Our legal experts, Cognitive Law, are flexible working experts too! The whole business is founded on flexible working and they share their top tips for working from home successfully.
Working from home is an increasingly popular choice for many professionals. With advances in technology, we can stay connected when we are out of the office, whilst still performing all the tasks that can be undertaken in the office. At Cognitive Law we have invested heavily in technology with a cloud-based case management system that can be used anywhere, at any time. This means our solicitors are never restricted to the office, or their home. They work where they want, when they want. And gradually many other companies are now following suit.
However, when working at home, distractions can be a problem. Household chores, kids, easy access to the TV (to name a few) can prevent you from achieving all you would like to in a working day.
As a firm passionate about flexible working with the infrastructure to fully support a home working environment, we have pulled together our top tips on making working from home a productive and distraction free experience.
This seems like an obvious one - get dressed and follow your normal morning routine that you would do before leaving for the office. This helps get you in the mind set for your working day. That’s not to say you need a power suit on every day but comfortable clothes that you’d be happy to be seen in does help.
Play background music
Many professionals say having background music during the day can help increase focus. Music you like helps focus the brain while music you don’t impedes it. (Although we’re not sure how focused you’d be if you are a heavy metal fan!) The team at Cognitive Law have differing opinions on this point, some love music in the background and others say they work best in complete silence. That’s the beauty of working from home though – you have it exactly as you like!
Have regular breaks
This is important wherever you are working. Taking short, regular breaks is said to greatly improve productivity. If you can, get some fresh air by popping out or going for a quick walk. This helps to refresh your mind and stay focused for the next couple of hours of work. Many of our solicitors have pets and often use the freedom of working from home to take the dogs out during the day. It can even be a good time to make client calls and talk ideas through with colleagues.
Have a ‘to do’ list
We love a list! Planning out your working day helps to keep you focused on tasks and eliminates distractions. And the most rewarding part – ticking off each activity as you go spurs you on to the next task. At Cognitive Law we have a shared portal for any projects that are being done as a team. This means even from home the team can work together in achieving tasks and everyone is able to see the progress of the project. A great way to work as a team from the comfort of your home.
Create an office setting
Try to create an office space area to give you the feeling of being at work. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown office set up in your home, but try not to work from the sofa or your bed. Ideally pick a room you can close the door to and shut out any distractions.
Group tasks together
Again, this is one to do wherever you are working. Try to batch tasks together. If you have lots of calls to make do them all at once. Try the same with emails, and maximize productivity. Getting the smaller tasks out the way helps to focus the mind on tackling the bigger projects. Several of our solicitors block out a particular time in their diary to make the calls they need. This helps them to plan their day and allocate the time to suit them.
Deal with your distractions
If you know what is likely to distract you, manage those possible disturbances before the start of your day. For example if you know you have a huge pile of washing up on the side which is going to keep bothering you throughout the day, get it done and out of the way so it’s not hanging over you.
Post your schedule
If you have family in the house whilst you are working, manage their expectations of your availability by letting them know your plan for the day. If they are aware you will be busy until lunchtime, they are less likely to interrupt you and wait until your next break. This is also a good idea to do in your work calendar so your colleagues can also see what you’re working on and when might be a good time to contact you.
Whatever your job, the best way of organising your day is to look at how your working day can fit around your family and other commitments. Some of our solicitors work best in the morning, whereas others work late into the night. It doesn’t really matter when and where your work is being done, as long as it’s to a high standard, meeting clients and colleagues requirements then everyone is happy.