During these strange times of COVID-19, working from home is becoming our new normal. Once things return to normal some businesses may even opt for a remote working setup on a more permanent basis.
While working from home may sound like a dream come true, if you are used to working in an office it can take a little bit of time to get used too. Working remotely brings both work and home-life together under one roof, which can take time for both you and your family to adjust too. It also opens up hundreds of distractions that would not normally be found in an office environment.
Follow our simple tips to make the most of your new working arrangements:
Have the right tools & technology
Aside from the obvious computer and a VPN connection, it is important to make sure you have the right tools and technology to do your job. This includes software authorised by your organisation which will allow you to complete your everyday tasks and communicate with team members and clients.
To successfully work remotely it is also important to have a reliable internet connection which you can connect to. This will improve video and online communication, reducing embarrassing broken and crackly conference calls. Not only is a poor internet connection annoying, but it can be rather time-consuming when trying to convey a message.
Have a designated working space
If possible you should have a designated space where you can work on a daily basis. This should be clutter-free and incorporate ergonomics, a table or desk with a supportive chair is preferable. Try to select somewhere away from the sofa or your bedroom, this will help to decrease distractions and reduce disruption to your sleeping pattern. A top tip is to select somewhere which features natural light and some fresh air, both will help to wake you up so you are ready to go!
Keep up a routine
It can be easy for routine to quickly slip away and before long you are sitting on the sofa with your laptop wearing a onesie! This isn’t productive or professional, it is important to remember that you are doing is a real job and your routine should reflect that. Stick to your normal hygiene routine, shower, do your hair and dress to impress.
Creating a daily list with a goal in mind can be beneficial when managing your time. This way you can ensure that you are focused on achieving your goals and not wasting time completing time-wasting tasks and procrastinating.
Communicate with your team often and make sure it is clear, remember that it is hard to convey the tone via just email. If you manage a team be specific and clarify expectations, using the SMART acronym can be helpful when setting employee tasks and goals.
Specific – Your goal should be direct and meaningful
Measurable – You should be able to track progress or success
Attainable – The goal should be realistic and attainable with current tools
Relevant – Make sure the goal aligns to the employee’s role and job description
Time-based – Set your goal a deadline
Finally, if you are ever unclear, always communicate and ask questions. When it comes to home working the term “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply!
Be ready for your next video conference
Even if you are not a fan of being on camera, it is a great way to still feel part of the team and keep connected. This more human way of communicating can reduce feelings of isolation and can also help you continue to build those important work relationships.
Always be presentable and ready for your next video conference, this includes both your physical appearance and the surrounding environment. We have all read those embarrassing stories where people have been caught out by their colleagues while on camera, no one wants to see a pile of your dirty washing or worse!
We have all heard the phrase being in “The Zone” It is important to reduce distractions as much as possible and eradicate things that will distract your productivity and workflow. Below are a few quick tips to help you stay in “The zone”.
I know it is tempting to put that extra load of washing in the machine or just run the duster around, but keep the chores outside of your working hours!
Stick to working in your designated working area
Switch off the TV, I repeat Netflix will not help you when working from home. Instead switch on the radio, some music or a podcast which will help to increase focus and motivation
Unless you are waiting for an urgent call switch your phone on to do not disturb
Restrict your social media usage and browsing time, both can eat into precious hours of productivity
Don’t get into the habit of taking extra long lunches or having a 20-minute catch up on the phone with friends and family
Schedule a break
When working from home it is easy to feel like you should make yourself available all hours of the day. However, this isn’t the case and it is important to take breaks away from the screen and schedule aside time for your lunch. At the end of the day, it is important to make sure you sign off and make sure you continue to balance your home and work life, even when they are both under the same roof.
Get the heart pumping
Whether it be before you start work for the day, during your break or in the evening, it is important to make sure you take the time to stretch and get your heart pumping. No, I don’t mean by sending a scary email or your next presentation to the whole company! Staying indoors hunched behind a computer screen can make us feel lethargic and tired. Some gentle exercise can help to stimulate the body and the mind.
Even during times when it is impossible to get to the gym, there is plenty we can do to improve our physical and mental well-being. You might even get your next big idea while taking a relaxing jog or an online yoga session.