My Work From Home Routine | February 21

My Work From Home Routine | February 21

Working from home is my new normal, for the foreseeable and I mentioned in my post Let’s Talk About… Working From Home that I don’t think we’ll ever go back to a five day working week in the office. I went from no working from home, to blended working from home, to fully working from home and I think the key to getting it right is a good routine. A good routine doesn’t have to mean a routine that’s the pinnacle of health, it’s about finding what works for you.

7- 8am – If I’m starting before 7.30, I am known for working the first hour from my soft office with a cup of tea to wake up. I do this when I have quiet jobs I need done, and I know no one will try and call me on Microsoft Teams. If I’m starting nearer 8, then I’ll be sat at my desk, normally washed and dressed.

8am – I normally go through my emails when I log on, or do any jobs I’d planned the night before, to do first thing. Around 8am, I write my list for the day. I write two lists, a work goals and a non-work goals. I find writing non-work goals makes me move, makes me feel like I’m achieving things other than work and therefore keeps me productive and feeling a benefit of working from home. It’s a different way of working, you don’t spend ten minutes having a chat about what everyone is having for lunch, so you have those ten minutes for yourself.
An example list would be:
-Empty bins
– 3 minute YouTube workout (I love Lucy Wyndham-Read for quick workouts)
– Chop vegetables for soup
– Plan monthly blog posts
– Tidy out 1 drawer

8.30 – This is when I put light make-up on, do my hair, spray my perfume and really get ready. I know some people who happily work in their pyjamas but for me, I feel better being ready for the day. Particularly when I’m on calls and thanks to screen-sharing, seeing yourself on camera is a common occurrence.

9.40 – If I’ve not moved from my desk yet, this is my first break of the day.

11.30 – This is normally when I have something to eat. Normally eggs, porridge or yoghurt. I know it’s a bit late for breakfast but I generally try to fast 14 hours a day.

12.45 – Normally I take my half-hour break around this time and I always go for a walk unless I’m in meetings. It’s so important to get some fresh air and clear your head. Sometimes I’ll take the dog, but he’s getting older and likes to doddle so mostly I go myself. I like to listen to a podcast and my current favourite is Shagged, Married, Annoyed.

2.30 – Depending on what I’ve had for breakfast, I’ll grab some soup or a quick bite. When I worked in an office, I used to make a pot of soup at the weekend for lunches through the week. I still try to do this so I’m eating healthy through the week and not spending too much time on it.

3.30 – Since I started working the 9-5, I always had a coffee/ tea at 3.30 pm. My rationale was that by the time you’d drank it, it was about 4pm which was into the final hour before finishing time. Now I’m very lucky that I have flexitime and generally finish at 4pm, but I still have my 3.30 pm coffee and usually a little treat to keep myself going.

4pm – Log off. I generally am more productive in the morning and especially during the winter when it’s dark so early, I struggle to stay productive after 4pm, so I try to finish up sharp. As I was so used to non-flexible working, 4pm – 5pm is like a new hour in my day. During this hour, I write be that my novel or a blog post or sometimes I read. It means that I’m always doing something for myself to be productive every day.

Tips:

  • Get outside every day, go for a walk or even just sit in the garden for ten minutes with a drink (weather permitting), you will feel so much better.
  • Have something handy, that isn’t your phone. There’s no one standing over you to make sure you’re not constantly on your phone, so you need to be that for yourself. I bought an adult colouring book which I have at my desk for when I feel like I’m scrolling too much.
  • You need to work harder to move, but you’ll thank yourself for it. Whether it’s quick workouts, jumping jacks while the kettle boils or ten squats every time you go to the toilet.
  • You generally get business done quicker at home, so take time out to check in with your colleagues. It’s fine to have a twenty minute chat about what you’re watching on Netflix every few weeks, it will make you feel better.
  • Do some online learning. Whether your organisation offers courses, or you seek them out yourself. There are lots of free courses out there and while you might feel like you can’t be bothered, you might surprise yourself with what you take out of it.
  • Speak up if you’re struggling, your boss, your colleagues, friends and family are there to support you so don’t struggle in silence.
  • Remember, right now you are not working from home. You are at home, during a pandemic, trying to work.

Please let me know your home working routine or even if you’re in an office, do you have a routine to keep you productive? I’d love to know about it in the comments below.

Buying Beauty Products Online

Buying Beauty Products Online

There’s not much I won’t buy online. From clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, homeware, furniture, you name it. I don’t have the same anxiety about ‘seeing it’ in real life that others have, until it comes to beauty products. Foundations, lipsticks, even eye shadow palettes cause me so much stress when I need to buy them online. Pre-2020 this wasn’t an issue, my second home is a shopping centre and wandering around Boots or Superdrug with 7 swatches on my hand was a normal Saturday. Then the shops closed, and the shops that stayed open removed all their testers, so there was no merit in going to a shop to buy make-up. I started looking online and found a few tricks to make buying beauty online a little bit easier.

Findation / Match My Make-Up

Run out of your foundation, want to try something new but have spent hours agonising over Goggle images trying to find swatches? Sites such as Findation or Match My Make-Up provide a matching service. Put the details in of a foundation type, and shade, that matches you well and let it do the rest. This was a lifesaver when I wanted to buy a new Charlotte Tilbury foundation during lockdown but I didn’t know my shade.

Influenster

Think TripAdvisor but for products. There’s not much, beauty or not, that aren’t on Influenster. Detailed reviews with user photos, the ability to ask questions, as well as it’s own awards, Influenster will make sure you have all the information before checking out. I use this all the time and I contribute reviews as well as reading them. It is American based so not all UK brands are on there but I would say the vast majority will be. Influenster also has VoxBoxes where contributors can receive a VoxBox in exchange for reviews, there’s different campaigns for brands and you get a tailored selection of products or the full release. If you like to review products of all kinds, and you’re not on Influenster, I would recommend you sign up.

