With virtual offices across Scotland, we at JCM & Co are well practised in creating a productive ‘work from home’ environment. Here are some of our top tips to make your transition to a virtual office a little easier.
#1. Have a dedicated space
With the right tools, you can create a productive workspace anywhere. Make sure you have a dedicated desk, chair, and space that can be your ‘office’ for the foreseeable future.
Rebecca is a dab-hand at working from home in rural Dumfries and Galloway. Her best piece of advice for working from home long-term?
“Make sure you have a space that is your own. My partner is a dairy farmer and before I had my own ‘office’ we shared a space and lost our patience. I now have my own space and he is aware that outside of lunchtime, the office is generally off-limits.”
(Becca’s at home work space)
#2. It’s OKAY to take a break – but make sure you communicate!
When working from home, some of the team dread potentially missing a call from a colleague when either ducking to the loo or making a cuppa. This guilt has sometimes resulted in some team members leaving their laptop at the bottom of the stairs or taking it to the kitchen to avoid missing a call!
But, realistically, these are natural ‘breaks’ to have throughout the day and the guilt that follows misplaced. The best way to combat this? Communicate with your colleagues.
Communication is KEY when working from home and for rural people, breaks can look a little different. For many of the JCM team, a ‘break’ and can involve a last-minute call for assistance to help a new arrival into the world during lambing, kidding or calving.
Does your office have a WhatsApp group? They’re easy enough to set up, and the perfect platform to let colleagues know when you’re having lunch or helping on the farm for an hour.
#3. Eat lunch away from your desk
Eating lunch outside in your garden or in a different room is an easy way to clear your mind for the rest of the afternoon.
Alana’s goal while working from home is to do a 20min Yoga with Adrienne session. Free on YouTube, the sessions are easy enough to follow from the comfort of your lounge room.
Also, just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you can’t utilise your lunch hour and chuck on a load of washing or put a joint in the oven for dinner! Using this time wisely means that you will have more time in the evening.
#4. Dress like you’re going to work
This sounds like an odd one – but trust us, it really does work! When working from home, the idea of staying in your pyjamas all day can be tempting, but to increase productivity wear something similar to what you would normally wear to work.
Now, we’re not saying that you need to go entirely corporate. Resident Aussie, Alana, is very fond of the ‘mullet’ approach with business on top, and party (Alana’s version is tracksuit pants and slippers!) on the bottom. This means you’ll never be caught out during an unexpected conference call!
#5. Have a conversation with family members also at home
Every single one of the JCM team members has a partner who also works from home on either a permanent or regular basis.
You need to set boundaries about conversations/distractions while working in the same environment and to communicate to them when you can’t be disturbed.
Becca places a sign outside the kitchen door when she is on a conference call to ensure that there are no unwanted visitors similar to this viral interview of a child interrupting a BBC interview in 2017.
#6. Silence social media
It can be easy to fall down a ‘scroll’ hole on social media when working from home. The easiest way to curb temptation? Turn off notifications on your phone and laptop and try to only check during breaks!
If you want to go a bit further, iPhones have a ‘do not disturb’ option which will stop your phone lighting up to messages and notifications. You can still receive calls on this function if you ‘favourite’ certain phone numbers.
#7. Don’t be afraid to call your colleagues
JCM & Co utilise Zoom video conference calling and it is honestly a lifesaver to keep connected and motivated while working from home. Switch on your camera and chat away with a colleague to create an office environment. Why not instigate a virtual tea break with your team?