Working from Home

One of the biggest shocks of leaving a career in finance to become a fashion entrepreneur is no longer working in an office building.  With a home studio, there’s no need to put on makeup, no morning commute, and no set time that I need to be at my desk.  All these things sound great, but there is a flip side to this coin as many of us are starting to experience in these uncertain times.

Whether you are normally working or not, here are some tips to help you be more productive at home and feel more in control of your days when we are asked to stay indoors.

Working from Home
Tip 1: Create a Routine
Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine

When there is no office to go to or co-workers to see you, it can be tempting to roll out of bed and stay in your pyjamas all day.  Creating a routine allows you to plan your day and changes your mind-set from home mode to being more productive.

Each person will have a different schedule based on their personal situation with partners, children, pets, etc.  Maybe you used to head to the gym, an HIIT class or out for a walk.  Exercise is a great way anchor your day and also stay healthy both physically and mentally during these trying times.

My routine used to include a spin session in Oxford Circus, and I have readjusted by digging out my old INSANITY workout DVD to do every morning.  There are myriad of virtual exercise options these days – BarreCore, Yoga on Gaia, Peleton and are just some of the options.

Just like during a normal work day, make sure you schedule in a lunch break.  You might miss the walk down to the canteen or out to the local sandwich shop, but still take the time to step away from what you’re doing for lunch.

When does the work day end?  Whenever you want it to, but make sure it ends.  Many people get caught bringing their work home with them, but when you work from home, you need to set clear boundaries or there becomes no distinction and both areas suffer.

Tip 2: Avoid Distractions

Obviously easier said than done.  At home, there are distractions everywhere.  I may not have children at home with me, but there is always an excuse to stop to pet the dog, or see what I can snack on in the kitchen, or get lost down a youtube rabbit hole for 30 minutes when you were just going to click on one link.

This can be a tricky one to overcome, but I find setting short term goals can be helpful.  Focus on completing one task before allowing a cheat trip to the kitchen.  Or work for one hour and then reward yourself with a viral cat video.

(Pausing to pet the dog since I finished writing this tip.)

Charlie Needing a Cuddle
Tip 3: Stay Connected
Video Conferences & Phone Chats from Home

One of the downsides of working from home is that it can be lonely.  Thankfully, there is a plethora of technology at our fingertips to help us overcome this.  For casual purposes, you can use WhatsApp for direct or group messaging and one-to-one or small group video calls.  You can also organise video calls for larger groups or move your meetings online with Zoom - a popular tool that gives you options like speaker and audience, group view and sharing screens.

Bouncing ideas off others and sharing thoughts on current events are essential to a healthy work environment whether we are working from home or in an office.  This becomes even more important when we all must be physically separate from each other. 

Typically, we have a a Spring pop-up shop in London where 20+ independent designers work collectively to run the store every day.  Unfortunately, that is not possible this year, and I am missing that camaraderie, but I am lucky to have a few designers that I continue speak with, often on a daily basis, to be able to share our projects, ideas and problems.


Tip 4: Designate Non-Work Time 

Make sure you protect your personal time, not only to help improve your new work–life balance, but to encourage you to be more productive during the day as you know there’s a deadline to finish work and something to look forward to.  Because you’re creating your own schedule, this also means you can decide when your “weekend” begins. 

For instance, I sometimes like to take it easier on Fridays and pick up the slack on Sunday instead.  Just make sure you know when it’s work time and when it’s personal time.

Currently, with even more non-work time at home than usual, I decided to organise a virtual book club with nine other women.   The plan is to meet via video conference and discuss our chosen book over a glass of wine.  Want to see how I’ve done it and what we’re reading?  Click here.

Stacy Reading w Charlie

Tip 5: One Day at a Time 
Watching TV

We all start with the best intentions, but sometimes, having a quick lunch while watching an episode of Game of Thrones turns into you not leaving the sofa for 5 hours.  This is okay!  With the constantly busy lives we all lead, it’s okay to choose not to be working sometimes.  Give yourself a break.

Of course you can bake a cake, clean out the closet or a learn a new language while we’re advised to stay at home.  But you can also just binge watch all episodes of The Crown.  Do not feel guilty.  If it soothes any anxiety or helps you relax during these hectic times, then it has been a productive day and tomorrow is another day to start a new routine.

Please be kind to yourself and others.  Stay home and stay safe.