Working from home is a real skill. Whilst many people enjoy the lack of commute and the ability to work in their pyjamas, many struggle with distractions and the ability to keep away from the fridge.

Here, we speak to a few Bucks Biz residents to find out how they've got on during lockdown and why they're desperate to get back to normal life in the office.

Lack of space reduces productivity (and positivity)

We spoke to Chris Edwards at the Instrument Factory a few months ago and he was one of the first Bucks Biz residents to return once the lockdown had eased. Chris benefits from having a distinction between his home and work for his mental health.

“I have always preferred to have a proper place to ‘go to work’ as getting up and going out every day is good for my mental health – it makes me feel more positive and productive. Unfortunately, during lockdown, I was renovating my house, so the studio space that I had set up wasn’t exactly as I needed it and the sense of chaos at home didn’t help with my mood. I was so relieved when it became safe to go back to the music studio in my serviced office as it helped me to get more done in the day. Plus, I used the walk to the office as part of my allocated daily exercise, so that was an extra benefit.”

Lack of contact with friends and colleagues at work

A very close team, the guys at Tango Check are missing each other a lot. Founder of Tango Check Amanda Holland has enjoyed more time with her family, but wants to get back to 'normal' when possible:  "I miss my colleagues, I miss the buzz of a busy office and I even miss my commute, it was the only time of the day I had a whole 30 minutes peace and quiet!"

To pass the time at home, Amanda is doing a 30 day set of physical challenges related to her clients at Gatwick Airport. If you'd like to nominate Amanda for a challenge, visit her Linked In profile.

Amanda's colleague Emma also misses her daily commute as it was her time to listen to podcasts that aren't suitable for little ears! "I miss the ladies in the office, I miss Pedro! I can't wait to come back to work."

If coming back to work isn't possible, you might want to follow these 5 tips for boosting productivity:

1. Plan ahead. Be prepared for your daily tasks and challenges and write a to do list for the day, starting with the 3-5 most important tasks. If you prefer, you can incorporate this planning time at the end of the day instead.

2. Stop regularly. Taking breaks is particularly important if you’re working with a heavy workload or in front of a screen. It just won’t be helpful for you to sit and push through a huge list of tasks without stopping, as you will probably skimp on some as you get more and more exhausted. Allocate several times in your day when you can switch your mind to ‘off’ for 10 minutes. Head into the garden - but move away from wherever you are working.

3. Listen to music. Some people can’t work with music, others find it very motivating. Low-volume music, especially classical music, can be useful when it comes to helping you function and drowning out other noises and distractions at home.

4. Don’t be too email-responsive. When a new email notification pops up leave it until you’ve finished your current tasks, don’t allow yourself to be distracted or you might find that you never get to the end of what you’re trying to do. Allocate a time to check your email and wait until you’ve finished what you’re doing, even if it’s a message from someone you really want to hear from.

5. Stay hydrated and eat lunch!. Keep a bottle of water next to you at all times and try to drink from it regularly throughout the day. You’ll look and feel better if you’re properly hydrated and it will help with your concentration too. Take a lunch break every day, even if it’s just 15 minutes and use it to get away from your work mindset.