Now you're working from home things are different. You probably haven't prepared lunch that morning because you're already at home. I mean what's the point of preparing lunch when it's already in the fridge.

When normally you would be frantically searching for a vacant meeting room and hoping that nobody has decided to sneak in beforehand you now have to find a quite place in the home. Somewhere you can concentrate and have a conversation without being distracted by children, noisy neighbours or pets chewing on the router cable.

Finding Peace and Quiet

Speaking of peace and quiet, that is never easy. Even if you are fortunate enough to have a Whole room to yourself, it's that inevitable crash downstairs. What's fallen? What's broken? Who's hurt?

If however you’re pretty limited on space and some of my friends living in London are just in that situation. Having one room in a shared house or even having to share a small living area makes finding peace and quiet to work is no easy task. So what can you do?

  • Tell others you are working

    It may be surprising to you but people don't want to disturb you. If you clearly tell them that you are currently working for the next 2 hours or whatever, then, generally, they will leave you alone. In fact they may want to help by plonking a cup of tea by your side and clearing up the old one.
  • Create a space

    You can only work on your bed or on the sofa for so long. These devices are meant for sleeping and binge watching box sets so try to avoid working from them no matter how much you may be tempted. If you can clear away an old desk or make space on the dinning room table or even a large storage box in the corner of the room. This way you can keep distractions to a minimum.
  • Regular Breaks

    Take time for breaks. That's right! Actually set a time for a break. So if you start at 09:00am then plan a break at 10:45am for 15 minutes. Have a stretch, go into the garden, learn to juggle do some press-ups anything that gives you a little respite. If you want, you can use Alexa or whatever to remind you. There is one thing that you must avoid when taking a break and that is watching another screen. I know you want to have the news on in the background and I admit that I'm constantly fighting the urge to switch on the news and watch it slavishly but if you do you won't get the best from your break.

Taking a Training Course

Creating the Best Learning Environment

If you haven't already done so, you will most likely be taking online training courses. You need to get familiar with new software, new ways of working. Software applications such as Zoom, Teams, Hangouts and Skype have recently been thrust into your vocabulary. 

Our software of choice for Live Online training is Zoom and there are a number of reasons for this:

  1. You don't have to have an account to join a training session. You don't have to provide your email address or password, all you need to do is to click on the link the course organiser has provided for you and you will be connected.
  2. You have the capacity to have up to 300 users on a course at a time. Now we will never conduct a training course with that many people but it gives you an idea of the capacity of Zoom.
  3. Making good use of your webcam and microphone is a feature available to many other video conferencing software packages, however with Zoom you don't even have to have these. You can use your telephone to speak during the training sessions if needed. 
  4. There is the ability to record the training session making it available to the students afterwards.

Once you've chosen the best learning software for you it's great if you can create an environment to aid learning. In addition to the above it would be good to have the following:

  • Having a pen and paper for notes

    Making notes old school aids learning. It gives your brain a different platform to record the information plus it is better for memory. So write down your notes on a piece of paper. Let the trainer know that you are writing information down so that they can take that into consideration during the class.

  • Use a webcam but don't constantly look at yourself

    I know it's embarrassing seeing yourself on screen, but it'll soon wear of. The problem with using a webcam on most video conferencing software is that you see yourself. Now it's true you need to ensure you don't have anything stuck in your teeth or that you haven't smudged your lipstick at the beginning, but you don't need to look at yourself all the time. Just imagine if you did that in real life! Having a mirror permanently attached to you by some weird contraption on your head always reminding you of what you looked like. that would be just weird. So keep your webcam on but arrange your screen so you can't see yourself. Most software has the ability to turn your view off while allowing others to see you. After a while you'll almost forget that others can see you.

Cat too close

  • Don't sit too close to the webcam

    Imagine if when talking to someone that you were right up in their face. So that they could count every mole or freckle. It's not natural! So sit a little further back. Allow the trainer to see your immediate working area that way they know when your writing something down or where you attention is. This way the trainer can better direct the course.
  • Have shorter training sessions

    Staring at a screen all day is hard. That's why for our instructor led training we recommend shorter training sessions of no more than 3 hours. If the course is longer then we will break up the course. Your brain needs time to learn and if your brain is tired, stressed and distracted it's not great for learning so whether you are reviewing course materials or taking part in Live Online training then little and often is better than long and infrequent.

Hopefully you've gotten something out of the above tips. I know that working and learning from home is not the best environment. It's 2 worlds combining and having had experience of working from home a lot through my life I feel the above suggestions have really helped.

The basic principal is try to create a division between your work routine and your home routine in anyway you can. Every little thing you do will make a difference and keep you so much more productive.

Thanks for Reading!