Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based person, she/her, mama, creative, colourful, caffeinated, plus-size fashion lover, lefty feminist killjoy #funbutmakeitfashion


Working from Home, Surviving vs Thriving

Working from home was something I always wished I could do. My husband mostly works from home, even pre-covid and each morning when I would stand on a packed metro train I would dream of working from my warm house, being able to cook lunch in my kitchen rather than grab a sad sandwich from the canteen and be able to get my head down and be productive with little interruption.

Fast forward to March 2020 and it became a very sudden full time reality.

At first it was a novelty, expectations were low as the world adjusted and it felt like there was some breathing room. It was survival mode, just get it done, there was understanding and solidarity as schools closed and the summer sun put a shiny glow on it all.

As it become evident that things weren't going back to 'normal' any time soon, things changed, the work ramped up, expectations grew and communication dwindled. Things that previously would have been a quick phone call or a knock on an office door became endless hour long zoom meetings. Time between meetings reduced meaning that hours of your evenings were eaten up catching up on the actual work you needed to complete before the next zoom call.

I feel like I am painting a slightly bleak picture of working from home, and maybe I just have those Monday blues. There are definite upsides and I recognise the privilege I have being able to work from home, but I wanted to paint a realistic picture of how I am feeling, as I think others might be there with me. Rather than this be a 'woe is me' account of life in the home office, I thought I would put my optimistic spin on it and share some tips and tricks which I find helpful.

Top 5 Working From Home Tips;

1. Get dressed and show up - I am not talking full on business casual, but put something on that feels not like pyjamas, wash your face, brush your teeth and act like you are seeing people in person. I find some light make up or some fancy earrings help me feel in work mode on a zoom call.

2. Routine - get a routine down, a time you get up each morning. The temptation for me is to lay in bed endlessly scrolling instagram until 8:57 and rolling downstairs, but from experience this isn't conducive with a productive day. I like to get up around 7:30, get washed and dressed, make a nice coffee and pick some good music to have a little dance around my kitchen to. Find what works for you. In terms of keeping on top of tasks I highly recommend Trello. Get a to do list started and with every complete task you move it into a virtual complete pile - really helps with feeling productive. I might do a whole other blog post about how I use it as its really helped me focus working virtually.

3. Move it, move it - If your diary looks back to back and a day of slumping in front of your webcam looms, be sure to get up and walk around in between if you can, or if its one of those meetings where you need to listen but not talk too much, click your camera off and do some stretches - it honestly helps.

4. Boundaries - This is something I still struggle with but its important to set clear boundaries between home and work life when they happen in the same place. Switching off and packing away the work day if your using a communal space like me. Or if you are fortunate enough to have a separate room, close that door and disengage your brain from work mode. In early lockdown I found a glass of wine a good 'end of the day' signal, but not quite the healthiest choice. Now I try to go out and walk the dog at the end of the work day, so when I come back its like I am walking in from work and it feels final.

5. Find your support system - whether it is someone at your work who you can have an honest moan to, or a friend outside of work who you can message, even a group chat of fellow WFH-ers... Find people who will understand and talk. A problem shared is a problem halved and all that. If you feel like your workplace isn't being supportive and the issues go past just your regular monday moan, check out Pregnant then Screwed for some great advice.

Sit up straight, unclench your jaw, drop your shoulders and keep on keeping on. We got this.

Stay safe x