Working from home: Q&A with Zoe

Following on from our blog post ‘12 tips to stay sane during Coronavirus lockdown‘ we asked each of our team to share their experience of working from home.

Following on from our blog post ‘12 tips to stay sane during Coronavirus lockdown‘ we asked each of our team to share their experience of working from home. Zoe has shared her thoughts below!

What have you enjoyed about working from home?

First of all, not having to get up at 5am! I can get up an hour and a half later as it doesn’t take me an hour to get from the breakfast table to my desk, like my usual commute. I also have longer evenings because I don’t have to be up so early, I can sit up a little later to watch some TV or go for a walk over the fields to unwind. I also have time to cook nice meals with Mum, which I also wouldn’t normally have time to do – we have so far tried two recipes from the Wagamama cookbook (one being Katsu curry of course), since we are missing going to their restaurant.

What have been some of your challenges?

Communication, both lack of and miss-communication have been hurdles to overcome. It’s not as easy as being in the office when you can glance across to see if the person you need to talk to is available or whether they’re too busy to be distracted. Everything is either in a message or a phone call, the latter we have found to be much more efficient and also at far lesser risk of miss-communicating certain things. It’s hard to judge someone’s tone in a message, and you can’t see their body language, so it is easy to make wrong conclusions about how they’re coming across. Secondly, I actually miss the commute to work in some respects as I do enjoy driving – it helps to get me in the zone for work in the morning and helps me to unwind on the way home.

If you could change one thing, what would it be (other than not working from home)?

To bring back the general chit-chat in the office; working from home can feel a little ‘isolating’ at the best of times. My room is set up as half bedroom and half office which works but isn’t ideal as I spend all but an hour of the day within the same four walls, by myself. In the office, you not only chat with each other about things other than work, which helps to relieve the tension on hectic days, but you also interact with people outside the office when we pop out for lunch. This of course is particularly an issue at present due to the current situation where we are all isolated, literally.

What is your go-to playlist?

I listen to anything and everything pretty much, other than rap or screamo but indie music is probably top of the list, ‘The Indie List’ [Spotify] is a favourite. I simply cannot work in silence; I find the beat helps to tune my mind and enables me to concentrate harder. However, if you asked what the past 10 songs I listened to are, I wouldn’t be able to recall as I get so focussed that my brain doesn’t register the music – does anyone else find this?

What are your top tips for working from home?

  1. Get up at a time you would consider to be ‘early’ even if you don’t have to, as it will give you the time you need to get into the headspace for the day of work ahead. Put smart clothes on, do your makeup and tidy your hair, so that you keep your normal routine as much as possible.
  2. It sounds silly, but don’t forget to have plenty to drink and get up occasionally to stretch your legs – I am officially a hypocrite as I regularly fail on both, but it is good practice. I usually come back from lunch at say 1.30 and don’t get up even once until I finish at 5 ish – I bet there’s lots of you that are thinking yep that’s me, you know who you are! At the very least, make sure you move away from your screen for at least 20-30 mins to have your lunch, as it is good to give both your brain and your eyes a little rest.
  3. Try to keep your work area as office-like as possible, but keep it clean, tidy and try to remove distractions where you can.
  4. Make sure you finish on time (ish), there’s no harm in working a few minutes past your official end of day, but it’s not great practice to allow work to eat hours into your evening if it can be avoided, even if you have to try and work a little more efficiently during the day, it will be worth it.

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