With more of the nation working from home than ever before, and the situation set to continue for at least a few weeks more, we called upon our community of Travel Counsellors to tell us their top tips for working productively, efficiently and happily from home.
Afterall, Travel Counsellors was one of the first companies in the travel industry to enable experienced travel professionals with an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for customer care, to launch corporate and leisure travel businesses from home or shared offices, with the aim to work flexibly around their clients.
1. Routine is key to staying motivated
Morpeth based Travel Counsellor Eve Moir says, ““Routine is the key to staying motivated,” adding, “Every day brings different challenges, but you need do your best to be consistent and disciplined – don’t be tempted to stay in your PJs all day.”
2. Start the day with breakfast and exercise
Fuelling your day the right way is top of Hull based Travel Counsellor’s ‘to-do’ list. Katie says, “Start every day with breakfast, and if you can, do some exercise! It sets me up for the day with a positive mindset.”
3. Set clear goals
Doncaster based Travel Counsellor Trevor Smith emphasises the importance of setting clear goals for your working day. Trevor says, “For me the goal is to clear the desk every night, even if that is near midnight!” However, it’s not always about burning the midnight oil, and as the Beatles famously sung, we ‘get by with a little help from (our) friends’. Trevor takes the time to keep in touch with his fellow Travel Counsellors and colleagues, who are also working from home and ‘in the same boat’.
4. Surround yourself with a support system
“We all face issues and having a support system of colleagues we feel we can be totally honest with about anything, whether it be personal, financial or business wise, is key to boosting mental wellbeing when working remotely.”
5. Go for a walk - fresh air, fresh mind
Getting into the right headspace is something Bolton based Travel Counsellor Lara Sydall says is key to keeping on track. Lara says, “I try to take a lunch or just a break to get out for a run or walk for fresh air, and it helps you come back with a fresh mind.”
6. Balancing workload and managing expectations
With schools closed across the country, many homeworkers will now also be balancing their workload with their children’s schoolwork and keeping the kids entertained. When it comes to homeschooling, Chorley based Travel Counsellor Emma Otter says it’s all about managing expectations.
“(Customers) don't mind that you work from home and sometimes have to work around the kids. Our customers often have kids too, and they love the fact that I can work round them as well, plus I can call them during the evenings or weekends at a time when we can talk without the kids interrupting!”
Travel Counsellor Katie Kirk also manages her workload by managing expectations. Setting realistic deadlines for when work will be done, and “by communicating that clearly and honestly to both customers and colleagues, it helps them to manage their own time at home effectively too.”
7. Create a comfortable working environment
Brampton based Travel Counsellor Jane Sedgwick admits that when she first launched her business from home over two years ago, she “found it a novelty and was easily distracted. However, like many people at the moment my husband is also working from home which has helped me to get into a routine. He’s upstairs, I’m downstairs!”
Jane also recommends having “a proper desk, rather than working at the kitchen table, or on my lap.”
Having recently volunteered as a ‘Resilience Marshall’ to look after the vulnerable in her local community during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jane adds, “I always get dressed, and I always put shoes on – I can’t work in slippers!” If you’re working away from the office for the first time, why not contact your local Travel Counsellor for some more hints and tips on the best ways of working happily at home?