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To mark one month since the COVID-19 lockdown, we asked four of our colleagues to comment on how they're coping with #lifeinlockdown. Keep reading to find out their top tips, tricks and advice on working from home.

Chalene Chandrasiri - UK Sales Manager

I’ve been trying to keep a “normal” routine as best I can. Making sure my working space is set up and having a coffee ready to hand first thing each morning.

Normally I would only WFH one day a week and the other days I would be out and about visiting customers, OEM partners, consultants, or at shows & events. So I now spend time morning calling those contacts to have a chat about how they are getting on - it is very important to me to keep up the contact. Next it’s on to emails, admin and internal calls. I do like to have some music on in the background, music always makes me smile and feel good, which really helps with my working day in lockdown.
Evening walks have become a must, if the English weather allows and I’ve seen some lovely things on my walks in the local area that I didn’t know existed! Every day is a learning day 😊
One thing I do love to do is cooking, so doing a lot of it now. I’m always looking for new dinner ideas online, or by speaking to others about what they are making. One thing I didn’t do as much is baking, so while in lockdown I have been able to enhance my baking skills…well I think I have, as I seem to be eating every last bite of everything I’m baking!

Gwenealle Villette - Director of Sales, France

Well to describe my everyday life since the lock down:
I think it’s important to follow strict rules when working at home but for us in France this is not so much difficult because we are used to work from home. Most importantly, I start early every day with a strong black coffee. The most difficult part of lockdown is that I miss my customers. I am used to work a lot and suddenly I must stay home. Of course I am still in contact with all of them but I am looking forward to visit them again and have a nice lunch together again! The lock down is however a good opportunity to strengthen partnership and elaborate targets for the rest of the year. A different way to work and I try to get the most benefit of it. I also have the strong support of my cats that love to participate to the Webinars with me!!

Michaela Hirsch - Director of Sales, Germany

The best thing about working from home? 
Nobody looks at you stupidly when you spoon out the Nutella jar.
The worst thing about working from home? 
Nobody looks at you stupidly when you spoon out the Nutella jar.

I am usually on tour at least 3 days a week, I have appointments with OEM partners, distribution partners or with system integrators. All of these dates are currently only taking place virtually. This situation is new to me. Until a few days ago, I didn't even have a suitable headset.

Working from home is not a massive change for me, because I also do my office works from my home office in normal times. But, of course I miss the face-to-face communication with the partners. However, until recently I had the home office for me alone, now I have to share it. But has the advantage that I get a great meal every lunchtime.

What is also new for me, every day now starts with an exactly the same routine (but I start to like it). So, the day starts with a cup of coffee and a small but healthy breakfast. After a short phone call with my colleagues, there is time for e-mails, processing project enquiries and talking to partners and customers. During this time I cannot listen music or news, I am absolutely focused on tasks. I am definitely not multi-tasking capable. Nevertheless, I try to take a short break once an hour, which unfortunately I don't always succeed. But as soon as I leave the chair, my small, fluffy roommate takes over. Despite the current situation, I can't complain about boredom. On the contrary, there is a lot more organizational stuff to do, virtual meetings need time for preparations.

I like to structure my day according to priorities as much as possible.
1. Coffee and healthy breakfast
2. Project-/ Daily business
3. Prepare for upcoming conference calls or webinars
4. Organizational issues and internal communication

What I find positive about this daily routine is that I concentrate much better on a healthy diet.
One proverb said “Pay attention to your actions because they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character”
Of course, this new daily routine will not change my personality, but it supports a healthier lifestyle 😊

Mike Clayton - Director of Sales, UK

I’ve been working at home in varying degrees for over 20 years now for so the current lockdown has probably had less of an impact on my working day than others. Ordinarily I’d be visiting customers or OEM partners at least 3 days a week so many of these meetings are now “virtual”. I don’t have any children, so the house is perfectly quiet during the day, which is ideal for the increased Teams and Webex calls that I am now making.

The day starts with a cup of tea and a call round the UK Pro Team (or via our WhatsApp group) to check everyone is OK and to see what requests have come in overnight. It never ceases to amaze me that you can finish work in the evening with a clear inbox and by the morning lots of new requests for information or product details have come in, from customers filling in tenders and quotes late into the night.

I have the radio on as background and to keep an ear on the news, although my daily treat is PopMaster quiz on Radio 2 at 10:30 (mid-teens score usually!). I keep physically active during the day by regular trips up and down the stairs for tea or coffee. (has anyone else noticed just how much tea/coffee you drink when working from home?!)

The enforced lockdown has actually enabled me to spend longer talking to customers and distribution colleagues than normal, and whilst not always directly work related, I find it healthy to keep up the contact and use the time to discover more about peoples interests, and how they’re coping with working from home.

I’ve also taken to doing some online courses, many of which are free, so hopefully at the end of this I’ll come out of it a little better educated,  albeit with a caffeine addiction!

Stay safe everyone; I’m off to put the kettle on.

Justin Joy - Senior Sales Manager for Middle East & India

I like to stick to a morning routine, I don't necessarily dress up, but I make sure to get into comfortable clothing and one weird thing I do is put on my formal shoes while working from home! Make sure to get my coffee and switch on the news early in the morning to start my day. I follow the below steps to ensure my day is productive;

1. Make a list of emails that needs to be followed up on

2. Considering the vastness of my region I make sure to communicate with 1 Key partner, 1 project holder and 1 OEM daily.

3. Take short breaks

4. Make sure to call customers during high productivity period which is usually from early afternoon to evening after customers have finished their internal calls, I also usually save my harder tasks during these time periods.

5. Use music while doing emails.

6. On a personal level, they say 21 days of anything can make a habit. I am working on quitting smoking and using this time of working from home to kick the bud! Slowly but surely…

Stefan KrΓΌger - Director of Sales, Austria/Switzerland & Italy

I am doing quite well in the time of isolation, of course I miss the social contacts very much. And the variety that comes with it.

Well, how do I arrange myself in this time with the present situation which concerns us all?

I would like to mention a quote:

"If you want to change the world, you have to start by making your bed," said Navy Seal Admiral William H. McRaven. "You will have completed the first task of the day," the admiral said. "You'll feel a little pride, and that will encourage you to tackle another task, and another, and another."

And this is exactly how I start my day in isolation. I have my schedule in the morning and always sit in front of my PC at the same time and start working. What I also find important is that I dress as if I were going to an appointment. Because we use modern communication including video conferencing. And since we already have very few social contacts, we should be aware of them by turning on the camera. Some people don't do that with the explanation that they are not dressed properly or their hair is not done. I think that's a pity, because I don't go to my appointments in my pyjamas ;)

And so I work my daily to do's off which I have imposed on myself. Since we use a modern sales tool it is of course very easy to organize. If you work in structures. If you keep this self-discipline it should also work well.

And if something should go wrong or it doesn't work out the way I imagined it, I got a very nice anger toy from my daughter :)

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