Louise Goss from The Homeworker magazine gives her views on how to get the most of homeworking based on years of interviewing experts and working from home herself.
Louise Goss started The Homeworker magazine after being involved in a tech start-up, an experience that opened her eyes up to the hidden economy taking place behind so many front doors. After moving back to the UK from Australia with two small children and looking at her work options, she decided the time was right to develop her ‘homeworker’ idea, having herself worked from home for years and also because she could see that working from home was a growing area.
The magazine includes interviews with people who work from home and explores how they do it and shares their tips. Louise also interviews experts from psychologists and ergonomists to mindset coaches, and health professionals. Articles range from looking at how to be more creative, or how to balance different types of tasks, to how to develop a more positive outlook or a growth mindset while at home. There are also good exercises to do at the desk, home office tips and inspiration, and features on staying engaged and connected and protecting your mental health.
Louise [pictured below] is a firm believer in the benefits homeworking can bring in terms of flexible working and work life balance, but she realises it is not for everyone. Nevertheless, she thinks we will see more homeworking after Covid, particularly more hybrid working and less stigma around remote working, though she is keen to point out that Covid working not the same as normal homeworking.
Here are her tips for making the most of homeworking in addition to having a good ergonomic chair and a good broadband connection:
Develop a good routine at the start and end of the day
A day that starts well generally continues well. In fact, I’d say a productive day starts the night before. Get your clothes out, your to-do list written, and your workspace tidy in the evening. Then when you wake up, you can start work without wasting time hunting for the missing pen and wondering which task you have to get on with.
If you can get up before the kids, I find this really helps with feeling you’re starting the day on your terms. If it gives you a chance to have a workout or do something for yourself, I find you’re much less stressed by all the other demands that pull on your time.
It is equally important to have a good end of work-day routine or ritual. This helps you to switch off – a big challenge with homeworking. I often suggest saving a certain task to do at the end of each day that signals you are finished: whether it’s an inbox tidy up or a final ten-minute zoom call or phone call with your team. Some people like to change clothes, or have an evening ‘commute’ such as a quick walk outside to help shift the energy and mind from work and back to home.
This is really important, especially because we no longer have the multitude of reasons to get up from our desks when we are home. No photocopier runs, no colleagues to pop and chat to, no commute, or even a walk down the corridor to the toilet.
Try to move at least every hour. You can incorporate stretches or even mini workout breaks such as squats or dancing! (Nobody can see you after all!) If you don’t have the perfect ergonomic set-up, this helps prevent all the aches and pains associated with poor posture and being hunched over a laptop for hours.
I could expand hugely on this tip, but communication is key for successful homeworking. Make sure everyone in your household understands your working hours and when you are and are not available as this helps you focus without constant interruptions. It’s important the conversations happen regularly and you understand their needs and frustrations too. Nobody wants to feel as if they live in an office.
If you’re a remote worker, make sure you are also in touch regularly with your colleagues and your boss. This isn’t just for social interaction, but to make sure you are comfortable reaching out for help and can be transparent about any challenges you might be facing.
*To get a digital subscription go to the website or order a hard copy of one of the Homeworker’s annual printed work from home guides. For any US residents, the print issues are stocked at some Barnes & Noble stores.