Here’s what happens to your work life when you ditch the city for the countryside…
The days when we all worked in an office, had communal coffee cups, crammed into meeting rooms for face-to-face catch-ups and walked away from our computers at the end of the day now seem as a horse and carriage.
Working from home is plain old working now, and like everyone else I’ve settled into a routine that mainly involves strong coffee, no lunch break and cursing my flat’s measly wifi (you’d think being in London would mean working wifi).
To try and avoid reaching working from home burnout I decided to up sticks and move my office to the countryside for a week. And by office, I mean my laptop. And by countryside, I mean my parents house in a suburban village.
1. I’m most efficient when being antisocial
We all have to make sacrifices in the world of work, and it turns out mine is not being drawn into my mum regaling me with the latest village gossip.
I started my new WFH week trying to balance my tasks for the day with a bit of chat, similar to the old days of the office.
After a while I realised lunchtime was approaching and my to-do list hadn’t gone down anywhere near as much as I’d planned.
Extreme measures were required and I sectioned myself off in another room to knuckle down on some writing.
With no-one to distract me and my phone on airplane mode (goodbye WhatsApp web my old friend) I tore through the job at hand in twice the speed and finished just in time to hear who’d been booted out of the village Facebook group over dinner.
A win for everyone, it’s fair to say.
2. You can’t leave the entire office behind
After working from home for six months, it’s safe to say I already feel like my spine has contorted and my wrist is strained from stooping over my laptop without the right equipment.
Moving my set-up to the countryside only exacerbated that.
With no proper desk to work from I spent the week working from the dining table, which happens to be glass and rendered my current mouse pretty much useless.
Apparently rage and repeatedly lifting my mouse off and on the table isn’t a fix, so I decided it was time for some home office-appropriate equipment - like a mouse that works on glass.
I got my hands, or rather my hand, on the MX Anywhere 3 as it promised to do just that.
It also synced up with my iPad and my home laptop so I could triple up on screens without any faff and it has programmable buttons, which adapt to whichever app you have open.
On top of all that, it’s compact size was perfect for the day my internet decided to crash and I had to make an emergency trip to the local cafe and throw it into my bag. I was basically a one-woman portable office.
Safe to say I have seen the light and my trackpad days are over.
3. Viva la tea break
In the office, tea breaks were all about having a chat and a bit of a screen break while when I was working from home in London they became more about ingesting as much caffeine as possible.
I decided to take advantage of my new countryside working environment to make the most of my tea break and actually live up to its name.
Every day at around 11am I’d brew up and head into the garden for ten minutes.
Not only did it give me a caffeine hit, it also helped my brain have a moment’s respite and I found I was way more productive when I returned to my laptop.
Basically, tea breaks are as good for your work as they are for your mind.
4. Finding balance is key
Knowing when to shut down your computer and switch from work mode to home mode is hard enough in the office, let alone when your home is your office.
The worry of being the first person to leave has been replaced by temptation to stay on your laptop and ‘finish that thing off’ until before you know it the whole evening is gone.
I used my new setting as a fresh start and a renewed attempt to separate work from home.
At the end of the day I logged off as soon as I could and instead of just walking away I made sure my work laptop was physically out of sight to avoid the temptation to check my emails.
My sole trace of work was my MX Anywhere mouse, and only because it positively contributed towards my efforts to scroll Netflix by working on my duvet cover.
While I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’ve transformed into a country way of life, my week in the suburbs has taught me the importance of taking a break and being adaptable, both for my wellbeing and for my work.
If and when I do return to the office, it will be safe in the knowledge that I can just as easily return to a more flexible way of working.
Improve your working from home set up with the Logitech MX Anywhere 3.