Home working can at first feel daunting if you have not been used to it, however it can be very productive and actually quite enjoyable. Fiona Ashworth considers 10 key points.
I have spent most of my time working from home for the last 20 years. Obviously there are court appearances and JSM’s, but many of my conferences have been by phone and have been just as effective as face to face.
1. Have a routine
It is better if you adapt the routine that you already have, in terms of when you start and finish work. This makes it feel more like a regular day. In particular I would strongly recommend getting out of bed! Preferably at the same time each day. Getting dressed is also to be encouraged.
2. Lists, Lists, Lists
Set yourself targets for the day as to what you want/need to get done. Tick them off as you go. Otherwise the day can melt away and nothing is achieved
3. Strict Fridge Opening Times
You will find that you are never more than 20 feet away from a sandwich! Self discipline is necessary. You will thank me for this later.
You will achieve far more if you set yourselves realistic goals with breaks built in. You are the best judge as to when to take a break, but if you have in mind that there is a break coming, you will be far more productive.
It is a very good idea to build this in to your daily routine. If this is something that you enjoy then this is the reward for completing a task.
6. Moving Around
This might sound silly but you do need to move around more. Keep an eye on your steps count. You will move around far more than you imagine just by going to work and walking around court/chambers. Sitting down for lengthy periods of time is really bad for your posture and neck/back. Stretching exercises can help enormously and should be done regularly.
We all have access to the technology that allows us to work from home. Emails, phones, skype, zoom, BT conferencing mean that we can work from anywhere. Embrace it. However do not get too adventurous. Conducting telephone conferences from the bath is unlikely to end well.
There are many great things about working from home. I started due to child care and having very little time, but I have continued, as I prefer it. My commute to work is about 30 seconds. I have far fewer distractions. My productivity is much higher. I can store all my papers for easy access. I do not have to worry about accidentally setting Chambers’ alarm off. It is much cheaper away from the temptations of Spinningfields. Travelling costs are eliminated. I can take 5 minutes out to walk around the garden and to play with my dog.
I have never found this to be an issue. Admittedly I probably spend the vast majority of my time alone, but I spend most of my time communicating with people, just not face to face. There are any number of chats that have been set up to help people through the uncertainty of current times. You need never feel alone.
10. Social Media
More self discipline. Same notes for number 3. You can waste a morning and have very little to show for it. There are only a certain number of Fb posts of kittens falling down holes that you can usefully watch.
In conclusion, working from home really is not the end of the world. You can make it work for you and who knows? You might even like it!