With half the world in lockdown, remote working seems like the only way for most businesses to keep doing business. All our non-essential staff are already working from home, including me – Attic Self Storage’s resident blog writer (or as I currently like to imagine myself a modern-day Samuel Pepys).
As I beaver away at this particular (plague-dodging) installment, I can see it’s a wonderful sunny day outside, but I’ve already taken my daily constitutional and there’s food in the fridge, so there’s no excuse for me to go swanning about. Instead, I’ve done a little homework about home working and would love to share some ideas with you.
Find A Space In Your Place
If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room that you can utilise, now is the time to turn it into a proper home office. Or if everywhere is already in use, try improvising – find a suitable corner in your kitchen, bedroom or dining room to set up shop.
Create a space that’s a dedicated work area separate from where you go to relax. If you live with other people, it’s probably best not to take over the room where the TV or toilet is. Don’t camp out on the sofa. Make sure your work area is comfy, but not so cozy that you’re tempted to drift off after lunch.
Your Desk Awaits
Find an appropriate area to sit and work – preferably with a straight-backed chair offering plenty of lumbar support and a flat desk or table in front of you. Choose a spot with plenty of natural light and a view of the savannah, or at least somewhere you can stick an angle-poise lamp to illuminate your dull little bedsit. Health & Safety tip: set up your equipment so that it is comfortable to use. Place your computer monitor so you don’t have to bend your neck, stoop or peer at the screen from a weird angle.
The New Nine To Five
Don’t languish in bed. Get up and at your day like you normally would. As much as you can, keep to your regular routine. Focus on priorities. Keep in touch with your work colleagues using phone, email and video chat (careful if you’re working in your underwear).
Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp and the rest are invaluable ways to conduct face to face meetings right now, but don’t let them invade your home life too much. It’s important to maintain boundaries. You don’t have to be continually online just to show you’re not shirking.
Take regular breaks throughout the day. Stand up, stretch your legs and re-hydrate. Keep a bottle of water handy. Try not to drink too much coffee or break open the wine before 5.30pm. Avoid visits to the fridge. If you have a garden use it to get some fresh air or use your daily exercise break to walk or jog around the nearest park (keeping 2 metres away from everybody else).
A Lesson In Home Learning
If you have young children with you (or teenagers who are happily isolating themselves in their bedrooms) schedule your breaks so you can check up on them and see that they are ok. Don’t let them sit on their phones or computers all day and try not to use the TV set as a 24-hour child minder.
But don’t feel guilty about not being a Zen master at the art of home schooling. Just try to include some numeracy (‘how many sheets of toilet paper do we have left?’) reading (‘this biscuit cupboard is now locked’) and writing (‘please list food you would like to eat’) every day. Don’t forget to check online to see what resources their school is providing. Also set some fun tasks like arts and crafts projects – there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube.
All Together Now
This is a great opportunity to bring the family together to cook, walk the dog and support one another. Apart from encouraging your kids to socially isolate and getting them to wash their hands regularly, now’s the time to issue them with their very own marigold gloves and get them to help keep your new home office clean and tidy. Perhaps teach them how the vacuum cleaner and washing machine work too.
If you’ve got junk lying around, get your new captive workforce to help box it up, bin it or bung it on e-bay and see who bites. If there’s stuff that you want to keep but don’t use regularly, stick it away in your garage, shed, loft, or – when the time is appropriate – Attic Self Storage branch.
Self Storage & Self Isolation
Although we’re not encouraging our customers to make any unnecessary trips to visit us, you might be pleased to hear that Self Storage is classed as an ‘essential service’ and so our stores will remain open and staffed, until we are advised otherwise. In the eventuality that we are forced to send our onsite team home, we are still able to move people in remotely via our web-based sign up system if needs be.
Just to reassure you, if you desperately need to visit Attic, we are keeping all our premises safe, secure and meticulously clean. We have stepped up our cleansing regime and our cleaning teams are regularly using isopropyl alcohol at 90% concentration to sanitise all customer touch points. That means lift buttons, trolley handles, doorknobs, toilet facilities and our secure entry keypads. We’ve also limited the number of customers allowed in reception at any one time to 2.
Unless you are a key worker, we’d encourage you to stay home, stay safe and do your bit to stem the spread of this nasty virus. Together we can defeat this thing, even if that means right now, we all have to keep apart.