A national lockdown wasn’t quite the start to 2021 that any of us were hoping for… So as we enter Lockdown 3.0, here’s a few insights from our OMIO team to share our top tips and tricks for how we’re making life a little bit easier for ourselves when we’re working from home.
Stuart Baker, Senior Business & Solution Consultant:
Now that a commute is no longer part of my day, I’ve taken the opportunity of having more spare time to exercise. I have taken up running again – albeit very slowly! – as well as doing yoga 2 or 3 times a week and, in the summer, I was going on regular cycle rides.
The other thing I will suggest is to have something on in the background, either the TV, with something that doesn’t need your attention like the news or a slow sport like cricket, or music which gives you some sort of background noise, without being too distracting. It really helps my working day.
Louise Whitton, Senior Project Manager:
This lockdown, I’ve enjoyed only having to dress ‘camera ready’ from the shoulders up. Not only does it save time in the morning, it’s much more relaxing.
In the OMIO team, we also try to have a break from talking shop, just like we would have had in the office kitchen. We also get our team to share photos of their daily treats – this normally results in a walk to the local shop to get me some energy for the afternoon!
Jon Williams, Senior Azure Developer:
When we entered the first lockdown, it was supposed to be temporary, so I bought a cheap desk and chair to create a workspace in the spare bedroom. By the time we were told working from home was going to be the norm, it was obvious I needed a better space. This time, the biggest help has been creating a working office environment that works for me.
Here’s some of the changes I’ve made for a better working environment:
- For your desktop background, rotate through holiday photos – remember what you have to look forward to
- Remove the bin! Not having a bin means that I take rubbish to the kitchen bin as needed, which gets me up and moving for a couple of minutes. My Apple watch must like this as I’m not getting told it’s time to stand
- Get a good quality speaker for music. I tend to have YouTube playing videos of music festivals like EDC, which has the crowd noise along with the music, which I find helps with isolation
- Work smarter, not harder! I bought a robot vacuum cleaner which works on schedule, so when I go downstairs, I can see the vacuum marks in rugs and the floors look clean which I find nice (and one less thing for me to do!) I also like to get the bulk of the laundry done in the week, so my weekend is not spent with these normal chores, which gives me a better feeling of the home/work balance
- Try to spend the majority of the working day in the home office so that the other spaces in the home are not associated with being at work
- Don’t forget that if things are not working, speak to someone – we’re all going through the same thing and it’s great to be able to say “hey, are you free for a non-work 5-minute chat?”
Liam Toon, Junior Business & Solution Analyst:
We have a 6-month-old puppy who regularly makes an appearance during meetings. She’s also very good at making sure I play with her, to take a break from staring at the computer screen! If you don’t have a cute dog to hand, then having the ability to sit in your own space with the radio on or playing some music throughout the day whilst working really helps also.
S-J Nightingale, Business Development Manager:
Before lockdown, I used to go for a walk and get a hot chocolate usually around 3pm when I get a slump in my day and my brain doesn’t work. Now we’re in lockdown, my favourite chocolate shop is closed but luckily my hubby brought me a Hotel Chocolat Velvetiser for Christmas, so we decide on a time that suits both of us in the morning, I make a hot choc, he makes a coffee and we either go for a wander around the garden or wander around the fields out the back of our house, depending on how much time we have. It means we get a break from the Zoom calls and don’t just sit there staring at social media.
I’ve also got into essential oils, so I now have a diffuser next to my desk to puff out various scents depending on what I need for the day, whether that’s to help with motivation or stress. I have also made up rollerballs to rub onto pulse points to help with headaches, stress and neck ache – I can’t say I’m never going to reach for the paracetamol again, but they smell divine!