In Covid-19

I can't believe it was only a week ago that I was sitting here writing about how strange it is to be working in tourism in a time of social distancing! Little did I know that the job was about to get even weirder as this morning I changed our Twitter name to DoNotVisitBrighton - crazy times my friends! 

The name change is of course a bit of a stunt but the reason behind it is very serious. Apparently there had been talk of people still planning to visit Brighton this weekend as the forecast is for good weather - how or why these people thought this was would be a good idea I don't know but of course we were keen to do whatever we could to discourage this. If you are reading this and still thinking about visiting Brighton - please don't! Stay At Home

Anyway that wasn't the initial reason why I started this post today... While working from home is a new experience for a lot of people I do it on a semi-regular basis. As I'm often writing copy it's sometimes easier to do so at home with less distractions, admittedly it's usually only a day or two here & there rather than weeks at a time but it's still less of a shock for me then it will be for some people. 

Which is why I thought it might be helpful if I shared with you some tips on how to make working from home, work for you. I know a lot of people are writing similar posts so I guess the first thing to stress is that these are things that work for me, these are not hard & fast rules. Also I appreciate I am lucky as my household consists of two adults with no pets or children to work around so that does make things simpler. 

I think that's enough preamble, so let's get on with it. Here are my tips for working from home:

Routine

The first time you work from home it is very tempting to turn the alarm off and get up whenever you like. If I did this I would sleep most of the morning and then the manyana mindset would set in and nothing would get done. Of course that doesn't mean you should get up at your normal time, still have a bit of lie-in but I would still aim to start work at your usual time. This also means that days off still feel special as you have no alarm set and you can really appreciate your lie-in. Equally there can be a pressure to prove you are actually working from home and so you can feel compelled to be contactable at all hours. Just as you should aim to start at your normal time I would also aim to finish at your usual time as it is important to maintain a work-life balance and you are still entitled to relax. 

Workspace

While we're talking about work-life balance another tip is to have a designated workspace. When your home is your office and vice versa then it is difficult to maintain the work-life balance as the boundaries blur and so any little thing you can do to make the distinctions clear will help. We are lucky as there is room for us both to have our own desks, not everyone will be able to do this but even if you are using your laptop whilst sitting on the sofa - sit at a different end of the sofa when you're working compared to when you're relaxing. 

Exercise

This is important for both physical and mental health so when getting into a new routine make sure you allow time for exercise. This was a concern for me when I first started working from home as my commute to the office is how I get my minimum amount of exercise for the week - yes I aim to do more but I know that I've at least had my walk to and from the station at each of the day - which gets me moving but also helps clear my head. Also if you do work in an office you naturally move about a fair bit throughout the day - whether it's going over to a colleague's desk to check something, going to meetings or going upstairs to use the loo as the one on your floor has been engaged for the last 10 minutes!

This is why instead of simply setting the alarm early enough for me to have a shower and log-on, I actually set it early enough for me to do 30 minutes exercise, have a shower and then log-on. Try to also move about throughout the day, give yourself little breaks and maybe switch position, for example, I'm now sitting on the sofa instead of at my desk. Don't forget we are allowed out once a day for exercise so in the afternoon go for a walk or cycle - but equally don't feel that you have to go out, if you don't fancy it don't bother although I would still recommend trying to do another 30 minutes of exercise once you've finished for the day - to help stretch out after sitting at a computer all day but also to help you unwind and switch off from work mode. 

Personally I use my old wii to exercise with and I also have a Tae Bo DVD workout (it's basically lots of punching & kicking - great fun!) but if that doesn't work for you then why not stick on your favourite album and dance like a loon! Don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself but equally if you can do some form of physical movement it will help you feel better. 

Social Media

Now more than ever it is tempting to keep checking on social media to see what the latest developments are however if possible I would suggest trying to limit this to just a couple of set times during the day. This is difficult if, like me, you need social media for work as it is all too easy to fall down a rabbit hole full of theories and random musings. Try and stick to reliable sources when looking for updates on the pandemic, maybe just check the BBC at the beginning and end of your day. On social media have a look at who you are following, unfollow the trolls and doom-mongerers and instead follow those that have something positive to add to your feed. One to make sure you follow is Matt Haig (not just because he is lives in Brighton!) very honest but also full of hope - the routine post above is one of his. 

Work mates

I have a great job as I get to tell everyone about how wonderful Brighton is. However the best part of my job is the team, they are all mad and we all love what we do so we work hard but we also have plenty of laughs along the way. This is why I have always said that while I like being able to work from home some of the time I wouldn't want to do it all the time as I would miss seeing my nutty work mates. So this is just a reminder that in addition to emailing about work it is also fine to contact them just to see how they are. Also while video conferencing apps are extremely useful for meetings they can also be used for social catch-ups so you can still enjoy a glass of wine and gossip with your friends and best of all no-one has to worry about missing anything as they dash off to catch the last train home :)

Be Kind

This isn't one I would normally include but at the moment I think it's the most important point. These are strange and scary times for us all so if you are struggling to adapt to working from home especially if you also have to home school or look after pets or be someone's carer or whatever else you have going on it can be a struggle to adapt. You may feel like everyone else has got it under control but don't worry - they haven't. These are extraordinary times so if someone claims to have all the answers, they are talking nonsense. Rest assured you are doing great so just keep trying and do the best you can and we will get through this. 

In the words of the legendary Jerry Springer: "Take care of yourselves and each other" 

Charlotte

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