Key points from Focus on… working from home


Take breaks which allow you to totally decompress – do something separate/different – move away from the area in which you are working

Find out what replenishes you and ensure you do it – self-care is as, if not more important, than other demands

Deep breathing
Exercise –   stretching – body map meditation
Get outdoors

Working at home is tech focused so don’t go straight to your phone when having a break

Create space

Environment feeds the soul

Surely the advantage of working at home is the control it gives you of your environment (and the quiet)

Flow aids Deep work – which is all of Social Work! It transplants us to a productive place

As long as you don’t procrastinate and as long as you don’t keep getting interrupted – this is to do with the environment you establish

Your own office is the ideal – but you at least have to have a functional workspace – don’t work on your knee – on the sofa – not even for a quick email check …the sofa is your relaxing space – don’t psychologically confuse your spaces

Make sure you clear away at the end of the day to give you separation (box, cupboard, bag)

Get natural daylight (or put the lights on if you can’t get a lot of light into the room)

Have a separate screen – don’t work on your laptop screen – it’s too small
Have a separate keyboard and mouse
I would buy these myself if work can’t/won’t

Have a good chair

Enhance and increase your ‘bubble’ – who has ‘got you’ – these people are your bubble

Lack of boundaries is a problem

The secret is not just about activity but how you design your day – before you start work – after work – ‘puzzling together’ things – but it will not be the same day in day out

Tear up 9 to 5 completely
Track your productivity levels – set your agenda on this
This may well be different in different environments

All hours are not created equal – Formal meetings, Service user meetings, informal meets (chats – professional socialisation), deep work

Deep work is usually best in the morning

Talking in the afternoon is good

Time sheet your entire week (or two weeks)
Look at the week as a whole across your whole life
‘This Friday is the most important day of next week’
AM connect with the plan (and amend)
PM connect with tomorrows plan (and amend)

Being productive is hard – the harder you try the less likely it is to happen – this is why routine is important – The power of routines is that they ensure that we use as little conscious energy as possible where it is not absolutely necessary, leaving us free to strategically focus the energy available to us to the actual. No boundary moments – move effortlessly between planned tasks (including your breaks)

Mornings are crucial – before you start work and how you start work

Try to plan to half hour/ 1 hour increments

  • Create ‘prep’ time – rest – micro – mini – macro
  • Decompress between tasks (go outside and come back in – inform your mind this is something different now / move about between tasks / breathing / stretching)
  • Recreate those car journeys (music – is the next thing a Metallica Meeting or an Adele chat) or those walks to meeting rooms
  • Create transition time
    • Transitional rituals – coffee mug, candle, create rituals to ‘move’ from ‘place to place’ – take a journey to the next encounter – reflection before action (planning/Visualisation)
  • Create slippage time – 25% to the planning fallacy effect plus 25% slippage
  • Maintaining cognitive boundaries – between meetings – end of days – this is where you need to decompress – stop going from one meeting into the next
  • Have a set of rules – maybe no weekends – evening work up to a point
  • Use your Out of Office – make sure you know how to switch notifications off – there are no cues remotely to tell people to leave you alone – so they don’t
  • Take a Lunch break
  • End of day reflection – control – finish on a good thing (replace the car journey)

Video meetings

  • Tend to be more taxing – so keep them as short as possible – more meetings – less people
  • You are unable to scan the room which can be problematic – cameras on is essential (bandwidth allowing) – although ultimately it’s what people say that’s probably the most important
  • Mute Mics – enter the meeting with your mic off – be on time
  • Wear headphones – best you can get – our ears tire when sound quality is poor – those annoying feedbacks come from open speakers
  • Find a quiet place to be with no background noise
  • Invest in a separate USB mic it will likely be better than the one in your computer – good sound quality helps everyone
  • Place your camera as close to where you are going to be looking at people as possible
  • Be in the mid space
  • Invest in a second screen
  • Head and torso in the frame
  • Light your face if possible
  • Stop with the ridiculous backdrops LOL! Something simple or none
  • Still try to ‘read the room’ – face and torsos
  • Exaggerate facial expressions a little
  • Turn video off if bandwidth is a problem (video on is always going to be better though)