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Madam Stone's A-Z Guide to Working From Home

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INFLUENCER: Madam Films partner Carly Stone on keeping up productivity in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic
Madam Stone's A-Z Guide to Working From Home

Madam Films has been a remotely run business for over seven years, working primarily from our homes and using private member clubs and occasionally from our client spaces. Ironically in January 2020 we moved into a small office, however we continue to work 50/50 office and remote. Below is my A-Z of working at home and keeping productivity.

Area: Create a dedicated space that you can own away from the home distractions and domestic mess, even if it is a camping table that is your work area, you can step away from it and back into your home.

Blocking your day. Create your to do list the night before but actually block it into segments. Our business is production and needs can change quickly across the day, timelines get wavered, but a structured schedule in place gives a framework to follow.

Call a friend, make time in your day to hear a friendly voice and talk about something other than your work.

Discipline: The novelty of PJs, laptop in bed and Netflix in the background are long gone; if you want to be successful, you need to be focused.

Exercise: Incorporate it into your workday. If you are not an exercise junky or don't have the school run, a quick walk around the block will suffice. Connecting with the outside world/landscape and fresh air always stimulates the brain before sitting at your desk.

Focus Music: If I can’t decide what mood I am up for, I choose Apple’s Focus Playlist, it stops the distraction at the very start of your desk day of trolling through your library and kicks you off in the right direction.

Goals: Be realistic when setting your daily goals, plan for interruptions and don't beat yourself up if the to-do list continues to the following day, week, month.

Hourly breaks: Try to leave your desk and move your body, set a timer if you need help. Check your posture as well, it is easy to fall into bad habits when at new desks.

Important task first: Whatever is your biggest task or job that you are procrastinating on, do it first thing and feel the sense of achievement in getting it out the way. 

Journey: Whatever your reasons for working from home, whether permanent or temporary, it is a journey and an experience that should be enjoyed. Take positive steps to ensure that it remains stress-free by building your day around you.

Kettle: No runners or office staff to run around after you, it’s all up to you now. Ensure you have plenty of your coffee/tea-break supplies and use your break time for a quick pop to the shops.

Local: Now is the time to find out who and what is happening near to you. That yoga class that you could never make may now be in reach and also check out for local business groups. It is incredible to learn who lives around you and things that you may not have tapped into before.

Mental Well-being: Ensure that you are doing something for you that is not a household chore. There are lots of under 10-minute mindful meditations, listen to a podcast, step away from the laptop into a different area where you can have some time out.

Neat: Keeping your work area in a good tidy state. Especially at the end of your day - it will make coming back to it in the morning easier and also give you closure to your finished working day.

Out of Pocket Costs: If it is going to cost you to work from home, check with your employer to ensure they are covering you. Whether it is mobile phone, extra heating bills, wi-fi contribution, ensure that you are not restricting yourself and your worth because you are worried about the financial implications.

Phone: Yes, we have heard it a zillion times, try and silence it and avoid the distraction. Unfortunately, when working at home your mobile needs to be beside you, it is so important to talk to people and not type to them. However, if you have a task and time where you are not in need of your phone, silence it or try leaving it at home whilst you run a quick errand.

Quiet: The buzzy office atmosphere is no more, silence can be your friend or foe. Some days I love the silence and peace and will use it to achieve certain goals I have set that day. Whereas on other days I rely on the company of BBC 6 Music turned up very loud.

Recycle/Reduce/Re-use: Whatever your office policies are try and implement in your own home or create new ones and share. The world needs us more than ever right now to do our bit.

Separating your home and work environments are, for me, the key element to finding the balance. Whether you have a manic family or live alone, sticking to your designated work area and clocking in/off on time is crucial to productivity. 

Tools: Whatever your size of company and systems, ensure you have the right tools in place to communicate together and make the workload as seamless as possible, Madam love Doodle and Asana.

Updates with colleagues. Check in regularly via the phone or video calls. It is easy to get sucked into isolation mode and get caught up in time consuming and unnecessary email chains. Pick up the phone instead.

Value yourself and what you bring to the business. Working alone can restrict the face to face positive comments and fun moments a team and office environment may bring. Reward and congratulate yourself, this is a new discipline and you are learning and smashing it!

Water: Make sure you get up and take regular breaks and get water, for some reason it’s easier to drink less water at home.

Xena Warrior Princess: Ok so struggled a bit on this, but there is a warrior in us all. Keep fit, healthy and in communication with your team and you will get through these unique times.

Yin & Yang: Working from home has it absolute benefits but, after a long period of time, can be challenging if you don't follow healthy patterns for yourself. Finding the balance takes practice and self-discipline.

Zoom: A great video conferencing tool that we here at Madam use with clients all across the globe.


Carly Stone is partner at Madam

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MADAM, Thu, 19 Mar 2020 09:32:18 GMT