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COVID-19 working from home in the New Forest

Keep to a routine and dress for a day’s work!

Some tips for the new army of home based workers “thanks” to the coronavirus crisis

working from home on the sofaSome of us have enjoyed working from home for years, decades even, it’s second nature and poses us no problems in fact we revel in the advantages – including flexibility and the time saved on travelling. 

Now though lots of people have taken their work home who have never done so before - and working from home has for many become yet another of the challenges posed by the coronavirus.

Regular Lymington.com reader, email subscriber and social media follower Gill Hepburn is normally based in the friendly offices of Station Financial in New Milton – expert and friendly advisers on all financial planning matters. Gill is also a fellow member of our fabulous and friendly Forest Entrepreneurs networking group - which now meets on Zoom for mutual support. (Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you’d like details of FE.)

Gill has recently experienced for the first time the complete contrast of working from home. These are her top tips based after a first week of finding it tough, followed by a second when she’s started to get the hang of it!

Read on below, meanwhile if you don’t already receive our weekly e-newsletter delivered direct to your inbox do sign up here 

 
 

Routine, routine!

Gill’s above all else recommendation after two weeks trial and error is to stick to your routine, as far as possible following your usual “office based” routine to maintain that sense of being “at work”.

Dressing for a day at work

I’ll admit that for myself as a permanent home based worker my rules have changed on this! Since the sudden coming of age of online meetings, many of us have had to man up and switch on the camera on Zoom. It just doesn’t feel right not to, when everybody else is! And a big part of overcoming the shyness of seeing your own face on screen is that it looks better if you’ve prepared it!

Gill says: “So you must get yourself ready as though you are leaving the house to go to work – get yourself dressed as though you are leaving your front door. Dress smartly, as though you are meeting the boss, or attending networking meetings - you never know when you might have to have a Facetime or a webinar during the day, or even have a Client Facetime meeting!”

On the subject of dressing for work, do take a look also at this great blog by Fiona Mobbs of Colour Me Beautiful: ‘5 reasons to dress for workhttps://www.yourcolourandstyle.com/2020/03/19/5-reasons-to-dress-for-work-when-working-from-home/ Fiona also wanted me to mention that if people are spending time weeding their wardrobe (as well as their gardens!) they may be interested in another blog “Hangers - 5 Tips To Make Them Work For You” https://www.yourcolourandstyle.com/2020/01/30/hangers-5-tips-to-make-them-work-for-you/ and her “11 Magnificent Tips for Sorting Out our Wardrobe: Get My Expert Guide” which you can access from her website homepage https://www.yourcolourandstyle.com.

Gill continues…

Get your body fuelled in the usual way as you would before you’d leave home, put your  coffee in place beside you with a large glass of water, turn on your PC and get ready for your day ahead.

Creating some space 

Make sure you have some work-space that doesn’t encroach on your shared space.  So for example if you’re like me sat working at your dining room table because there’s nowhere else, make sure you don’t take over the whole table, just part of it and leave some room for dinner!  That way you don’t have to totally “clear your desk” every day – just as you wouldn’t at work!

Maintaining posture without the support of the office set up

It’s very important to look at your posture and make sure you are not slouching or leaning over your PC/ laptop.  As above I’m having to sit at a dining room table – so I have a cushion behind me and a cushion under my feet. (You laugh but my feet get very cold and we have a concrete floor so there is no warmth - today I’ve got a hot water bottle on my feet!  Needs must!)

Taking regular breaks and finishing on time

Make sure you have regular breaks during the day – yes that does mean to break for lunch too.  Step outside and take 10 minutes of some fresh air.  Yes, get lunch and eat before going ‘back to work’, then from my experience I’d say to finish on time and step outside for your 1 hour a day – and/or do an exercise video.   (NB see our Staying Sane article for some tips and online classes!)

Structure and balance

Having the structure of “work” as the main part of the day wherever we do it helps us to maintain a balance.  Our work should naturally tire us, helping us to create a divide between day and evening which ideally a separate entity, and then to take our rest overnight ready for the next day.  And structure to our days will help us enormously through the coming weeks and months.

Hope all that helps…if you have other tips do send them in to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll include in this article with pleasure.

See also our guide on local community groups helping during the coronavirus situation

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