9th April 2020

Culture / India Price

India Price is Right: Working from Home

17 8 mins 1

IIndia Price, eldest daughter of Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, is an editor, writer and digital strategist specialising in fashion and lifestyle. India has been freelance since the start of 2019, working with a number of different clients on campaign copy, general brand copy, tone of voice development, editing, strategy and more. Some of her most recent clients and published work includes: Into The Gloss, The Chill Times, ASOS, John Lewis & Partners, Sir Plus, Next, Hackett and Adjust Your Set for Radley. India is also an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion, tutoring 2nd and 3rd year students across various units in BA (Hons) Fashion Journalism.

Working from home is hard. There’s no one to hold you accountable. No one to break up the day by the coffee machine with. No one to distract you when your workload gets a little too much. Successfully working from home takes discipline. A lot of it. Here’s what I’ve learnt -and what has helped me- in the relatively short time that I’ve been working from home.

Discipline is difficult, but it works.
Right now, most of the world is working from home. For some, that will be easy. For others, nigh on impossible. And I don’t mean because of their actual jobs, I mean because home is (usually) a safe haven away from the office, a place we come to relax and switch off, which makes it pretty hard to be disciplined about working. It almost seems like an oxymoron, but I believe that discipline (just enough of it) is actually the key to happiness.

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
Without sounding wishy-washy, starting your day with positive and grateful thoughts can totally shift the next 24 hours. So, instead of waking up and feeding your mind with negative thoughts about how you wish things were different, how unfair the world is, try thinking about everything that’s good in your life right now – and it doesn’t have to be related to work. You can even write it down so that you actually take the time to think about it. And don’t just take my word for it, research shows that those who practice gratitude are less likely to be depressed or anxious, and that helps the brain to work more efficiently.

Structure your day, just as you would at work.
Working from home can mean that every hour blends into one. You roll out of bed much later than you would on a normal weekday and sit in your pyjamas, answering emails. You realise you should probably eat something but forget, meaning that you spend the rest of the day snacking, staring at your screen and forgetting to move your body or get outside. Sound familiar? Then it’s time to create some structure.

Set your alarm earlier and commit to getting some fresh air before the day starts. The act of leaving the house and coming back in is enough to feel like some sort of a commute, which will help you ‘arrive’ at your desk easier. Split your day off as a to-do list in hour-long increments, making sure that your phone is away (but on loud in case of an urgent work call) and stop for lunch – stepping away from your screen and even better, getting some fresh air. Finish your working day at the same time that you would if you were in the office and make sure that you actually shut down your computer and turn off your emails. And, because you’re not commuting, use that extra hour at the end of the day to move your body, cook something wholesome or chat to a friend.

Maintain normal working hours – and make sure your colleagues know it.
I’ve had clients who, because they know I’m working remotely, think that it’s okay to email me at 11pm on a Saturday night requiring an ‘urgent’ piece of work or dropping me a text at 7pm on a Wednesday and asking me to do something. While there will sometimes be exceptions if a deadline really is urgent, it’s important to put boundaries in place with your colleagues so they know that you’re not available at all hours of the day. Pop on an out of office, turn off your emails and avoid replying to texts during non-working hours. This will hugely help your mental health and also differentiate between the part of the day you spend working and the part of the day you spend relaxing at home.

If you can, create a dedicated working area. 
If you have the space or the means, it’s helpful to create a dedicated working area. Keep this area strictly work-orientated and treat it as you would your desk at work. Changing up where you work every day (the sofa, your bed, the kitchen counter) can be counter-productive, meaning that you’re losing structure and making it easier to get distracted. Mentally, having a dedicated workspace will remind you that this area is purely for work, and you’ve got the rest of the house to relax in. It’s also key to helping shut off for the day.

Communicate with colleagues and friends, especially if you live alone.
There have been times where I’ve worked from home where I realise that I’ve gone a whole day without speaking to anyone. And at the end of those days, I feel drained, far too focused on my work and actually a little bit low. If you live alone or, like me, have a partner who leaves for the office super early in the morning, it’s essential that you chat to someone on the phone or on Zoom or an equivalent. And no, texting doesn’t count. Taking the time to fully focus on having a conversation with someone other than yourself, even if it’s a conference call, will do wonders for your mood.

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India Price, eldest daughter of Charlie and Caroline Gladstone, is a freelance editor, writer and digital strategist, specialising in fashion and lifestyle. Her clients include The Gloss, ASOS, John Lewis & Partners, Sir Plus, Next, Hackett and more. She is also an Associate Lecturer at London College of Fashion, tutoring 2nd and 3rd year students across various units in BA (hons) Fashion Journalism.

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