Surviving Working from Home

By now, if you are working from home, you will be all set up and already working away. So, now is a good time to stop and take stock of what you are doing to make sure you are well positioned for success.

I have been researching this topic over the last week, not only to write this but to also help myself and my team get this right, 4 weeks is a long time after all. I have condensed all I’ve found into six steps:           


  • Set up your working area – A friend of mine regularly worked from home. He had a set up in the living room which usually worked well. However, last week that all changed. With his wife and children now at home, the situation wasn’t going to work. It’s important to have a work set up away from distractions, if possible. If you must have a set up around others or distractions like TV, make sure you have set periods where you can focus on your work. Have a plan with your family or ’bubblemates’.

It is also important that your “workstation” is set up as best you can. Below is a link to setting yourself up. Use things around home (like books and cushions, not perfect, but needs must) to make this as user friendly as possible. Let your boss know if you are feeling pain and discomfort.

  • Establish a routine – It may seem much easier to just fall out of bed and get up and get directly into work, it will be so much better for your mental health to get up, shower and wear more than a panda bear onesie you slept in. If getting to work was a cycle or walk, there is no reason you shouldn’t still do that, leave your home… and return to your home office. It’s all about your mindset of making this work. At Essential HR, we are having a morning Zoom meeting, which usually means coffee and a few laughs to start the day. This timer (below) can help set up a good routine to make sure you take regular breaks. Don’t forget your micropauses people! 

  • Fuel your body and mind - I usually get up at 5.30am to go to the gym. Well, that’s not happening and as well intentioned as I was to stay in that routine, I’m now getting up later. However, it’s important to keep active and to try and eat as well as you can. There will be days that you do nothing and eat terribly, but just wake up the next morning, set your intentions to do better and do it.  
  • Outdoor Adventures – Make time for breaks while you are working (use the tomato timer above if you aren’t good at switching off for breaks). If you expect you can work a full day at home, with family or ‘bubblemates’ around, you’re headed for disaster. Head outside, go for a walk with others in your bubble or alone whichever you need for your mental health. Go on – try something different! if you usually eat lunch out, or even if you don’t, why not head out into the backyard for an alfresco dining experience.
  • Social Beings – Human beings are social. Most of us reading this will be used to working with at least one other human being. When you are at home in your bubble, use the tools you have to help that human connection stay strong. There are plenty of options that allow you to video conference, like Zoom, Facetime or Messenger. Even if you aren’t “working” from home and nor are your team, I’d recommend catching up via one of these mediums just to keep your team culture strong. You can still catch up for “coffee” with a friend or colleague.
  • Have fun – Lastly, maybe most importantly, have fun. These are very strange times and times that none of us as used to working in. As much as you can have fun, you should. On the first day of my “new normal” workplace, I dressed up as a pirate and was joined by Superman and a Dinosaur for the morning. I have heard of teams meeting up to do the Stuff daily quiz and my partner’s work are having work drinks later this week.

I’ll leave you on this note. This experience will be as terribly isolating and horrible or as fun and amazing as you want it to be. My hope for you is that most of your days in “lockdown” are great, even if there are some speed bumps along the way. If you want to ask any questions about anything, please click here and email me your question.


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Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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