Prior to lockdown, the practice of working from home was a trend that was slowly gathering pace, but still only ‘enjoyed’ by a minority of workers.

But with many companies being forced into adopting home working policies as a direct response to the pandemic, the resulting cultural shift could be a necessary wakeup call to organisations needing to embrace more flexible working practices.

At Quorum Park we started providing flexible working solutions a number of years ago when we launched Q11, as well as a number of small office spaces within Neon. These offices are specifically designed to enable occupiers to have office space when they need it, along with access to meeting rooms and shared collaboration space without having to pay for the extra floorspace. This concept has been a tremendous success and we know from tenant feedback that the flexibility provides a huge number benefits, not only in a financial sense, but also in terms of employee satisfaction and productivity.

Looking ahead, it is likely that many organisations will combine office and home working practices. This will lead to changes in how companies use their offices, with less emphasis on traditional working areas and a move to providing a range of areas for collaboration and engagement. This will be a very interesting period for office design and something we will return to in the months ahead.

In the meantime, flexible working looks like it’s here to stay, but for some it can take a little getting used to and especially anyone who has only ever worked from an office.

Working from home effectively does take some practise, so here are some of our top tips to make the most of this new way of working: 

Start the day as you mean to go on

When working from home it’s a good idea to get yourself set for the day in the same way you would if heading to the office – get dressed! No, you don’t need to get suited and booted, but getting out of your pyjamas is a good start to get into work mode.  This one is particularly applicable if you are living alone and are finding life from home a little lonely and demotivating.

A designated working space

Working from home is meant to improve your work / life balance, but it doesn’t always feel like that when the day’s workload is encroaching on the evening’s dinner table. Make sure you have a designated space to work from and ideally where you can close the door and leave of an evening.

Not everyone has the luxury of a home office, but consider getting a storage box you can leave under a table so you’re able to pack away on a night time and switch off for the day.

Background noise

Sometimes there is nothing more distracting than the sound of silence – come to think of it screaming children and lively pets are pretty good contenders! However, the right kind of background noise can actually help keep you focussed. A great tip is to not overload the senses – choose either sight or sound – you can have one or the other but not both, so have the TV on but muted, or stick the radio on.

Use your office time wisely

If you are only in the office a couple of times a week, make sure you use that time wisely. Plan meetings in advance and think of office days as ‘collaboration days’, any work that needs input and shared effort do on office days while using home based days for admin and longer projects.

Time to yourself

Work out how long your daily commute would normally be, take half of that time and bank it as ‘me time’ free for you to use throughout the day. You may use it to go for a run, catch up on housework or prep your evening meal, or you might just enjoy a cuppa and catch up on the news in peace. Whatever you do with it, remember to make the most of this ‘found’ time which you wouldn’t otherwise have if you were commuting to the office.