Schedules and WFH success


I'm a strong believer that there's not one single correct way to work from home, so it's great to see people sharing what works for them. Let's talk about the timeline of your work from home day. Does it look like a day in the office would? Do you stick to the same tasks at the same time every day? Or is it more fluid "go with the flow" depending on other family commitments and what you are currently working on?


I'll check in on Teams and triage my emails in the morning from my phone, while getting the kids ready for school, to see if anything new needs my urgent attention. If I don't have any meetings before 10am, I'll drop the kids off at school then go to the gym.


Once I'm home, it's team conversations and quick tasks (and good coffee), then settling into longer/harder focus tasks in the middle of the day. I mostly try and take a 30-45min lunch break, then carry on with focus tasks until school pickup.


Then when the kids are home, it's lighter/easier tasks or some MS Learn modules - things that can handle any interruptions once the kids are settled into their own homework tasks.


At night, I'm more flexible about what time the home office door gets shut (with dinnertime being a hard stop) and whether I'll return to any work after the kids go to bed. That call is made based on deadlines, my workload for the week and my energy levels.


How does your day roll when you work from home?  


6 Replies

My WFH life has definitely challenged me to be more vigilant about managing my time @Sonia Cuff! I felt this week has run away from me so I'm putting in place changes next week to see how it goes. Feel free to try these at home! :lol:

  • Blocking 90min in my calendar for lunch and email. I don't normally have a 90min lunch, sadly I do work while I eat! But now I have to cook my own lunch. That in itself is a much deserved screen break!
  • I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel my work day looks like this. Making sure I have time for email/notifications allows me to manage that pesky inbox.
  • Writing things down. With a pen. I know that in this digital age, this might seem strange, but taking physical notes gives me a distraction free way of prioritising the big things I need to work on, or jotting down that brilliant idea that shouldn't go away.
  • Taking control of my afternoons. From 2:00-3:30PM I'm going to trial phone-only meetings. It will give me a much needed break from screens and a chance to go for a walk!

Would love to hear your new practices! Tell us what you're experimenting with.

I will so copy the "only phone meetings" thats great! I´ve have done walking meetings previously, and thats something you could do with a phone meeting as well. As long as weather and headset allows.

 @Sonia Cuff My WFH and WFO schedule is very different tbh. I find myself to be way more efficient at home, but still remain very unstructued, which is something I try to improve.

I usually ensure that my family gets to kindergarden and work in the morning, and then I "go to work" at usually 8 AM, but thats dependent on the schedule for my wife and daughter. I then try to focus on specific tasks for 1-2 hours straigth, disconnecting from everything else. Phone, e-mail, social media etc. That works for me. I do take lunch, and usually try to take a run, gym or something like that during that time.


Afternoon is similar to before lunch, but I usually start by clearing e-mails after lunch. I have a hard stop to pick up my daugther at 4-5 PM, spend time with my family until 7-9 PM (with exceptions for MVP/PG calls) and then if needed I do community work or catch up on work after 9 PM. I usually sleep well, so I find that I dont need as much sleep, but prioritizes that when needed.

When I was working remote I used to have a similar routine.

Get up early, triage the email, get my son off to creche / later school
Then get in carry out any tasks I had outstanding.
Contact my tech lead in the US when he got in late my morning.
Then head to the gym and lunch.
All my afternoons were all conference calls. We did not have PC video capability back then.
We did have MSN messenger and I had a dedicated work connection direct to my home which was awesome. No messing with dial up. ;)

@Anna Chu I love the idea of a phone only / walking meeting! Thanks for that suggestion.

I'm officially home-based, but as you'll read, that isn't entirely work from home. I'll start with what my office-life is like.

My office schedule is usually more complex, because it will be potentially anywhere in the UK, but when it's in my employer's office, it's because there's a good reason to meet in person with people.

Usually that means there will be an in-person meeting with a customer at some point during the day, so I'm working at a hot desk for the remainder of the time. As in-person meetings often have a little time before to meet and greet and say goodbyes I'll need to block time either side. If the meeting is at a client's office in London then I might need to block 30 minutes either side to account for travel, too.

The remainder of the day usually falls foul of planning as if I were working from home - and everything invariably seems to take longer with regular distractions from the task at hand.

Like many in the UK, working more than your 40 hour week is unusual, so there's no pressure to be first in and last out, but because of the distance to the office I often end up working longer hours including working on the train journey in.

Working from home the day is different - I'm in better control of my day and can reasonably confidently plan what I need to do. Important pressures come up that need changes to the schedule, but it's far easier to put on a pair of headphones, switch on DnD on Teams and focus for a few hours to get critical work done. Some days though are back to back meetings. Some are video, some are audio only. I never feel any pressure to use video and mix it up depending on what we are working on. If it's reviewing something on screen, then there's little value in video sometimes anyway.. and a good chat doesn't need video either. Video is primarily useful in three or more way meetings when you rely on visual cues to see people's emotions. Audio only makes it easier to get some steps, walk around the house a little and so on.

The type of day changes as well. If I'm down in London at the office, then I'm out before 7AM and miss the kids going off to school and arrive home at sometimes after 7PM after they've had dinner. But when I'm working from home I can get them both up, do breakfast and the school runs and be back at my home office before 9AM, ready for the day.

When working from home it's important to put aside time for lunch like you would in the office. My wife works from home too, so we often grab lunch together, though don't get time to go out for lunch so often as with an hour lunch it's much quicker to make something and then sit down and have a catch up.

Although my working day is technically shorter when working from home (because I don't have to travel two hours or more each way) I actively work a longer day. But if I start at 9AM I'll do my best not to work past 6PM.

Other things - around 5:50PM the kids will begin to enter the home office, as I frantically finish for the day demand attention. It's both lovely and frustrating And on a quiet day I'll take the opportunity to have a shorter lunch and do the school pickup too. Invariably though the most common time for afternoon meetings seems to be around 3PM, so it's a rarity.

After hours I set quiet hours in Teams on mobile. I won't - unless there's a good reason - go "back to work", and rarely check or answer emails. There's only so much you can do in the working day. The laptop is shut down and switched off until the morning.