Blog Reviews

My favourite types of beauty posts to read are product empties, favourites, or new in beauty. I find it so helpful to see what other bloggers enjoy using and would recommend and find it re-assuring if I’m buying a product I’ve never tried, or seen before. Some of my favourite beauty buys have been discovered via blog posts. If you’re a beauty blogger, or enjoy beauty blogs, please leave your links in the comments below so other people can check out your beauty recommendations.

Read the Product Description

This sounds basic but I think the majority of people, myself included, have been caught buying products because of how they look, the name or because they’re heard other people talking about them but don’t actually know what the product is supposed to do. It’s so important to read the full product description and

Do You Know What You’re Looking For?

Understanding your skin is difficult. Everyone’s skin is unique to them and your skin type not only changes with so many factors, it can be difficult to understand in the first place. With brands throwing so many claims around about what products do, you need to wade through a lot of noise to get to what the product is, what it should do and more importantly, will it work for you. While we all have the luxury of time, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend putting some time in to research all things skin. You’ll be able to make more informed choices, reduce the time spent scratching your head and build a skincare/make-up routine that works for you. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend Skincare by Caroline Hirons. The book is fantastic, it explains everything you need to know and gives some product recommendations.

I hope this post as been helpful and has given you a couple of ideas when buying beauty and skincare online. If you have any other tips, I’d love to know so please leave them in the comments below.

Let’s Talk About… Working From Home

Let’s Talk About… Working From Home

Welcome to the first segment of my new blog feature, Let’s talk about… short opinion pieces on a variety of different topics. I have plans to discuss relationships, work, things that are happening or general topics I, or you, find interesting. By day, I am an HR professional (Associate CIPD) with a particular interest in organisational development, employee engagement and wellbeing. I’ve looked on in interest as the world of work has stayed home, how I think remote working will become engrained in the 9-5 plus, my personal experience working remotely and starting a new role remotely.

Pre-2020, working from home was a luxury that was limited to most high level managers, or the ‘trusted’ few. The corporate world was stuck in a, broadly speaking, older generation of, and style of management whose principles were that any opportunity an employee was given to take advantage, they would. As innovative organisations introduced working from home policies and encouraged flexible working, those sat squashed on public transport, on their three hour round-trip commute, or those stuck in traffic heading home to a pile of washing, longed for the ability to work in their slippers. It was very much a wouldn’t that be nice, as you tried to dig your car out of 3ft of snow.

Whilst Covid-19 brought unbearable sadness, isolation and disappointment after disappointment, there have been some perks. The culture shift around remote working became life-saving and necessary with organisations having no choice other than to adapt to a new way of working. Twelve months ago, you wouldn’t have believed that ‘you’re on mute’ would become one of the most used phrases in business life, or seeing everyone in your team’s living rooms would become the norm.

Some people love it, other’s hate it. Some people haven’t left the house for weeks on end, and others are in the best daily routine they’ve ever been in, but it’s been proven that it works, it’s sustainable for businesses, CEO’s everywhere have pound-signs in their eyes with the prospect of less outgoings on accommodation. As business now re-assess their Covid-19 recovery plan, I have no doubt that there will be a huge pressure to keep remote working in some form or another.

Until I changed jobs in November, I was used to a big rowdy office, full or big characters, where we were always laughing or discussing something and when I knew I was going to a job home working, all day, every day, I was a bit nervous about how I would get on. Thankfully technology has given everyone a helping hand, I use Microsoft Teams, and what you can actually do on it, is fantastic. I was also surrounded by a supportive team who were well in the swing of remote working when I joined. It was a big daunting sitting waiting to go on video calls with people I’d never met before, or feel like I was constantly messaging people asking questions but I tried to remind myself that the same discomfort is present in an office when you’re new too.

Three months on, I really like home working. I’m in a good routine, which I think is key, and I’m lucky that I have personal circumstances that makes home working easier e.g. – I have space, I don’t have children that I need to home-school, I’m relatively confident with technology and I don’t live alone, so I’m still seeing people. I find meetings are much more productive, the way you work is completely different so you have more time for yourself, it’s easier to balance your home life because you’re not walking in at 6pm exhausted, having the dinner to make, lunches to make for the next day, the bins to empty, the list goes on.

Sometimes I do feel myself a bit camera shy if I have two or three days without a call, I notice that I can feel a bit of dread just before I go on but I try and combat this by making sure I’m calling someone every second day at least, even if it’s just for ten minutes to catch up, so I’m not getting out of the way of it. I struggle sometimes when there’s other people in the house because I’m used to my own routine, I try and make sure there’s at least one day a week when I’m in the house alone all day, that allows me the time I need to be selfish when working, and charge my social batteries. I’ve also had to vastly improve my small talk skills when waiting for others to join meetings or when the internet slow, Watched anything good lately? Is a favourite.

It looks like working from home will be a permanent solution to a, hopefully, temporary problem. While we’re not designed to be cadged up in the house all the time, this is the first step to the concept of working from anywhere which will open a lot of doors with those who don’t live, or can’t move to big cities. As the way we work changes, home working may be the first step towards a four day working week due to increased productivity, longer working hours due to lack of commute and more efficient ways of working.

Do not fear social butterflies, while I doubt majority of us will ever go back to a five day in the office week, I think we’ll move to a blended model of home and office working. Not everyone loves home working and personal circumstances are very relevant but I believe the key to successfully home working is a good routine and once the recovery plans are underway, employers need to focus on employee wellbeing in a remote setting.

If you would like to know more about my daily routine working from home, or what it was like changing jobs in the middle of a pandemic, please leave me a comment below.