Working from home insight

The below insight has been written by Mark Scott, CEO at Cantium Business Solutions:


Those of you who follow my posts will know that I’m a great advocate of remote working. It’s something I’ve done for a long time, and it’s now part of the culture within Cantium. However, lots of people now have remote, or home working thrust upon them, and for many, it will be a first time experience.

Home working sounds great, and for the first few days may be a bit of a novelty, but it’s essential to appreciate that it’s not as easy as you may think, especially if it’s over a sustained period. Only when you start to work alone, do you appreciate just how often you do interact with those around you in the office.

How often do you ask a quick question to the person sitting opposite to you? Or, do you ever ask someone to have a glance at an email before you hit the send button? All of those small interactions are an integral part of your day, and all will be gone when you start working remotely.

Working at home has many benefits, but it can be a lonely existence; fortunately; if you apply some self-discipline and good practices, you can make it a highly productive and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips that I use to optimise my working hours at home.

I get up early and have the usual routine just as if I were going to the office. If you usually eat breakfast, eat it at the usual time, don’t put it off until later just because you’re not leaving the house. If you don’t usually eat breakfast, don’t start now, you want your work colleagues to recognise you when you return to work!

By all means, please turn on the TV as usual, but turn it off when you’re ready to start work. There will be a great temptation to have it on in the background; but, whether you realise it or not, it will be a distraction. Likewise, resist checking your social media every ten minutes, it’s also a distraction.

Set aside regular break times to get up and move around. Better still, go out to the garden and get some fresh air. Use this time to have a quick look at your social media accounts.

Plan your day. Create a ‘To Do’ list that includes all of the things you want to, or need to accomplish that day. Keeping busy is the best way to keep loneliness at bay. And set yourself more tasks than usual, because you will get more done once you settle into a good routine.

Make phone calls and schedule online conference calls. Remember, the lack of social interaction is going to be the biggest shock to your system. It’s important to continue to communicate with others. And it needn’t be work-related all of the time. Call friends and family, or work colleagues; if you’re like me, you’ll miss the ‘water cooler’ conversations, and you’ll quickly start to appreciate the part they play in the regular business day.

When the work is done for the day, switch off and relax. You’re not going to have the routine of packing up to go home and the daily commute. This is the time that you probably subconsciously switch from work to personal mode. If you are going to spend all day and night at home, you must create work time and relaxation time.

As a seasoned campaigner and long-time advocate of remote and home working, I do all of these things as second nature, but I do appreciate it’s a new experience for many of you. I hope you find these simple tips useful and that you can settle into a new way of working. And, If you do get lonely, I’m always happy to chat.