As many of you know, we have one office in Derry and one in Tanzania! What you may not know is our Head of International Programmes Matt, lives in England and works from home! So we asked him to share his top ten tips which may help you during the current period of social distancing where a lot of people are having to work from home.
Matt’s Top 10 Tips for Home Working:
1. Set up a space for your ‘desk’ – ideally not in a communal area of the house. If you can take a few things from your office desk to your home desk, this will help it feel like your workspace.
2. Get ready for work and ‘go to work’ each day as normal– get up, get properly dressed and ‘go to work’.
3. If you have others in the house with you – try and be very clear with them that when you are in this room, you must be treated as if you were at work. So no interruptions unless totally necessary – you can see them when you take a break. This is easier said than done in this situation, especially if you have children at home, but worth trying.
4. Take deliberate breaks – you won’t have the informal wandering around the office and nattering to people. So, stretch your legs, go outside, get fresh air. Apparently 15 mins every 2 hours is a good balance!
5. Focus! It is so easy to be distracted by the news, social media etc – so focus on short bursts of 100% focused work – half an hour with no phone or non-work internet, then 5 mins distraction – there is an app that I used to find very helpful called BeFocused that has a timer for these kinds of things.
6. Take a proper lunch hour and get some exercise at some point in the day – go for a run or a walk, get outside, do the hoovering, cut the grass, clean bathroom etc (these are the things I get up to at lunchtime!)
7. Skype – call each other – I think I probably do 10+ skype call a day – if you would ask a colleague a question at the desk next to you, skype them…skype video also helps with human connection (and checking they are not still sitting there in their dressing gown!)
8. General time management – I put tasks in my outlook calendar when I want to do them – call Irish aid, respond to UK Aid email, do the blog for website etc… set the things you want to do each day in the calendar – it keeps you more accountable to yourself, and you get things done.
9. If it is possible, move your desk or table so it faces a window. Natural light is known to be good for your mental health and will help you feel like your work environment is bigger than it actually is!
10. On a total separate Corona-related matter but I couldn’t think of a 10th point… here is a good recipe for making homemade hand sanitizer