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Working from home: How the Further team are finding the right balance

Right now, the world seems a little uncertain. Our lifestyles have been completely turned upside down; from homeschooling to social distancing to many of us working from home. We’re even finding ourselves searching in desperation for a bag of pasta and a four pack of toilet roll! But in a move that some have argued has brought many businesses into the 21st century (and will change the future of working from home), many of us are now finding ourselves working away from our colleagues, our usual desk space and from our ‘normal routines’. So how can you stay productive whilst living in the same four walls day in, day out? We asked the Further team how they’re keeping in the right frame of mind and what they’re doing to help ease their working days indoors during these challenging times:

Further Office

“Trying to stick to a similar routine has been the most beneficial for me. From getting ready for work in the mornings to going for a walk during my lunch break. It’s also important to ensure you are switching off in the evenings so you can distance yourself from work, and home. Mine might be cooking dinner for the family or watching a good television series or movie. My lunchtime walk certainly helps clear my headspace and divides up the day between morning and afternoon tasks. Having regular communication with your colleagues also helps the working day, even if it’s chatting about what next to watch on Netflix. I also think it’s important to take small screen breaks when possible; making a hot drink or raiding the snack cupboard, again!”

Ben Allen, Marketing Executive

“Creating a new routine has worked for me. I tried to keep my office routine but it didn’t work, so I’ve been starting earlier, going outside during lunch and working in a room I don’t normally use to keep my productivity (and sanity). I also go outside when I finish work so I can fully switch off.”

Abbie Dustan, Social Media Executive

“I’ve been doing my daily legally designated walk or run at the time I’d usually be walking home from work, so there’s a semblance of the usual work routine. In the mornings when I’d usually be walking to work, I’m learning duolingo languages to fill that time. Not only is this building my skill set, but also helping me become extra productive by boosting my mood. I feel this really helps as being indoors every evening can really make you feel sluggish. During my lunchtimes I’ve also recreated my spare room into a yoga room to help me chill out away from work.”

Tabby Farrar, Digital PR Specialist

“I have several ways of keeping productive. The first is making sure I have my trusty notebook on hand so I can write a to-do list each day. The second is ensuring I maintain a similar routine at home; from starting my day by having breakfast and then making a coffee on my way into the ‘office’ to dressing (mostly) how I would normally (I have opted for slouchier jumpers on occasion). Even on days when I have no client calls scheduled I find still doing my hair and makeup keeps me in work mode psychologically. The third is my desk space – making sure it has everything I need. Whilst some people can work from their sofas, I find being sat at an actual desk helps. The fourth is turning off work notifications from time-to-time to allow me to get my head down and really focus on something. I think going out for a (socially distanced) walk during my lunch break really helps me too – it’s also an added benefit having a dog around the house. During the first week of working from home I didn’t take breaks which made me feel more stressed than usual, so I think taking short breaks and getting away from your screen is also good for your mindset, just like you would in the office. Having zoom calls with the camera on has also helped; it’s nice to see people’s faces rather than just hear their voices!”

Sophia Young, Account Strategist

“Starting work at the usual time helps maintain a routine – just be sure to wake up earlier than you have to so you’re fully awake and ready for the day ahead. I don’t think getting out of bed five minutes before you’re due to start your day is any help as you’ll likely be left feeling unproductive and unmotivated. Setting out a plan for the day really helps so you’re not feeling confused or overwhelmed by tasks. Try setting yourself mini goals, concerning what you can realistically achieve whilst working from home. I definitely think making the most of your lunch break can do wonders for your mental health. Whether it’s going for a walk, a run or even grabbing a picnic blanket and sitting in the garden. We all need to ensure we’re looking after ourselves during this time.”

Sabrina Bucknole, Outreach Specialist

“Ensuring I go for my daily run in the mornings really helps me start my working day. My Personal Trainer has moved exercise classes online too, which really helps keep me motivated outside of work.”

Lou Roberts, Joint Director

Working from home office

We want all our clients to know that at Further, we are here. Whether it’s for a virtual coffee to chat about anything or to discuss work and share tips. Which is why it’s important for us to maintain regular communication with both our staff and clients throughout this period of uncertainty. As a business we’ve been fortunate enough to shift our operations to working from home and so far, all of our teams have been managing this outstandingly. For some, this process can be hard and isolating; but as some of the team have discussed, it’s important to look after yourself, maintain a routine, set up an actionable to-do list and ensure you’re keeping your creativity flowing throughout this time.

We look forward to meeting you all in person again once safe to do so. Until then, stay safe, stay indoors and (virtually) put the kettle on…

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