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How to Succeed While Working From Home

Posted 15.04.20  - Culture

Friend of Turnbull, stylist and fashion writer, David Hellqvist, shares his experience of this first few weeks of working from home – from navigating the trials of sharing an office with a baby to balancing work with planning ever more complicated menus. Below that, we've crowd-sourced sartorial tips from across the Turnbull team, to ensure that you work from home dressing doesn't falter.

Working From Home with David Hellqvist

These are uncertain times. Just about everything has changed about how you live your life. But it hasn’t stopped; it’s just different. You still need to go shopping, it’s just that you might do most of it online. You still need to exercise, but instead of going to your gym, you’re maybe doing laps and burpees in your garden. The list goes on, it’s as long as the hours in a day...

Another obvious aspect of your new daily routine is how you work. We all have different employment situations, but assuming you used to go somewhere else between, say, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to work in front of a computer … well, now you don’t. You do that from your own home.

How though? It might sound like a naïve question, but it isn’t. Our homes are set up for leisure and pleasure, with sofas, TVs, kitchens, bedrooms and your PlayStation™. How to work efficiently from home with all those obstacles and temptations? Chuck a toddler into that equation, and you’re facing serious trouble when it comes to getting just about anything done.

My wife and I are both self-employed but, as a make-up artist, she works out of different photo studios every day, and I have a separate office, so we don’t often work from home. We also have that aforementioned baby to attend to, so self-isolation is... interesting. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learnt the hard way, over the past few weeks.

Having an office, or at least a dedicated workspace is important. We’re lucky, there’s a spare bedroom available which, until recently, was used for nappy changing and drying laundry. It still offers those services, but it’s now also an office space. To prove my point: that’s where I’m currently sitting, writing this.

But it’s not really about having a room, it’s about creating space. Working from the kitchen table, the sofa or – even worse – your bed is not a great idea when looking to maximise your creative productivity. So, find a corner, create a makeshift desk, clear out a (heated) shed, climb into the attic – whatever works for you and your home. Set up a desk, make sure you can charge your laptop, sit down comfortably, bring coffee and water with you and if you really want to make this work, leave your phone in another room.

For me, in these self-isolating times, food has become a major part of my day. I always enjoyed cooking and eating, but now I’m starting to plan our dinner at 9 a.m. and wondering about what to cook before and after that. The trick is to use that energy in your home office environment, make it work for you and not against you.

Because breaks and time off will, arguably, be even more important now that you are at home all day long instead of in an office with colleagues. So, to schedule a time to prepare food and to eat it will be crucial to escape your work-lair for a bit. The other bit to fit into the puzzle, connected to the lunch through metabolism, is your daily dose of exercise. Combine it with your afternoon break from work; go out in the garden, or just outside the flat (balcony, street, whatever is accessible to you) to enjoy the fresh air and some brisk body movements to get the blood flowing.

Once done, head back to the office space with a cup of fresh coffee, and your second serving of homemade apple crumble, with an extra portion of whipped cream.

The Turnbull Guide to Working from Home

Set up a morning routine. Avoid the temptation of staying in our pyjamas all day, no matter how elegant, a clear routine will help formalise the day and hopefully a work-focused mindset will follow. Turnbull’s own Creative Director, Becky French, has taken to beginning each day with a sketching session to focus the mind and promote creative thinking in these difficult times.

Curate brilliant corners. Whilst we’re confined to our homes, now’s the chance to take a further measure of pride in them. Fill your workspace with objects which can spark inspiration, and avoid those which summon distraction.

Dress up. For some, an elevated dress code is enough motivation to get them through the day’s work. Not to mention the added zoom kudos for being best dressed, we opt for a classic Turnbull shirt to set our day right.

Get a breath of fresh air. Whilst we’re still allowed our fragment of time outside, take full advantage. And as many of us are guilty of not taking a proper lunch break in an office environment now’s an opportunity to start the habit of going outside. Whilst it’s beneficial to take in fresh air, stepping away for a moment to clear your mind will ensure smooth running and a better perspective for the rest of your working day.

Indulge in recreation. Swap the time you would spend on your commute for much more preferable past times. For those of us isolating with our families, we have a precious chance to spend more time with the ones we love. Additionally, the extra time can be spent reading books, or for David, time spent on his PlayStation™.

David Hellqvist & Daniel Challis

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