There is no doubt that the latest pandemic has caused huge upheaval to our personal and working lives. Many hundreds of thousands of people face the unfamiliar prospect of working from home for weeks or even months to come. Most of our ghostwriters have been working this way for years, so we have come together to provide you with a few tips that will hopefully help you settle into this new way of working:

1.    Rise and shine

Set your alarm for the same time every morning and try and keep a regular bedtime. Whether you’re a night owl or an early riser, keeping a regular wake-up and bedtime will help you to settle into your new routine more quickly.

2.    Get into the right mindset

Get up, shower, and get dressed, just like you would for your regular job (although there is something to be said for staying in your pyjamas the odd day here and there!). Following the same ‘getting ready’ routine will put you in the right mindset for the working day ahead.

3.    Take some exercise

Make time for some exercise before you start work. A quick run, cycle or walk around the block will clear your mind, which will help you to focus on your work. If you can’t manage a quick trip out before you start, then schedule exercise during the working day or, at the very least, get up from your desk and stretch regularly.

4.    Set up your new ‘office’

Try not to work from your bedroom if you can help it – it’s important to separate your workplace from the area where you usually relax. Find somewhere you can shut the door on your work when you finish such as the guest room or a nook in a quiet part of the house.

5.    Make your workstation comfortable

As you’re going to spending hours working from home, it’s worth making an effort to ensure you’re as comfortable as possible. Remember, sitting at a desk for too many hours at time is not good for the posture, so make sure you have the facility to work from both a sitting and standing position: a laptop riser stand helps with this. You can also try and make your work area as appealing as possible. This might include popping some photos on your desk, pinning inspirational quotes on your walls, or even burning essential oils (something that probably wouldn’t go down too well if you were in an office!).

6.    Plan your working day

Structuring your day and setting targets will help to ease you back into the rhythm of work. Make a To Do list, note down meetings and calls, and then tick each one off when it has been achieved. Then reward yourself for all your brilliant achievements with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, or a large glass of wine.

7.    Keep healthy

When you’re at home, there is a strong temptation to raid the kitchen and eat all the snacks – don’t. Build snack time into your schedule (a coffee and a biscuit at 10am, for example) and always have a bottle of water beside you when you work to stay hydrated.

8. Stay connected to others

Away from the office, those water cooler chats about the latest Netflix series fall by the wayside, and the option to go for a quick lunch or coffee with members of your team no longer exists. However, human interaction is important for our mental health, particularly when dealing with stress and major life changes. So, make sure you stay regularly connected with friends and family, either on the phone or chatting face -to-face over Facetime, Zoom, or Skype.

9.    Keep motivated

Working from home can be full of distractions: sometimes it is more tempting to do the boring domestic tasks such as the laundry, emptying the dishwasher, or preparing a meal for dinner than sitting at a desk for hours staring at a screen. By all means, take these breaks but make a promise to yourself that when you get back to your desk, you will commit to working for a set period of time completely uninterrupted (if you have the willpower, switch off social media and email notifications). If you’re still struggling, then place one unpaid bill on your desk – that usually works a treat!

10.    Focus on the joys of working from home

Working from home may not be for everyone but it is important to focus on the positives. You have the freedom to set your own schedule, the ability to down tools when you’re feeling less than motivated, the joy of access to snacks whenever you want them (a mixed blessing!), and the flexibility to work whenever you want to.

Most importantly, be kind to yourself. Nobody should feel under pressure to be as productive as they usually would under such uncertain circumstances, so don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t meet your usual targets or are finding it harder than usual to focus. Remember to reap the benefits of working from home, and if that means working in your pyjamas some days or taking more biscuit breaks than is strictly necessary, then go for it!

 Emma Murray is a bestselling, award-winning author, novelist and ghostwriter. Her first novel, Time Out, is available to pre-order here.