Self-isolation and/or a general quarantine is now very much upon us, and as a result, more people are working from home than ever. This is a new endeavour for most people, but at Much Better Adventures, as well as having offices in London and Bristol, we’ve also got staff members who work from home on the regular – whether that’s from the French Alps, Hungary, Canada or at either end of the UK.
So, since the move to working at home seems to have caused quite the stir amongst the general public, we thought we’d compile some tips from our home offices to get you settled in quickly, stay productive and most importantly of all – to help you stay sane in these trying times.
1. Don’t Wake Up at 8.55am for a 9am Start
As tempting as this may be, snoozing your alarm over and over again and getting up five minutes before work starts is a particularly bad idea, for a variety of reasons. For starters, it’s a bad idea if you don’t want to start work looking like you’ve just… well, I was going to say, “like you’ve just rolled out of bed”, but you wouldn’t even have done that yet, would you?
“We’re not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit, but stick a pair of trousers on.”
Still, though, that’s the least of it. Working from home is not about vanity. Far from it. It’s just a good idea to give yourself a bit of time to wake up, so you don’t call ‘Bob’ ‘John’, ‘John’ ‘Bob’ and end up writing “love you mum” at the end of your first e-mail of the day.
Even if you’re able to snap into work mode right away after waking up, if you get up late, you’ll end up forgetting to have your morning breakfast or coffee. And if you miss those spots regularly, you can get into a bad habit. Remember what you learnt in primary school. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Get up in plenty of time, maybe even go for a walk or a run in the morning, have a shower, get dressed, have your coffee and you’ll be ready to call Bob and John the correct names and not confuse your boss with your mother.
2. Actually, Like… Get Dressed
Look, we know, we know. The temptation is there to work in your pyjamas. Your PJ’s. Your jim jams. Your jammies. Whatever you want to call them. It’s the dream, right? Sure, for a while. But next thing you know they’ve got a coffee stain on them. And you’re still wearing them. A pizza stain. You’re still wearing them. Now they’ve got crisp crumbs and hair on them; trapped on the chewing gum you stuck on the sleeve because you couldn’t be bothered walking to the bin. And you’re still wearing them. To work. At 5pm, you shut your laptop, slug-crawl back to bed, spray dry shampoo in your mouth and fall asleep.
“Speak to your pet and explain your trade to them; to both fend off your own loneliness and increase their future employability.”
For your own benefit, and mental health, we urge you – get up, and get dressed. This is your signal to yourself that work has begun. You are dressed, and you are now ready to socialise with the world! Maybe more importantly, it also signifies some kind of division between being in bed, or having off-time in your house, and being at work, which is useful for creating some barriers where there otherwise would not be any, while you’re working at home.
We’re not saying you have to wear a three-piece suit, but stick a pair of trousers on, or whatever sort of garment you usually wear day to day. Or why not promote your summer shirts to office wear while you’re at home? Wear floral shirts every day? Wear your comfiest, unreasonably expensive outdoor clothes, meant for climbing Kilimanjaro. Hell, wear scuba gear or a parachute for all we care, but just wear something different to what you wear to bed. If you sleep naked, this is particularly important, especially if your office is currently meeting by video call. HR will probably clamp down pretty quickly if they’re able to screenshot you.
3. Set Goals for the Day
“Wow, an actual, serious, proper tip in this article,” you’re thinking. Woah. Stop right there. The first two points were also very serious. This one just has the word “goals” in it, which means we’ve moved into management mode. Who knows, maybe soon we’ll even be using phrases like “reaching out”, “actioning” and “low-hanging fruit”. But it will not be this day. Back to the point. One of the things people find toughest about working from home is avoiding procrastination. A good way to do this is to set yourself goals at the start of the day for what you want to get done. That way, you know if you’re on track, or falling behind.
This is the tip that will hopefully help you pry yourself away from watching Kilian Jornet videos on YouTube or liking memes of mountain goats in funny hats on Twitter – because if you don’t, then you won’t get what you wanted done, and as such, you will feel a deep sense of shame (or possibly an incredibly minor sense of shame; depending on how much you like your job).
4. Find One Regular Spot To Work From
It could be the dinner table. It could be a different table. It could even be… a third table (look at you with all your tables)! Regardless of where you work, it’s good to work from the same place every day. Your working spot will become a place that you associate with doing work, and if you work all over the house, it’s a bit tough to strike a work/home balance. When the clock strikes 5pm, you want to be able to shut your laptop and leave your work station for the wild freedom of… I dunno, a different room? The sofa maybe? The kitchen? PS. Working from the sofa is dangerous. You’ll get bad posture, slowly sink into it and end up becoming part of the thing.
5. Make Good Use of Your Lunch Break
If you just go to your work station, don’t actually talk to anyone the entire day, then stare at your laptop for eight hours, it is unlikely you are living a happy existence. So make sure you a) actually take your lunch break – shut the computer, get away from it! Away! And b) make good use of that lunch break. One of the best things about working from home is that you get to cook your own lunch, so you can actually make a damn good meal.
“Ask your hiking boots how their morning is on your 18-step commute.”
You could also go out and have a run or a walk (errr, if you didn’t have one in the morning – only one allowed at the moment, unfortunately), or you could read a book or watch TV for a bit. Even call up a friend who’s also on their lunch. Or text your parents. They’d love to hear from you. Whatever you do, get away from your laptop and actually take your lunch hour, for your own sanity. It’s also worth a couple coffee breaks during the day for similar reasons.
6. If You Have a Dog/Cat/Rabbit/Iguana, Give Them Lots and Lots of Love
This one is simple. If you’ve got a pet, the pet wants your attention (with the possible exception of the pet being a cat). If you’re a good pet owner, you hopefully also want to give them your attention. They’re adorable. Sure, you want and need to get work done too, but look into your pet’s eyes. Awww. Look deep into their beautiful, excited-you’re-working-at-home eyes. Now pet your pet. PET YOUR PET ALREADY. They’re a good boy/girl. If possible, work with your pet on your lap. Or next to you like an intern. Speak to your pet and explain your trade to them; to both fend off your own loneliness and increase their future employability.
7. Talk to Your Outdoor Gear/Kitchen Appliances Like They’re Co-Workers
This is particularly important for those who don’t have a pet and, as such, will likely have no face-to-face encounters with anyone, all day. Create co-workers. Say good morning to your kettle. Ask your hiking boots how their morning is on your 18-step commute. Quiz your record player on what music they’ve been listening to lately and ask the empty chair next to you what they’re working on today (though this one can often be followed by a horrific moment of realisation that you are, in fact, much closer to going insane than you had suspected).
Hell, why not summon a full office meeting? Bring your kettle, hiking boots, skis, record player and an empty chair into the kitchen and demand that whoever has been leaving dirty coffee mugs in the sink starts cleaning up after themselves. Then admit that it was you and, for goodness sake, clean the mugs. Please clean the mugs. And yourself. For all of us. Come on now.
Still stuck looking for a good reason to get up in the morning? Check out our full range of adventure holidays here. Something to look forward to.