Where I WFH: Claire Beaumont, Head of PR, Igniyte

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Claire Beaumont is Head of PR at Igniyte, the online reputation management experts.

The Leeds-based company was recently in the news for offering advice to Coronation Street on a recent storyline featuring Dev Alahan and his daughter Asha.

Here she gives us an insight into her work-from-home set-up.

1. Where in the house do you work?

We created a dedicated space in the corner of the living room for my workspace. Previously I'd been working at the kitchen table, which wasn't ideal. Plus my husband has also been working at home since the beginning of lockdown - so I needed a space separately from him.

2. Paint a picture for us of the view from your window

I live in a listed building in Halifax, on a very quiet street. It's not an overly exciting view out the windows - as it's just more terraced houses. We do have a small yard out the front and back - just enough space for a BBQ and for the kids to play with the ball a little bit. We've been definitely enjoying the sunny weather.

3. If you have one, can you talk us through your home-working daily routine?

For me, it's super important to have a routine. I still set the alarm for 6.30am, and get up and have a shower and get dressed like I'm going to work. It helps me get into the mindset of working effectively at home. I start each day like always, checking and coverage my clients have received and checking emails that have come in overnight - as I have global clients.

I co-parent, so for part of the week, my 10-year old is here. I use the time before he gets up to plan what we'll be doing for home-schooling, which sometimes goes to plan, but not always. An early start means that I can be more flexible with my day if I need to work something with him, or if he needs more support on anything.

I start each week by writing a list of everything that needs to be done that week. Then I choose two or three important things each day to achieve. It stops me from getting overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do in some weeks.

I've started running since working from home, so on a lunchtime, I go for a run. It means that I get some fresh air, and use the time to listen to podcasts - which helps me switch off for 45 minutes a few times a week. The a quick lunch, and back to work.

The afternoons are normally reserved for client meetings or team catch-ups. We've been doing weekly virtual happy hours with the team, where we just have a catch up about non-work related news, and share a glass of wine.

I try and finish at a relatively sensible time, which doesn't always happen, as we seem to have been so busy in the last couple of months. We always sit together to have an evening meal, and continue to binge-watch Netflix or Amazon.

Claire has created a dedicated space in the living room of her listed Halifax home

4. Which tools and technology do you rely on when working from home?

I tend to move between a variety of tools depending on client requirements. Zoom, Teams and Hangouts have all been great. We've got WhatsApp groups to talk about work and non-work related topics, and we make sure we share silly things we've found on the internet. 

I'm a big fan of a paper notebook for writing my to-do list, but I also like Trello for keeping specific lists about individual projects. 

5. What do you miss most about working from an office?

Other than having a chat with colleagues, I miss a morning coffee and cinnamon swirl from Pret. It was a weekly treat, and made the day start off on the right foot! 

I do not miss the trains and Northern Rail.

6. What tips do you have for increasing productivity while working from home?

Create a routine - and stick to it. Whether you start work early, or late, create something that works best for you. And get dressed for work, even if that is changing out of PJs to comfy loungewear, a change of clothing just helps put you in a different mindset. 

7. Will you looking to work from home more in the future?

Yes I think so. I like the extra time that not commuting gives me. I'm an early riser, so this works for me. It offers the kind of flexibility I need with having my son at home, and the school pick up will be easier when we start getting back to normal. 

8. How do you think the workplace will change in the future?

I think more workplaces will let people work from home more, rather than coming into the office. Offices have had to adapt quickly to a new way of working, but it can only be a good thing. Offering more flexibility around working hours is something that will benefit mental health - as it means we won't have the worry about commuting and sitting at desks for exactly 9am.