Working from home – the WISE experience
Around half of the WISE team have been home-based for some time now, so we thought we could share our tips and experience, and help you learn from the mistakes we made and what we appreciate about being home-based.
Here’s the view from my desk. Watching nuthatch on the bird feeder is one of the many perks of working from home.
My practical tip would be to set an end time, especially if you are on your own in the house and doing work you enjoy. Discipline yourself to switch off work devices, on or close to that time. If someone else is around, ask them to hold you to it.
I have a unique perspective as I work from home and my husband also works from home.
We used to work from home together both working for the same software company sat back to back in a box room bedroom for two years and we are still married! We also split childcare in the house while the other one works from home so I might be able to offer unique perspectives on how to work this:
Working from home top tips
- Get dressed. Open a window even for 30 mins at the start of the day to get some fresh air and wake you up. Put away your work things at the end of the day in a drawer or box so you mentally draw a line under work.
- Working with your partner from home top tips – Take turns to make your lunch, the crush in the kitchen at 1pm isn’t fun for anyone and tidy up after yourself.
- Offer to make hot drinks and if you can possibly work in separate rooms text each other these requests so you don’t interrupt each others work flows.
As a relative newbie working for WISE, I initially wondered how I would be able to cope working from home. It seemed a strange idea. I’ve always worked in a physical on-site business before and it was very weird to set up shop from home. I soon discovered that I love it, though. With fast internet, phone services and multiple business applications such as Go to Meeting and Microsoft Teams making communication so simple, I’ve never been happier. My main problem is taking a break from work – I get so involved in my day I never get a chance to even look out of the window so I have to remind myself to occasionally get up, stretch and go make a coffee or nose in the kitchen for something to eat (big tip – don’t store too much chocolate in the house!).
I struggled in the beginning with separating work and home life and I’ve found that making sure I have a separate space to work in and leave at the end of the day is essential. For a while I had to work from my bedroom which meant I felt like I never left one room in the house and that became really hard, but now I have a dedicated office space at the bottom of the garden. It makes running for the facilities a bit of a trek between meetings, but does give me a chance in the summer to take a business call while wandering round the garden inspecting the weeds!
I would be really disappointed now to return to a fully office-based role. Working from home means my productivity is higher as I’m fully focused on my work all the time instead of chatting at the coffee station or being distracted by other office workers and it gives me a flexibility I could only dream about in a site-based office. If I need to head to the pharmacy or pick my daughter up from school early, I can, without it drastically affecting my workday.
My biggest tips would be:
- Ensure you have a dedicated working space if you can – being in the kitchen and packing away your computer at the end of the day is better than working from the bedroom and then going to… bed!
- Make sure you keep in contact with other work colleagues regularly – I have started really enjoying video conferencing chats now that I don’t see other people as regularly – it keeps me feeling part of the team.
- Make sure you have the right digital tools to aid your work – I am now a huge fan of Microsoft Teams – we have started using it a lot for our internal meetings.
- Make sure you take regular breaks in the day to give yourself a stretch and breathing space. If you have a garden, go admire your weeds regularly as well.
I stick to a very strict routine to ensure I am productive at work when working from home. I keep it flexible when required and will tinker with my schedule to keep me sane and on top of everything.
When working from home, it’s essential that you have regular contact with your team and it is always better when you can see them – especially during this time when you don’t know when you’ll see them in person!