For the vast majority of us, business is far from usual in
the moment. As well as law firms, banks and companies around the
the world adjusts to this new normal of remote work, the IFLR team –
together with a number of editorial advisers and contacts – share
your best tips, tricks and anecdotes for working from home
Lizzie Meager, managing editor, IFLR & Practice
I swear by the Pomodoro
technique: set a timer for 25 minutes deep
concentration; you will be surprised how fast
goes. When it rings, set another timer for five minutes of
meaningless scrolling or looking out the window. Repeat until everyone
Your tasks are finished. It works best for large portions of work,
and the visible timer is important: try to keep it on
small window in the corner of your computer screen.
James Wilson, editor of commercial projects, IFLR
It is difficult to maintain professionalism when you are in
your home in your home clothes where you would normally be
totally informal I think I have to catch myself from being too
informal. There are many benefits of working from home:
personally, productivity is one, but work is not home and vice
vice versa You have to be very aware of that difference.
It also takes practice to be well configured; something i learned
a few years ago while working remotely in Cape
Town. I stayed with friends and researched Africa to
IFLR1000 at the moment. me
He routed all my calls through Skype, which I had to keep heading
above. I also had to keep the completed internet data going to a
supermarket to buy the data. I had a headset for calls. Me
friends had a pet rabbit that jumped everywhere,
even on the sofa where he worked.
One day, in the middle of an investigative call with a law firm,
the line suddenly cut in the middle of the sentence. I looked around,
checked the data, checked Skype, double checked the Internet,
Then I picked up the loose cable from my earpiece. The rabbit had
eaten clean through it. I had to get up, run out of the house, run
two blocks from the computer store, buy some new headphones and run back
– where I dialed again to resume the call. And there was
droppings all over the couch.
John Crabb, publisher of the Americas, IFLR & Practice
As someone who works at home fairly regularly and who has
I spent most of this year working from various AirBnBs
in South America: this situation has not come
as too much shock for the system.
Trying to emulate the stage of the office that you are
getting used as close as possible is important. I have a great
desktop with monitor and mouse and keyboard that connect to a
USB extension Connecting every morning feels almost exactly
the same as in the office, which is psychologically
Important for me. It’s tempting to lie down on the couch with the TV
on, but your productivity will definitely suffer.
For me, the biggest distraction is cleanliness. To ensure a
productive work day I make sure my house is spotless in the
late, otherwise I might find myself organizing things when
It should be working.
Karry Lai, Asia reporter, IFLR
Living in Hong Kong SAR, I have been working since
home since January. Training the mind to concentrate has been a great
thing for me I have a daily practice of hiking and yoga. I also
do an alternative nasal breathing technique (close a nostril,
breathe on the other side in 10 counts, close another
nostril, exhale the other side in 10 counts). Help me
focus, reduce stress and cleanse the nasal system.
Sui-Jim Ho, partner, Cleary Gottlieb Steen and Hamilton
and member of the IFLR editorial board
One thing that I have already found very useful is the video
calls. At times like this, it’s even more
important to stay connected to each other. Seeing
someone’s face can help us maintain something human
connection when we are trying to observe social distancing.
Liam Sharkey, Head of Business Development, IFLR &
My main advice would be to ignore the ring just before
calls. I live in a fairly busy area and once I opened the door
a minute before a call to someone who got lost and their phone
it had run out of battery. I invited her to charge her phone,
but it was kind of annoying to have a complete stranger sitting
the corner that faces the wall, listening to me speak privately
Florida equity attorneys for 20 minutes before leaving
Also, don’t buy bread. I’m putting on
through five loaves a week right now.
Jimmie Franklin, EMEA reporter, IFLR
Having a routine has been helpful to me. Get up on the
regular time, go for a walk or run, and be sure to bring
a lunch break and clearly structure your day. I have
I also found that it helps to turn off my phone. I know
not possible for everyone but
it helps a lot with concentration if
you are not tempted to scroll through Twitter to
Find the latest headlines about the pandemic.
Bradley Rice, Senior Associate, Ashurst
While I was on a conference call last week, I also did a
English writing exercise and grammar and spelling test with me
nine year old boy who is suddenly very interested in
what does dad do for work, and no, unfortunately I
you don’t have a home office or a spare room that
has no garbage or clothes drying that I
I can use to lock myself up. So my six year old wanted
color on my birthday card that you bought me on Monday, then my
two years wanted to listen to Baby Shark and Raa Raa while
I sit down and think about the operational resistance.
These are weird, unprecedented times, but
let’s be open and honest with everyone. If you
you want to make a conference call with me great but you might hear
or see the children. I prefer calls
it wasn’t around 5-7 p.m. since I’m drinking
The opportunity to eat with the family and read with the children.
Life goes on.
Roxanne Speight, Head of Subscription Sales, IFLR
Take the dog for a walk at 6.30 a.m. every day before
children wake up has been a lifesaver. I try to see it as me
journey – time to think about what I want to achieve and how
I will manage the day and of course get
some fresh air
Brie Lam, regulatory compliance consultant and member of
Practice Insight Editorial Board
First off, invest in a comfortable home office chair.
You’re going to spend a lot of time on it.
Then find a quiet space that allows you to focus.
It is particularly challenging during this crisis
since you may have spouses who also work from home, perhaps with
children too. Find the quietest possible space. Except that,
find a pair of quality ear plugs, preferably the shiny ones
of colors so that your family knows that you are not
Use telephone headsets for better call quality. I’ve been
amazed at the number of colleagues who are not
using headphones at home. Are cheap; collect
one up And remember to always put your phone on silent when
you are not the speaker on a conference call.
I have been on too many conference calls where
judicious use of the mute button would have kept others
conference call participants hear the dog bark or
The crying baby.
I also learned how important our appearance is
still is. We certainly put time and effort into ourselves
appearance in a business environment; the appearance on the camera is just
so important. When it comes to video conferencing, make sure
its lighting, webcam location and background are professional
YouTube videos like this can help you look better on
your video calls
Alice Tchernookova, reporter, Practice Insight
One thing that I think is really important is to define your
Clear workspace. It helps me to enter work mode. This is
especially important if you are isolated with your partner.
Make sure you know where each of you plans to work and respect
that. While it may be nice at first to spend more time
together it’s also important to have your own space and make
Ruari Ewing, Head of Primary Markets, International Capital
The main thing so far, apart from the need for a decent
internet connection, ideally a free room, and what is required
hardware: you are learning to work as a whole group, both
internally and externally, remotely. This has meant more stress
about the existing functionality with certain people who have to
catch up as well as reliability and adopt and learn how
to use new technology.
Discussion discipline is most important when
we’re communicating virtually so I would
recommend additional emphasis on good initial healing and propose
Initial ideas and structured agendas, rather than open ones
Find more content like this on
The IFLR coronavirus center.