Although some workplaces have started welcoming back their essential workers – and, of course, our amazing key workers have been working throughout – lots of us are still doing our jobs from home, including many Slimming World Head Office staff.
This has definitely brought some challenges, whether it’s juggling childcare and teaching at the school of mum and dad, struggling with the new routine, getting to grips with technology, searching for lunchtime inspiration (I’ve had to hide my toastie machine!) or just missing our usual chats by the kettle.
However, our teams were determined to find a way to continue supporting members and Consultants, whether that’s from a dining table, kitchen counter, garden, bedroom or – like our campaigns and planning manager Clare – from a laptop balanced on a shoebox balanced on a wobbly side table!
I took full advantage of an excuse to catch up with a few of the many Slimming World staff members who are currently remote working, to bring you their top working-from-home tips:
Working-from-home tip 1: Keep to a daily routine. Having a plan can really give focus to your day, and you’ll get a sense of satisfaction when you cross things off your to-do list.
Amy works in the Slimming World PR team, helping our Consultants to share the inspirational weight loss stories from their groups. Keeping a regular routine has been key for her. She says:
“At first, I found working from home difficult and felt like my world had turned upside down. But working out a new structure and daily routine has made things much easier.
My top tip is to get outside for a walk, run or cycle before or after your working day. I’ve dug out my old bike from the garage! If I set a time – and stick to it – it gives me space to unwind and helps to separate my working day from home time (and is much nicer and healthier than my usual commute). I’ve been listening to podcasts on long walks and runs to help my mind switch off, too – and I’ve discovered the joy of a good jigsaw puzzle!”
Working-from-home tip 2: Make time for proper meals. When we’re busy and peckish, it’s tempting to grab whatever’s closest. Eating well, including plenty of fruit and veg (where possible), will help keep you healthy, satisfied and less prone to emotional eating.
Clare (of wobbly side table fame) helps to plan our advertising campaigns. As you’d expect, organisation skills are one of her strong points, and applying this to food has helped her stay on track during lockdown:
“At Slimming World, we’re lucky to have head chef Ruth and her amazing kitchen team serving up healthy, Food Optimised meals every day. This made it easy to stay within my target weight. Obviously lockdown changed that, and before I knew it, I’d gained a stone!
Finding myself eating a Crunchie for breakfast was the turning point – I joined a My Slimming World Virtual Group and started getting organised with my food. As my role is so busy, planning for the week and preparing as much as I can in advance really helps.
I’m feeling so much better about myself and am really enjoying the food that I’m cooking – although I am missing Ruth’s chilli!”
Working-from-home tip 3: Find the positive in every day. Whether it’s flowers in the garden, discovering a really tasty new recipe or relaxing in the bath – take time out to appreciate the good things.
On the content team, Nic has been busy adding lots of useful features to the member website – including how to make meals stretch further (helping you to avoid the supermarkets for longer), ideas for indoor Body Magic and lots of motivational tools to help you leave lockdown feeling good. Her extra (furry) family member has done a paw-some job at keeping spirits high:
“We collected our new puppy just before lockdown, which was perfect timing as it meant that we’ve all been at home to properly settle him into the family. And settle in he has! He loves his daily walks and playing with the kids in the garden – and any low moments are soon solved by a cuddle with Buddy. We can’t imagine life without him now.”
Working-from-home tip 4: Keep active. Whether it’s a walk, a bounce on your garden trampoline, a bike ride or something else… a bit of Body Magic can work wonders for your mood.
Our social media whizz, Ashleigh, is busy liking, sharing and tweeting tasty Slimming World recipes and lots of inspiration from our members. Her team is being kept busy by the tasty entries for this week’s Eat Well At Home competition (if you fancy dishing up an entry of your own, you’ll find details on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Ashleigh says:
“Now my commute is just a short walk from my bedroom to the dining room, I’ve become more aware of how easy it is to be sedentary when you’re using a laptop all day. I try to make the most of my free time by finding fun ways to keep active.
My family members and I created a circuit with different bits of at-home workout equipment dotted around the garden. It really helped to boost my mood and I enjoyed a change from the daily walk. 😊”
Working-from-home tip 5: Stay in touch. It’s not just the tea round you’ll be missing by now! Take opportunities to chat to your colleagues. Make a video call, if you can (like the gorgeous – and very smiley! – social and PR team members featured at the top of this post), to get that face-to-face connection and feeling of togetherness.
