Fiona’s Corona Diaries (24th April)

Yesterday I felt as flat as an apple cake

Not a term I would use often but as my apple cake had just turned out like a nutmeg flavoured custard frittata, it seemed apt. I am not very good with recipes, either for baking or for life. If there were instructions for life somewhere, I must have lost them along the way. This isn’t really a problem because any set of instructions that included something as bizarre as coronavirus lockdown would take up far too much room in a cupboard (we didn’t have databases when I was born).

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Fiona’s Corona Diaries (22nd April)

On the topic of lockdown health

A recent survey by the Institute of Employment Studies suggested that during the initial fortnight of lockdown a third of people in the UK were eating more and exercising less than they usually do. This does not appear to have been the case in our house. Despite regular biscuit bakes and outdoor sausage sizzles, we have been suffering from mysterious (but welcome) weight loss.

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Fiona’s Corona Diaries (1st April)

Once-a-day walking

Another day in paradise (thanks Phil). Before I start, please can I check; it is Wednesday isn’t it? Today I made a discovery I should have made years ago. I can walk to the beach from my front door. For a keen walker this is a serious confession but every morning for the last three years I have driven to the sea, had my chilly swim, then driven home again. The irony hasn’t escaped me that it has taken a restriction on time outside to make me want to abandon the car. Twenty minutes down the hill, thirty minutes back up and approximately six minutes in the water (well it’s only just April). Here are today’s Corona Diaries updates…

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Fiona’s Corona Diaries (31st March)

Before I start I would like to point out that my use of my ‘telling off’ name  above doesn’t not give anybody (apart from my mother of course) liberty to call me anything other than Fi. It is unfortunate (unless I am writing limericks) to have a name that rhymes with a deadly killer virus but that’s life, and at least my name isn’t Dovid.

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5 tips on Choosing the Right Freelance Writing Job from an Online Jobs Board

If you don’t want to use up precious writing (and money earning) time seeking out freelance writing clients and pitching ideas to them, then online jobs boards can be a quick and easy way to find writing jobs that allow you to work from home. Continue reading “5 tips on Choosing the Right Freelance Writing Job from an Online Jobs Board”

How To Set Up a Home Office

52% of all UK businesses registered with Companies House are operated from the owner’s home. That’s 2.75 million home businesses and a significant proportion of our UK economy. Setting up a home office is an exciting prospect but, whatever your business idea, it is important to ensure that you have a space in which you know you will be able to concentrate, work and get on with being successful. We have 10 top tips to help you set up your home office and work from home in comfort.

1. Choose an office space you will enjoy being in

The simple truth is that if you don’t like a space, you won’t be relaxed in it and if you aren’t relaxed you won’t be able to work productively.

2. Be generous with your home office desk

Your desk doesn’t have to be expensive (it doesn’t even have to be a desk) but it does need to be suitable for purpose. That tiny table in the corner may make your office look big but will it really allow you adequate room to spread out your laptop, diary, paperwork and that vital cup of tea?

3. Spend a bit on your office chair

Chances are you will be spending a fair amount of time at your desk, particularly in the early days of your new business. Your quality of work will suffer if your sitting position is poor. Take some time to shop around for an office chair, it doesn’t have to be brand new but it does need to provide effective support for your back. The best seating posture is a relaxed angle of 100 to 110 degrees.

4. Think about lighting for your home office

Your eyes are going to work hard in the early days of your business so give them a chance by ensuring that the lighting in your home office is suitable for purpose. Lighting shouldn’t be too bright especially if it is causing glare on your screen, for this reason you should position your computer screen so that it isn’t directly in front of a window.

5. Build plenty of storage into your home office design

It has been suggested that clutter in a room can lead to clutter in our heads. Whilst this is not true for everybody, having a tidy office is efficient and can save precious work time.

6. Ensure adequate internet connections

Few of us can run our businesses with no internet access and we all get fed up with slow broadband and lagging websites. This sort of frustration adds to workplace stress (something you especially want to avoid if your workplace is also your home). Before you locate your home office spend some time comparing connection speeds in different rooms.

7. Add a bit of nature to your home office

Being outside is good for us and, whilst you may not have much time when you are first setting up your home business, you can get the feeling of being in the great outdoors in your home office. Make sure that you have windows that you can open and add some plants to give greenery and additional oxygen.

8. Consider noise factors

When choosing which room to use as a home office you should think about noises in and around the room that might disturb you. If you are next to the kitchen will you feel fidgety when the family comes in to use it?

You should also make sure that you have some provision for music or podcasts in your home office. Most of us don’t want to work to music all of the time but it can help when we are feeling a bit tired.

9. Ring the changes

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the fact that you are working from home. Whilst your home office should be your main home base, enjoy your ‘home worker’ status by taking your work elsewhere from time to time. If you are baking a cake work in the kitchen and enjoy the aromas from the oven, if you feel the need for fresh air then head out to the garden. On a rainy day, you might even want to consider sending a few emails from the greenhouse!

10. Enjoy your home office

Take a moment each day to appreciate the fact that you are working from home, that you can have your lunch whenever you want to, that you can start at 5 and finish at 3 and that you can go to the loo as many times a day as necessary. If 55% of offices are at home, that leaves 45% that are not, we at Fi Darby Freelance know which we prefer.

 

What is the gig economy?

The gig economy has been getting some big news headlines over the last few months. If you have been reading the news, you will have heard the company names ‘Uber’ and ‘Deliveroo’ because they have both found themselves in disagreement with employees over workers’ rights. Both Uber and Deliveroo are big players in the gig economy, but what exactly is it?

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The gig economy – the pros and cons of working from home

Freelance writing isn’t the only way you can earn money working from home. The ‘gig economy’ has become so important in the US that it even found a place in the presidential race. In London alone there are over 30,000 Uber drivers and we are starting to see interesting court cases about employment law and employee rights.

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