If you’ve been working from home since last March, it’s likely you’re in a routine now. With a large proportion of the UK’s workforce working remotely for almost a year, many people are finding they’re working differently, saving money, and using time more efficiently since they cut out the commute.
In fact, with over half (52%) of employees saying they’re enjoying a better work-life balance now that they’re working from home, and with businesses seeing the benefits of having a happier home-based workforce, it’s likely that this will be the new normal. It’s estimated that around a quarter of employees could end up working from home permanently and companies are planning new ways of working when the pandemic ends.
So, what does working from home look like right now? What rooms are we based in and how are we staying on track with our to-do lists? Business cards specialists, instantprint, conducted a survey to find out how we’re getting on.
Although many workers in the UK have been working remotely since last spring, it seems we were not prepared for a situation where we’d need to transform an area of our homes into an office space. According to the survey, 44% of employees are based in the living room, while a fifth (20%) are either in the bedroom or the spare room.
These numbers reflect just how many of us don’t have the space or the finances to create a dedicated home office. However, these makeshift spaces have become a permanent feature in our homes now, and many people are making it work.
Keeping on task
There is the risk of becoming distracted while at home. Parents have been trying to juggle home schooling with the daily workload, and over a quarter (28%) of employees say that their children are the biggest distraction. Pet owners (20%) are also trying to balance daily tasks with caring for their furry friends.
As well as dependents, we’re also pandering to our partners (24%) and putting off work to sort out the washing, with a fifth of us doing chores around the home between Zoom meetings.
But don’t feel bad about being distracted in this way. Laura Mucklow, Head of instantprint, said: “While there are naturally more distractions for us around the home due to that space being representative of our personal lives, it’s important to try and not be so hard on yourself and remember that there were also distractions in your normal working environment, whether that be an office, a studio, or otherwise.”
To find the balance, Laura suggests that we create a calm and comfortable working environment, ensuring that: “We can make a clear separation between our work and home lives – even if we may be sharing a space for now.”
Tips to keep focused
To help you follow Laura’s advice and get comfortable with working from home, here are some ideas to define your work and home life:
- Start with a to-do list. Cover everything you need to do in your work day and tick them off as you go.
- Plan ahead. If your morning routine is chaotic, try prepping the night before. Arrange your overnight oats while cooking dinner so you can easily grab breakfast in the morning and decide what you’re wearing – even if it’s just loungewear – before you go to bed.
- Define your workspace. If the line between home and work is becoming blurred, try moving to a different part of the house or flat so that you can set up a separate office space. This can help you focus and prevent you from heading to the kitchen every 10 minutes.
- Take breaks. But do remember to take breaks. You’d go and make a drink and have a defined lunch break if you were in the office, so make sure you stick to this routine at home too. Getting away from your screen can help you to resolve issues that you can’t figure out while staring at a blank document or tricky email.
How are you managing the work-life balance while you work from home? Are you based on your sofa in the lounge? What’s distracting you most?