Are you set up for Working from Home?
Are you set up for Working from Home? Let’s rewind to pre-pandemic times and it was my dream to work from home. Ditching the 9 – 5 and all the office drama behind was my dream, and so I started plotting and planning my own new way of working. I’d already started my blog which had evolved naturally from an online retail shop as selling was not my strong point (probably not great for the retail industry). My blog was making me a small amount of income, but not enough to replace the income that my employed job brings me.
However, my background is in admin having worked in the NHS for nineteen years, and that combined with my blogging skills which I’ve picked up along the way made me think about what I could use them for. That’s when I first heard the term Virtual Assistant. It seemed to tick all the boxes in terms of describing the skills that I could offer to people and so my research began. I found myself some Facebook Groups and a course and started asking ALL the questions.
Then the pandemic hit and I was just on the cusp of officially opening the doors of my new business. The world went slightly crazy and I put everything on hold. I didn’t know what to do for a few weeks, before realising that it still was my time to launch – a lot of people and businesses were adapting and much help was needed. So I took the plunge and announced it and the inquiries started to come through slowly. I also went from working part-time at the hospital to being given a laptop to continue my work from home, which I was really excited about. I’ve since started a 50/50 split between home and the office, but I enjoy being at home far more than at the office.
What do you need to Work from Home?
Well, how long is a piece of string? This is entirely dependent on what work you do. As a Virtual Assistant or even a Blogger, you can set up with pretty much a laptop and an internet connection. No specialist equipment is needed but there are other things that can make your life easier and much more proactive.
A Dedicated Work Space
This might seem like a no-brainer, but having your station set up with everything you need to do your work means less distraction and creates a working mindset. Even better if you have an office that you can go to during your usual office hours, so it still feels like ‘going to work’.
Make you have all the things you would usually have to complete your work in your dedicated workspace. So I have pens, notebook, pad, diary, and highlighters, and usually a cup of tea on the go at any given time.
A Laptop or Desktop computer
I have my beloved MacBook Pro and was given a laptop for my NHS work with all the relevant programmes that I would need to use. In the office I was used to using two screens so I had to adapt to working from just one screen which was a lot smaller.
You’re going to need an internet connection for remote working. Ours has its moments of being completely pants, but generally, we have a good connection and thankfully haven’t had any problems during the pandemic.
Working remotely can give you so much flexibility, but you do need to have core working hours whether these are your original office hours or new hours created to fit around family duties. My office hours for the NHS are 8 am – 4 pm and I get up and ready exactly how I would for a day in the office and start work as I would usually. I tend to take my breaks as I would at work as I’m in ‘Work Mode’ and this works for me. Don’t be tempted to work more hours that you’re being paid for, espcially those of us who maybe live alone.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to go through the day without having a break. Take regular breaks to top up your water bottle and stop to have lunch. Move away from where you’re working to eat so that you get a bit of a break. In an office environment, you’re likely to have colleagues to sit and have a chat with or people that you bump into on your way to and from the kitchen which you won’t at home.
Access to Plug Sockets
Wherever you set up your dedicated workspace, make sure that you have access to plug sockets to make sure you can charge your laptop and phone within reach. I’ve been using the Anker Nano II Fast Charger which will charge your phone, laptop, or tablet up to three times quicker than your usual charger.
Health and Safety
As you would in the office, it’s important that your setup supports you in terms of health and safety. If you’re working for an employer, they should provide you with the necessary equipment needed to complete your job. Obviously, as we were thrown into the pandemic, a lot of this was overlooked, but going forward if you continue to work from home this should be re-assessed.
A window seat in the office is usually the top spot for most people, but having good lighting at home is also important. Not just for the view or grabbing a bit of natural light, but also for the all-important zoom calls that you may have to do as part of your job. I do Teams meetings for my employed work and Zoom Calls for my Virtual Assistant business (networking and client calls) and it’s important that you present yourself as you would in person and that the recipients can see you. A nice light room just makes the experience much better.
Networking or Socialising
So we lost our social lives when the pandemic hit, and homeworking meant the loss of the coffee room chat and the presence of work colleagues. We all threw ourselves into zoom meetings both for work and to chat with family and friends. We’ve all done the huddling around laptops and phones whilst straining to join in family chats and quizzes. We’ve since been using the Anker Ultra Clear Portable Conference Speaker. It has amazing sound quality, enabling it to be used by a group of up to 8 people whilst blocking out additional background noise. You can hook it up to your laptop, tablet, or phone via Bluetooth or a USB cable. Its portable and lightweight and so easy to use, making your group chat or zoom experiences much better. You can also play music and podcasts through it so it’s my new best toy!
Not everybody is fortunate to have a home office so earphones have been a lifesaver for many. Whether these are wireless or corded, they can stop the distractions of homelife that may be going on in the background.
Are you going back to office? I’m hoping not as it fits in so much better with my family life.
*This is a collaborate post with Anker and items were gifted to me for the purpose of this post.