Agents who aren’t used to working from home might find it tricky to plan and structure their day during lockdown. We spoke to business coach Erica Wolfe Murray for her tips on getting organised when working from home
What are some of the main challenges of working from home?
For those unused to working from home, such as high street agents, self-discipline is key. Getting up and ensuring there is a structure to your day may require juggling and compromise, but is vital. For those with off-school or young children, finding somewhere quiet to set up your “office” space may be hard. And in two-career households, balancing child-care while you both contribute to work will take negotiating.
Other challenges of working from home include working much longer hours, taking less breaks and allowing personal time to be eaten into. Some find it hard to take time away from their desk for exercise, to enjoy hobbies and contribute to household activities, adding to the emotional and mental burden that lockdown is creating.
Why is it important to plan your workday in advance?
Just as a normal day in the office has a shape to it, you need to ensure your home working day has a plan underpinning it too. This has to include team briefings and updates, time for client work, collaborative working and admin.
But there also needs to be time in the day blocked out to do actual work. Allowing this focused time without interruption, when you can work alone or in small groups using [communication platforms] Slack, Trello or Asana, can increase productivity greatly. With time to concentrate without interruption, many people will find they can work harder and more effectively for longer bursts.
How can structure be reintroduced to the working day?
We are creatures of habit. A normal working day has a clear format from the commute to work, getting coffee and catching up with home and office news to how we then settle into and manage our working day. The format of a working day is a combination of company structure and personal decisions. With teams now working from home, building a flexible personal working structure is crucial.
Working from home may unlock additional capability. Some of us work well early in the morning, others late in the evening. So being able to harness this could bring additional productivity that gets overlooked in office-based practice.
It’s also important to incorporate regular times for breaks, lunch and general chit-chat. Take part in games, puzzles and enjoy other opportunities to relax, laugh and joke together. Good managers should also check in regularly adding 1-2-1 video calls with you to ensure you are coping OK with your work, but also the mental pressure of working from home.