Laura works in the Slimming World field support team, helping our Consultants to offer the very best service to our members. She says:
“The main challenge for me is not being able to see my teams’ smiley faces in person everyday – but they know I’m at the end of the phone if they need me.
As well as checking in for work purposes, we try to have regular catch-ups just to see how everyone is doing generally, chat about how we’re spending our time out of work and share tips on how to keep busy and healthy. We have members of the team that are painting, getting crafty, creating workouts and starting Couch to 5Ks running challenges – amazing!”
Working-from-home tip 6: Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about what you can’t achieve – we’re in such an unusual situation, our best is all we can do. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and to make time each day for non-work activities.
Jen, a digital production manager, has been busy digging out recipes that will be useful at the moment – simple dishes that use store-cupboard staples, versatile recipes where the ingredients can be swapped to suit what you have and meals that can be batch cooked (ideal for busy key workers) – and getting them on to the member website. Jen says:
“I’m married to a key worker, so I’m often left to manage work and childcare alone. I quickly realised that it just wasn’t possible to work with a lively, inquisitive one year old around, so I needed to work when Ryan was at home to take over. Thankfully Slimming World has been super-flexible with my hours and I’ve been swapping days off with other members of my team to help.”
Working-from-home tip 7: Take smart shortcuts. Many of us are juggling kids, homeschooling and other commitments alongside our usual working week. Remember that it’s impossible to do three things at once – and embrace any little hacks that make life easier.
Our public health manager and registered dietitian, Carolyn, is spinning lots of plates at the moment, working on menu plans and articles to support members, as well as working with the Royal College of Midwives to ensure that we provide the most up-to-date advice for our pregnant members and new mums. She has an amazing tip that I wish I’d have thought of when my boys were little – in fact, I might follow it for myself to help keep me out of the biscuit tin! She says:
“I’m homeschooling my two children alongside trying to work, and one thing that’s really helped is to prepare a snack pack for each of them in the morning, along with a jug of water/squash, which they can help themselves to whenever they like. It saves the ‘Mum can I have…’ questions every 10 minutes and they know that what’s in the box is their snacks for the day.”
Working-from-home tip 8: Make the most of the little wins. While working from home definitely has lots of challenges, it also has plenty of positives. Whether it’s a (much) shorter commute or, my favourite, the chance to peg the washing out when the sun is shining (and bring it in when it starts to rain!), making the most of little perks can help with those feelings of wellbeing.
Chris, our project delivery manager, has been working hard during lockdown to set up the new e-shop for online members. Like many of us, he’s firing up the barbecue on sunny days.
“The fact that I no longer have a commute means I’m ‘getting home’ much earlier. If the sun’s shining, we love eating in the garden – and the barbecue has become my best friend! My Slimming World spiced skewers went down a storm.”
Working-from-home tip 9: Draw clear lines between work and home. Try to mark the end of your work day with something to help you switch off – a late afternoon walk with the kids has become part of my daily routine.
Hannah is one of our super-organised project managers. She’s been working with our teams to bring members the best possible Slimming World experience during lockdown – including updating the website with information about My Slimming World Virtual Groups. She says:
“I like to get dressed like I’m going into the office – I just swap the shoes for slippers! I’m all about trying to differentiate between ‘work’ and ‘home’, so putting on a shirt is a must for me. I also take lots of tea breaks and have my lunch away from my screen, to give myself little rests throughout the day.
Talking to team members is a big part of my job and, as we’re all working around kids and other commitments, it can sometimes be difficult to find a time when everyone is available. We’re all in the same boat, though, so hearing children in the background really isn’t anything to worry about.
Above all, we need to be kind to ourselves and remember that there’s only so much we can do – there’s always tomorrow.”
Are you working from home? We’d love to hear any tips that you have for making this challenging time a bit easier. Or, if you’ve been inspired to try any of the tips from our busy Head Office staff, we’d love to know! You can email your tips and photos to the blog – or share on social using #theSlimmingWorldblog.
Slimming World is partnered with Public Health England’s Every Mind Matters campaign. You can find more working from home tips – and other resources to help manage your mental wellbeing here.