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Five rules for surviving home working

Rob Jones shares his tips to preserve harmony in the home amid conference calls, kids and Covid-19.

Just as we thought we could venture into our pre-Covid-19 routines now the children are back at school, we’re facing a new set of restrictions and potentially more time spent working from home.

But never fear, after living lockdown like Harry Potter under the stairs for the past six months, here’s how I’ve learned to keep my composure (most of the time) …

  1. Never, ever work in the kitchen

Proximity to tea and toast may seem like a good thing. But it isn’t. Your keyboard does not function better with jam and crumbs. Your brain does not work any better with immediate access to the fridge and children’s yoghurts. Plus a never-ending trail of people/kids traipsing through your workspace is NOT good for focus (even the best noise reducing headphones at full volume can’t block out a dishwasher being unloaded).

  1. Stand up and move (Once in a while. Preferably outdoors.)

See that door at the front of your house? Rumour has it, it leads to another world. Go on, unlock it during working hours, I dare you. Peek outside and breathe some non-house air. Perhaps go for a little stroll/jog/stumble and see who you meet. See the squirrels in the park (awwww). Speak to Keith at 27a. Climb that hill around the back. It’s all good.

If you find yourself getting completely sucked into work, break the cycle once in a while. Move and get that blood pumping. Go talk to someone (it doesn’t have to be Keith though). Use the time you’ve saved from the morning bus commute to set a PB round the block. Or take your lunch at the park. Go stimulate some of the other senses. It helps.

  1. Tidy workspace, tidy mind

Nobody likes living like Stig of the Dump (now there’s a TV reference from the 80s no-one wanted, or asked for). Mess can be distracting, both in your workspace and in your general surroundings. Get rid of mess. Plan and protect time at the beginning or end of the day for tidying and organising your projects. You’ll feel more centred and in control.

  1. What’s behind you? (No, this isn’t a pantomime reference.)

Have you checked your background recently? Zoom calls are a window into your personal life. If you, like me, live like a scarecrow, then keep it tidy to stop video call people getting distracted. Remove anything too eye catching and keep the focus in the meeting space, not your personal space. Or, if you really want to play with people’s minds, do this (although it’s sadly not true).

  1. Stay connected (but turn off your notifications every so often to avoid RAGE)

If you miss those office pod chats, why not just have one. WFH calls are all so ‘worky’ these days, so if you miss catching up with pod mates and shooting the breeze, why not do just that. Take five minutes and have a good old chinwag. Blow off steam. Chat through work problems and get someone else’s perspective. Better still, chat to chums in different teams and pick their brains on that project you’re working on. Support is good.

Pegasus recognises how challenging home office life can be and we’ve been encouraged to find what works for us to stay energised and motivated, whether that’s through virtual collaborations, working flexibly, or a few more visits to the biscuit tin. So, next time you’re feeling a little stuck, try mixing up your day a bit with some inspiration above.

 

is a Senior Account Manager in our Pharma team and has over 10 years of experience working in global and national healthcare campaigns.