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Our Working From Home Checklist

Given the Covid lockdown restrictions that came into play during March this year, now more than ever we’re all familiar with the saying Working From Home ‘WFH’. This said there is an ever looming possibility of a second lockdown hence why a lot of firms have opted to keep employees working from home on a ‘til further notice’ basis. 

At first the thought of working from your own home seemed very attractive as you’re in control of your working day. You can have lunch whenever you want, you can take a walk in between meetings at your leisure and not to mention you can take all the coffee breaks your heart desires. However, we’re now 7 months on from the initial lockdown and just as we thought it’s time to head back to the office (at least on a part time basis) Michael Gove recently announced that if individuals could work from home, they should. 

So where does this leave the workforce? Before we delve into the struggles of WFH and offer some solutions, it’s important to note some people have flourished throughout the Work From Home restrictions. They’ve set up office spaces in their homes, and have relished in being able to save on lunches and takeaway coffees, not to mention the daily commute! However not everyone is a fan of Working From Home as there are those of us who don’t ‘function’ so well in a quiet and somewhat lonely environment. You could argue the novelty has begun to wear off as people are starting to struggle with being alone for extended periods of time. So, what changes can be implemented into your WFH day?  Here at Unit One we’ve compiled a list of things to consider for those of you Working From Home to help you overcome the struggles of not being in your usual working environment. 

Designated Work Space 

The first hurdle when it comes to working from home is deciding what part of your home must now become your workspace. Due to a lack of space a lot of people are having to work from their kitchen tables or bedrooms, this in itself poses a major issue as it’s due to this overlap of spaces that individuals are finding it hard to switch off from work. So, when WFH ensure you create a dedicated work space as this will help create a clear separation between your work and home life.

Another great tip for your working environment is that it’s a well-lit, bright and organised space, preferably near a window to allow for natural light, as this can help alleviate the strain of blue light from laptops and too much screen time. 

If you’re considering establishing a long term WFH solution, here at Unit One Architects we can assist with designing and building home offices &/or work pods in gardens. We can design modern or traditional garden rooms, that are heated, WIFI connected and comfortably furnished and these can be a great, tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of home life. They can have external terraces and sliding doors and can provide a great inside / outside experience that engages directly with your garden and planting.

We can also help you extend or reconfigure your current home environment by creating a sun-room connected to a kitchen or living room that can provide ample light through skylights and glazed doors. This would be a modern form of conservatory but one that is warmed with underfloor heating and has an insulated roof that controls rather than permits too much sun, as some conservatories might. This can be open plan onto the rest of the house or can have sound separating doors to allow for some quiet work time even if the kids are running riot!

Unit One Architects are experts at getting planning permission or Permitted Development for a variety of home space and we can design all of this in 3d for you using models that can allow you to experience the finished items and contribute your ideas to the design process.

Please click the following link in order to see what services we can offer you and how we can carry out site investigations in a socially distanced or even remote manner. We offer a free half hour telephone consultation where you can tell us about your project and can ask us questions about the process and the services we offer, to help bring your project to life.

Staying Connected 

A second major issue when WFH is how do you stay connected? It’s imperative that you do so not only with your team, department or superior at work but also others in your sector and of course friends & family. During our research into staying connected when WFH, we came across a great initiative that grew a lot of traction during lockdown called the Co-Working Club. We spoke to founder Jessica Berry about the community she’s built and how it helped her overcome the loneliness of lockdown. 

“The desire to set up The Co-Working Club came from my own experiences of loneliness and isolation when I first decided to go self-employed.” Jessica revealed to us that she really struggled with the transition from a busy office environment to working from home by herself every day and soon the lack of human interaction really started to affect her mental health. This transition is something that many of us are having to manage currently and may potentially have to get used to until 2021. 

Jessica set up the Co-Working Club to create a community that would bring her more connections and would also offer this community feel to other female business owners, freelancers and remote workers who were experiencing her same struggles. “During lockdown we’ve seen our online community grow rapidly in numbers which I believe is due to so many people now experiencing some of the downsides of working from home on a permanent basis.” 

Finally, Jessica revealed to us that ‘The Online Club has been an absolute lifesaver for both herself and the members during this time of physical separation and it’s been amazing to witness the connection that can be made over the internet!’ Now this particular online community may not be for everyone (as it’s all female space) however we can all learn from Jessica’s initiative, that there is no shame in reaching out to people and friends for help during these unprecedented times.  

Here are some easy tips to staying connected that you can implement into your working week:

  • You could schedule an accountability call with a fellow work colleague every Monday to keep you both motivated and productive.
  • You could plan a friends group zoom call mid-week to lift everyone’s spirits until the weekend rolls around.
  • You could pencil into your schedule time to chat to people, whether this be using your works slack chat or WhatsApp’ing a friend. 

Establishing a Routine 

The importance of a structured routine and schedule can’t go unmentioned as this is essential when you’re WFH trying to be as productive as possible. Realistically you know your working style better than anyone else, so now that you’re not chained to your usual desk, you can adapt your working style and really make the most of not being constrained to office hours. For example, if you know you’re most productive in the afternoon perhaps use your morning to workout, catch up with family, walk the dog etc. You’re now in charge of your core working hours so use this to your advantage and plan your day so that your workload isn’t overwhelming.

Screen Time

This may be hard to monitor and improve upon as much of what we do involves being online and monitoring our emails when WFH, however when taking a coffee or lunch break try not to be on your mobile or laptop. 

Here are some ideas to reduce screen time: 

  • When taking a break why not listen to a podcast, read a book, or better yet check in with a friend or relative. It’s important that you step away from your working space. 

We hope that this blog has offered you some helpful tips to successfully working from home and has given you some food for thought when it comes to WFH. Due to the overnight shift of working from home it’s not only imperative that as employees we remain productive and successful but that you prioritise your mental health and well-being.