Blog / Top Tips for Homeworking by Laurel Gattenby

Laurel Gattenby: November 03, 2020

In our latest blog, Laurel Gattenby, User Interface and Interaction Designer at NDS gives us her Top Tips for Homeworking during Covid-19. 

Most of my NDS colleagues know that working from home and I have an interesting history. I had been living the work from home life full time for six years before joining the team at NDS in February 2020. In fact, one of the perks of this job for me was that I would be working in the office. And it was a perk - I loved it. I had energy in the morning, I thrived in the office environment and it made me realise just how much of an extrovert I am... I got five glorious weeks of that experience before the pandemic hit and I was right back at this desk.

Fortunately, the team at NDS is wonderful and working in the office was certainly not the only reason I was interested in joining. We have daily and weekly all hands and team check-ins, and maintaining good mental wellbeing during these times is highly encouraged.

That being said, working from home is still not my preference, but there are ways to make it better and get through it until we can safely be together again. In my years of experience with this lifestyle (pre and post pandemic) I’ve had the chance to try a lot of different tips and tricks, so I’d like to share what works for me:

Go outside during the day
As the time (and the leaves) have changed, the chances that we have to get some sunlight after work are quickly dwindling. That’s why it makes an incredible difference in my day if I go for a morning or lunchtime walk. If you miss your walk to and from work, you could try taking a short walk before and after to break up the day and simulate a commute.

Take advantage of the benefits
Working from home does offer some unique opportunities that will never be available in most offices. I like to cook, so being able to make an impromptu breakfast or lunch in my own kitchen is a nice perk.

Vary your routine (in small ways)
Lots of similar lists advise keeping a routine - I find this helpful, but there’s always a risk of the days blending into one another. Very small day to day differences, like having a different type of tea in the morning or completing a short home workout on your break can make a big difference. I also like to work from the kitchen table for a few hours on Friday mornings to make Fridays stand out from the rest of the week and get a break from my desk.

Find safe ways to be social
This is easier said than done during Covid times, but we all need some level of social interaction in our lives. At work, this could mean staying on a call with your team longer to chat while you work, or (when safe to do so) meeting up with a colleague in person to have a socially distanced walking meeting.

Maintain your space
With no one watching, it can be easy to let the space that you’re working in get messy. It makes a huge difference in my mood when things around me are clean and uncluttered. I’ve also added small touches to my home desk space that make it a nicer place to work – I like to light a desk candle during the workday, and I’ve got a lot more desk plants than I did before the pandemic. I also made my cat a small bed out of an old blanket and pillow next to my desk so she can spend time near me while I work.

Hopefully this list gives you a new idea to try as we continue to keep each other safe through distancing into the next year.


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