THOUSANDS more people are going to find themselves working from home as businesses take precautions against the spread of the coronavirus.

For many, it will be the first experience of working without office conversation and a boss watching over them.

They could learn from the experience of veteran home workers.

Matt Desmier, founder of the Poole brand agency Wise Old Uncle, has been working from home for eight years. He said: “Your employer wants to trust that the job’s going to get done and you want your boss to trust you to do it. It’s a two-way street so between you, you need to clearly define what’s expected.

“This might take a little trial and error to get it right, but have this conversation first. It’s really hard to have it after the fact.”

He urged people to plan well, prioritising what needs doing and estimating how long each task will take – and to practise discipline.

“It’s easy to become distracted, so you’ll have to work hard to stay focused. Realistically it’s really hard to stay focused for any longer than 40 minutes at a time, so set a timer and prepare a reward. Take a break and have a cup of tea, a biscuit, or a quick flick through social media – although beware of that one, as all the social media platforms are designed to suck time away from you,” he added.

He urged people to rewards themselves for achievement and to keep talking to people, using phone calls and messaging apps to keep connected with colleagues rather than just email.

“This is the hidden woe of working from home. You can become very isolated. In normal times, there are numerous networks such as the Indie Work Club, You Are The Media or the Cowork Collective that bring people together. But if you’re quarantined, self-imposed or not, it’s not so easy to meet up, so utilise online networks such as,” he said.

“This is a group of nearly 2,000 home workers all over the world, who are all in the same metaphorical boat as you. They share the good times and the bad times with no judgement and there is always someone online to talk to.”

Bournemouth freelance copywriter Emma Page, who has been working from home for six years, said many people did not have a dedicated home office. “So you need to make the best of what you’ve got. I work perched cross-legged in a large red armchair with my laptop on my lap,” she said.

“I also work at my dining table and sometimes lying on my sofa. The problem is I’m no good at sitting straight in a chair. The key is to have good back support and be comfortable.”

She added: “You need to get up, walk around and stretch every hour. The perfect way to do this is to go and make a coffee. While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, stick the laundry on. All the bending and lifting is enough to shake the stiffness from your joints.

“At lunchtime, you are completely allowed to watch an episode of Parks and Recreation or any other show you love. I recommend scheduling a meeting for 1.30 or 2pm to stop you getting sucked into the TV for the afternoon though.”

She said the temptation to snack could be a freelancer’s downfall. “So, buy a bag of carrots, peel them all at once and try to have one at least every other snack,” she said.

She also urged people to work near a large window if possible, to help their body clock, and find a good spot near the Wi-Fi for video calls.

“Keep at least one living space work free and never, ever work in your bedroom. You need somewhere you can go at the end of the day, some kind of demarcation between your new work space and your space to relax and unwind,” she added.