 24-hour news cycle, the doom and gloom can at times feel inescapable. And simply saying, “well, I’ll take a break from the news” won’t cut it either. If you take a break from listening to the news, who knows what the situation will be like when you tune back in. The landscape is changing hour by hour. So, although it would be wise to stop watching, it’s near impossible. That’s why your sense of humour is the perfect antidote to the madness unfolding outside. Keep your spirits high, laugh, be a bit ridiculous – whatever puts a smile on your face and spring in your step, do it!

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.

Inevitably things will be different. You’ll need to be flexible and imaginative to overcome obstacles when working from home. Everyday tasks will need to be reinvented – face-to-face meetings will be replaced by video conference calls. These things can be an inconvenience but they’re also an exciting opportunity to reinvent and overcome. Were you planning on holding an agency talk that’s been derailed by Coronavirus? Why not hold a webinar instead? Just because things are different, it doesn’t mean it has to be disastrous.

For the love of God, take a break…

Many of us I’m sure are already feeling fatigued with working at home. This is exacerbated by the uncertainty that surrounds this most unusual situation. There is no determinable end date in sight. When working from home, it’s easy for the lines of separation between home and work to become blurred. You don’t actually leave the house. Your once welcome a retreat from the chaos of the office has become your new office. Taking regular breaks is essential to surviving and avoiding climbing the walls. Think of it this way, you don’t work flat out from 9 til 5 in the office with no tea, food or toilet breaks, so don’t try it at home.

Stay safe, stay indoors and look out for each other. If you’re used to working from home, what helps you establish a sense of normality and routine? Share your hints and tips with us @otbtweeter

WFH – how to make it work for you