Working from home
Derwent James Ltd is a small business managed by me Neil Finney from my home office here in Derby. I also worked from home prior to setting up DJL so in total I’ve probably worked from home for nearly 20 years. I’m a veteran at it. Started working from home from a desk in the corner of a bedroom upstairs to now with a fully functional office in my converted garage which houses two work stations.
I operate a fully connected business with all channels of social media and video conferencing open to allow our clients to contact us at any time. I say anytime but really I do have the usual office hours for my own well being but it has been known for clients to contact me out of hours.
Working from home is not easy. It takes discipline and strict working practices to ensure I get through what is an extremely busy working day. Over the years I have learnt to manage the home working challenge to a point where the office runs efficiently, effectively and still looks after my physical and mental well being. So in the present climate a lot of people will be working from home and so to share my experience of home working here’s a few tips and ideas…hope it helps.
- Start early. There is no commute so I’m already ahead of the game before I’ve lifted a pen or sent an email.
- Workspace. My dedicated office is in my converted garage and is a perfect way to separate work and home life. This is vital, work stuff strewn over the dining room table is not good so, if there’s no dedicated work space then pack up completely at the end of every day. Open and close your business.
- Exercise. I walk every day, I have a Fitbit to monitor my steps and walk between 8k and 10k steps every day which is around 4/5 miles. It’s the easiest way to clear my head, get some fresh air and exercise, it requires no preparation (apart from putting my shoes on) and I can get straight back to my desk on return.
- Drink. Lots of it. There’s no official tea break or coffee time so keep the fluids up.
- Screen time. Staring at the screen all day is bad for the head/eyes. Without colleague distractions in my office there’s more screen time so I take regular breaks… feed the birds, look out of the window (really!)
- Music. The silence is deafening. Work playlists or long forgotten CD’s in the background are vital for me. Radio is tricky, just too many adverts and inane chatter which distract. I also find all sorts of random internet radio stations which play back to back tunes.
- Door. Closed – leave me alone. Door open – come in (with tea and biscuits)
- Social media – This is a good thing. Keep in touch with everyone. Facebook
- Lunch break. At just about the same time every day. Never eat at the desk.
- Finish early. I always get loads done so unless there’s a super urgent thing then I’m done.
Just my take on home working, the isolation is the biggest challenge but I’ve learned to deal with that and work pretty well from my home office. All the best in these challenging times.