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How to work from home successfully

We are all finding our feet working from home in lockdown and whilst we can take advice from those accustomed to working from home we think it’s important to recognise that this is a new normal for most people - seasoned home workers included. 

We have put together some of the best tips and advice that we have heard to help guide you through creating an effective and efficient way of working from home. But first, lets look at what you might be working on from home. As therapists we typically spend the majority of our time in clinic with clients so with the restrictions what does your new working week look like? Try to plan goals and outcomes, schedule your time around what you hope to achieve. Will you dedicate this time to learning and up-skilling online, client contact, marketing , admin, finance, seeking out new clients... It’s an opportunity to get ahead and hit the ground running if you can harness your time and creativity during this time.

So what are the seven steps to creating the perfect working environment...

  1. On your marks, get set and go!
    Set yourself a routine in line with what usually works for you. Set an alarm, get up and get ready in the way you usually would including getting dressed. Not only will this help your motivation and mindset and get you in the zone, it will also allow you to take conference calls or Facetime/Zoom/Microsoft Teams/Houseparty requests from clients on the fly!
  2. Great expectations.
    It is important to manage expectations during this time. Communicate when you will be available, whether its changing business hours or letting your household know when they can and can’t interrupt your work. Timetables can really help if you are working but are also the childcare, cook, homeschooler etc. etc. Negotiating and setting a plan for when you are realistically able to work and manage client contact is important but don’t let it stress you out. We have all seen broadcasters working from home and having a child walk in and cause all kinds of chaos. It’s not ideal but this is the new normal and clients and colleagues will all understand especially if pre-warned that it is a distinct possibility. Set your own agenda according to what you can achieve and don’t measure that against anyone else.
  3. Create a space that works for you.
    Once you have set your boundaries and know when you will be working now you need to know where. Ideally you should have a desk space in a quiet corner that is quiet and allows for good posture - wrists and forearms should be level with the floor if using a keyboard. This should be an environment that helps you focus and if you are used to background noise then silence may not work. Have some fun finding playlists that help you work. If the space allows you ideally want to be able to escape from work at the end of the day so whether this is tidying any papers away or closing a door make sure you have a way of moving away from your work space. If you are in a shared space then equipping yourselves with headphones can help to zone out and concentrate. 
  4. Plan your escape.
    It is important to take regular breaks and step away from your screen. We are no doubt all exceeding all kinds of recommendations about screen times so be mindful of how much time you are spending in front of devices and find time away from them. Ideally your breaks would include getting some fresh air and sunlight. Open a window, step outside if you can, if it’s sunny can you do some work outside even? Another great option is planning some exercise or meditation or something that really helps you to escape and clear your mind ready to refocus and return to work feeling refreshed. 
  5. Plan your meals.
    Eat and drink well during your day to boost your energy and concentration. Plan ahead and prepare lunch as if you would on a normal work day if you knew you wouldn’t have time to go out to grab lunch. Keep hydrated and limit caffeine where possible. 
  6. Make sure you are getting face time.
    Wherever possible choose to speak to someone ideally over video call. If it is appropriate make phone calls over emails and engage in conversation. It is a long lonely day if you don’t talk to anyone and can become extremely isolating. If this just isn’t appropriate then ensure you schedule in time to talk to family and friends in breaks and after work. Another way to schedule in time with your peers is to join webinars, online training and anything that keeps the conversation alive.
  7. Stay passionate.
    Find a way to measure success and stay motivated and work hard at keeping your passion alive. Are you a checklist person or will you rely on future bookings off the back of your work. Keep in mind what your goals are for this time and the realistic outcomes and how you can track and measure this. It can be as simple as learning to do something new or finally getting around to something you’ve been putting off. Or are you a people person and are yu missing treating your clients? Pick up the phone and talk to them, check in and let them know you are thinking of them - it will keep you front of mind with them in return. Stay fresh and enjoy what you do by figuring out what motivates you. There’s a great quote ‘when you feel like quitting, remember why you started’.