How to handle being at home and on the job

Author: Hayley Alexander

Hey, it’s Monday, believe it or not!   


Thankfully, a Monday minus the heavy traffic, the frenzy of a rushed breakfast and the frequently raucous school run. 


Now, all you need is a quick face splash and to put on a shirt for that online meeting and it’s time to log on and get down to business.


That’s not to say that today won’t come with its own stresses, though.


Maybe you start with checking emails. Reply to a few. Then you get hungry, go get something to eat. Your parent or child needs your help with something random. You get side-tracked, you go back to your desk, check your phone, consider signing up for an online meditation or fitness challenge (but there are so many to choose from…) and, oh gosh, it’s time for that important Zoom call already!


Sound familiar? 


Of course, everyone will experience unique challenges depending on their home situation, deadlines and job description. Keeping in mind that it may take a little time to adjust and find your flow, here are some tips from our colleagues around the world on how they are handling working from home: 


  • “I’ve been making sure to take my lunchbreak outside every day just to get some fresh air and vitamin D, which helps with cabin fever. It’s also helpful to try create a dedicated work space separate from your main living space, otherwise, I find it can feel like your laptop stares at you from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, and it can be hard to switch off.” – Georgie Botto (Melbourne, Australia). 

  • “One thing that’s keeping me sane right now is a routine for the kids – one that includes exercise, creative time, reading, TV, etc.  It’s printed, stuck on the fridge, and while we don’t stick to it to the minute, it is helping to break up the day into manageable chunks.” – Prudence McClean (Johannesburg, South Africa).

  • “Communicating with my three-year-old daughter as to why I need to be on my laptop can be challenging. Planning things to keep her busy and doing practical activities like baking together helps.” – Katlego Lesetedi (Johannesburg, South Africa). 

  • “Making playlists to listen to while I’m working helps me not to feel as isolated. Nothing ‘pop or singalong’, just things like the Lost Horizon album, by Lemon Jelly. I also try to do some form of exercise after I log off at the end of the day.” – Flavia Nogueira (São Paulo, Brazil).

  • “Every day, I try to put a schedule together, which tells me what I need to do and when, i.e. bath times, working times, lunch/cooking dinner times, family time, social media time, etc. I find that this helps me be more disciplined and allows for better control of my day.” – Thato Tinte (Johannesburg, South Africa).

  • “Facetime has been a lifesaver to touch base with the rest of the world and help keep my eldest son (a pre-schooler) occupied. Once or twice a day my parents have been reading him stories over Facetime while I work.” – Kate Cross (Melbourne, Australia).


In addition, taking a few expert tips from Tamryn Sherriffs, multiple online business owner and creator of Differently. Life, to succeed in working from home, make sure to: 


  1. Adjust your way of working to short 50-minute bursts of productivity and take frequent breaks. 

  2. Unless you’re expected to be “on call”, consider leaving your phone in a different room, saving those 10-minute breaks on the hour for getting up to check messages, refill your glass of water, etc. 

  3. Know the best and most efficient software tools for the job. Set up systems and learn how to host your own online conference calls. 

  4. Make a list of benefits that you derive from working from home, e.g. saving petrol and commuting time, being able to sleep in late and family bonding. 

  5. Take short moments throughout the day to appreciate your freedom. 

On that note, it’s time for me to make a cup of tea, then maybe I’ll see which of my kids wants to play hide and seek – “ready or not, here I come!”




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