Over the past few weeks, you, like many estate agents now working from home, have probably had to adjust. Whilst you may work remotely on occasion, this is likely to be the first time you have had to do this consistently.
- Gone is the daily commute
- Gone is the office environment
- Gone is the interaction and banter with colleagues
- Gone is the routine
- Gone is the daily latte from your favourite coffee shop
Gone are pretty much all the things that made up your regular working day.
Alongside dealing with the effects of coronavirus on your business, this can also be a difficult transition.
Working alone is not for everyone! Many thrive off being with others and the hustle and bustle of a busy office environment, interaction with other people and the variety of their work in and out of the office.
So, if you and your colleagues are currently working from home you may welcome my five homeworking tips to stay on track.
1. Keep to your routine
Whilst you may not have a commute to contend with anymore, you must wake and get out of bed at a similar time to normal, make sure you have a decent breakfast and importantly, get dressed! As a self-employed content creation expert, I have been working from home for almost 15 years and this is the most important piece of advice I can give you! Do not try and work wearing pyjamas. Get dressed in proper clothes. Not office attire, but comfortable casual clothes. Making an effort will help you get into work mode and help you feel productive.
2. Set up your workspace
You may already have a study or office at home where you can work distraction-free but if you don’t have an entire room from which you can work, dedicate a space somewhere in the house that can be yours for allocated periods so that you can get on uninterrupted. This will undoubtedly be more challenging if you have a young child and are having to homeschool right now, but it is possible that you and your child can work in harmony from the dining room or kitchen table if rules are put in place and you respect each other’s needs and space. Agree on a simple timetable between you so that both you and your child get your daily tasks done. If you are missing the hustle and bustle of a busy office, put the radio on, choose a podcast to listen to or play your favourite playlist. Just don’t put the television on – it’s too distracting.
3. Choose a comfortable and supportive chair
Of course, it’s tempting to work from the sofa or your bed, which is why you must set up your workspace. If you choose the wrong workspace you’ll end up slumping and slouching which is bad for your posture. Make sure you choose a proper chair and sit all the way back so that your back is supported and both feet are on the floor. Crossing your legs at your desk will not help your posture! You should also keep your shoulders relaxed and your spine straight to avoid hunching! It’s easier said than done but do try and be aware of your posture as it will help you avoid aches and pains.
4. Be aware of distractions
If you were in your usual office environment you wouldn’t be checking your phone every five minutes to catch up on social media! The problem is, that right now, social media is busy with furloughed workers who have got time on their hands and trust me, I know how distracting it can be when your phone keeps pinging with notifications and you’re trying to work! Social media is a huge part of our lives and of course, you should be utilising it to stay visible right now and to reach out to friends or colleagues who are also working from home but plan to dedicate time in the morning and afternoon for socialising on your phone and keep every other interaction work-related.
5. Don’t use chores as an excuse to procrastinate!
When there is no separation between home and work it’s tempting to do ‘stuff’ around the house. This might be simply doing the laundry, tidying, loading the dishwasher, general everyday tasks that have to be done. It’s fine to do these before you start work or during your coffee or lunch break but be aware that doing bigger jobs such as cleaning out cupboards, tidying the shed, mowing the grass and painting the fence, are signs that you are procrastinating about work! Save these chores for the weekend as you would do normally, not for during ‘working hours’!
Finally, stay positive!
Your mental health and wellbeing are a top priority, particularly as we navigate through these challenging times. If your routine goes astray or you have a particularly unproductive day, don’t beat yourself up over it. The important thing is to stay well and do what you can, when you can.
For estate agents right now, your main task is to stay visible, stay relevant, be helpful and useful to your local community because when coronavirus is done, these people will remember you and they will need you!