Tips to help you make working from home easier

The transition from having a desk at the office to a desk at home can be a slightly challenging one, so we decided to chat to our local adults Publisher Andrea Nattrass and Miemie DuPlessis, our local children's publisher - who have been at it for years and have developed some golden rules for working from home for some tips. 

5 Key Habits from Andrea: 

Have a routine, just as you would if you were in the office, and stick to it as far as possible. This includes taking a regular lunch hour.

  • Have "to do" lists - whether these are generated by hand or using some kind of electronic aid - and consult them regularly in terms prioritising the work you need to get through in the medium term and the short term.
  • Set up a dedicated work space that you can walk away from (and ideally close the door on - literally and figuratively) at the end of the working day.
  • Ensure you communicate regularly with your colleagues - not only in terms of work but also more generally. Unless it is key to your job, be strict with yourself when it comes to time on social media, which can take you down an internet wormhole very easily; if necessary, get an app that will help to limit the time you spend on various platforms.

Looking for some quick do's:

  • Do give yourself some time to adjust to the "new normal". 
  • Do have a comfortable chair.
  • Do make use of different ways to stay connected.
  • Do take regular short breaks.
  • Do focus on what's important and needs to get done; consciously limit distractions.
  • Do allow yourself some flexibility in your working time - get the work done and put in the hours, but on some days this will be in the early morning or at night.
  • Do realise that there is ALWAYS more work than your working hours.

What you should try not to do:

  • Don't allow yourself to feel isolated and overwhelmed - reach out to a colleague as soon as you feel this happening; go for a walk; cuddle something
  • Don't wear your pyjamas to work (slippers are not pyjamas)
  • Don't have a glass of wine with lunch :P

Miemie's tips for working at home with kids:

When working from home with kids, you will have to be extremely flexible. You will be frequently interrupted - whether it is by the kids or because of having to manage the household - and not one day will be the same. Some days will be good, others not so much. There will be washing and cleaning and dishes and cooking and kids demanding your attention for all kinds of things, big and small. You can scream and shout and explain nicely that mommy has to work and lock yourself in a separate room, but it won't help. Which means that the best time to work is very early in the morning before they are awake - I start out at five o'clock - and after dinner/bedtime.

When you have an important deadline looming or just need some peace and quiet, ASK FOR HELP. Grandparents or your partner or your siblings.  Even if this means that you have to work on the weekend because you can only get someone to help you on Saturdays and Sundays.

Ask your kids for help - you will be surprised at how many things they can help with if you allow them.  

We are living in an extremely stressful time - it is not and cannot be business as usual. This also means that you have to be kinder to yourself and your family than usual. This will also help to lower the stress levels at home and the lower the stress levels are, the more work you will get done. 

Take care!