In this blog, I'm aiming to tackle two sides of working from home; firstly, the Entrepreneurs who run their fashion business- be it sportswear, or streetwear and are looking for ways of maximising their productivity, as well as seasoned corporate individuals who are now having to vastly adapt to the changing environment we're in.
Did you know that between 2012- 2016, flexi-time working in the UK had risen by 12.5% and the Office of National Statistics predicts that 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by the end of 2020 and that remote working teams have a productivity rating of 7.7/10 (compared to the 6.5/10 for teams working in open plan offices)
So, with the above in mind- the question remans: how do you effectively work from home?
Lets talk about the benefits:
- There's no commute: This is arguably one of the largest benefits. Most induvial commute for at least an hour each way every day... that's now two extra hours a day you have to focus on that fashion business you're looking to start, or sourcing that private label manufacturer in the UK (White2Label Manufacturing)
- More flexibility: Most people complain about having to work on someone's time and although working from home might be similar- i.e. you start at 9am and finish at 5pm (every entrepreneurs worst nightmare) but there will be more flexibility. You can move things around in your daily schedule and if you're an entrepreneur, you've probably already been doing this- however, you're now almost forced to look at how to plan your day (as there isn't much else to do)
- Reduced stress: Look, I love psychology- it fascinates me. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some form of study out there relating to the effects of working from home has on (reducing) stress and it's down to the fact that (for most) your home is a place for relaxation. By association, your sofa is linked to relaxing, your TV is linked to entertainment and your partner... well, I'll let you finish that one yourself. Statistically, employees who work from home report being 24% more happy and productive.
However, with the good, comes the bad; so let's discuss the issues:
- Your home bills increase: Whilst you end up saving money on commuting, you'll quite often find your water, electric and gas bills will rise. In addition to that, if you're often on the hunt for what is in the fridge- your food bill might rise too!
- There are domestic distractions: I don't know what domestic duties you have at home, but I can assure you that no amount of work you have been given from your job, or how many clients you have- when it's time to do the dishes, they need to be done. Therefore, one big downfall is domestic distractions; this can also include children and partners.
- Reduced levels of accountability: The single hardest thing I struggled with when going full-time on running the private label manufacturing/ sportswear manufacturing company that is now White2Label Manufacturing was lack of accountability. No-one was holding me accountable for the work I did and did not do. This might affect you when working remotely, a some people need (and excuse my language) a kick up the a*se to get things done.
- Lack of movement: This might sound stupid, but what I mean is by being indoors all day, naturally you won't be in natural light, moving, walking or in the hustle and bustle of a workspace... this ultimately means you might feel sluggish and therefore less "switched on".
What to do before the start of your workday to maximise productivity:
- Choose your workspace: don't bounce around the house changing workspaces after every break; find one and stick to it. Ensure it's set-up with everything you need to avoid spending time and attention searching for things you need.
- Upgrade your internet: we aren't here to up-sell you more expensive broadband, but there is nothing more frustrating than bad internet when you're trying to work!
- Clean your workspace: it's pretty obvious that you should be doing this, but having a clean and clutter-free workspace will help remove any distractions.
- Communication is key: talk to the people you live with and let them know you're working. Communicate that the dishes will be done, just after your Skype meetings and emails... or after your work block; which leads me onto the next point:
- Set work blocks: in order to maintain focus and attention, set blocks of work- ensuring you take regular breaks and get fresh air to ensure you're on the top of your game.
One of the absolute keys to ensuring you get every task completed and add a level of accountability to your day is using planning tools. I personally use Trello to track and keep client "cards" which I update with every significant conversation. In these I'll include things such as- costs, sale prices, designs, logo files, tech-packs, branding etc so that it's all in one place and easy to access later on.
In addition to the above, I create a check-list of things to do. From clearing invoices, to confirming changes for samples- it's all accounted for through Trello- ensuring I don't miss any details when working with clients on manufacturing for their sportswear, or fashion brand.
This is so important and we aren't just saying this because we're a sportswear manufacturer, but because keeping fit and active during this period is essential to increasing productivity. Exercise allows us to clear our mind and it doesn't have to consist of an hour hardcore extreme weight session; it can literally be anything that works for you.
Work on a passion project:
This part is where I try to convert you. You now have more free time on your hands and this is the perfect opportunity to work on a passion project! Have you always wanted to launch a fashion brand? A sportswear brand? Or start a business? Well, now is the time. You've already sourced a UK based fashion manufacturer (White2Label Manufacturing) and now you have all the time in the world to focus on launching this company.
On a slightly more serious note- "In the midst of chaos, there is opportunity" and your opportunity right now is to make the most of this lockdown. Learn a new skill, start a business, do some personal development; whatever it ends up being- we'd love to hear! Drop us an email over at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us more, or hear more about our products and services.
As always, thank you so much for reading. Stay safe and look after yourself.