From mid-March, many of us are likely to be working from home for longer periods than we normally would. What’s the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
To help you get the best from remote working, read our top tips for working from home.
Create a routine
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. Instead of going straight from bed to laptop, creating a morning routine – whether it’s a cup of tea and a book or getting some fresh air before going into ‘work mode’ – will help instil healthy habits.
Feel ready to face the day by getting dressed. There is nothing more effective than getting showered and ready to improve your state of mind and prepare yourself to start your working day.
Aim to go to bed and get up at the same times you would usually and schedule regular breaks throughout the day. Most importantly, get to the end of your working day and stop. Your personal time away from work is vital.
Define a workspace
If you’ve got a home office, your work here is done. If you haven’t, try to designate an area of your home as your new workspace (your bed is not recommended!). Find a place where you can concentrate and that is separate from the rest of your home. Try to set up a comfortable space, ideally in a quiet environment.
Wherever you are, it’s important that you’re working in a safe environment.
Maintain your work routine
Don’t forget your daily routine – especially now that you’re working from home.
- Align daily with your Manager / Team leader
- Plan regular meetings and checks in
- Give and request feedback
- Maintain client intimacy and contacts
- Be transparent about your working hours
- Maintain your social contacts and office chats virtually
- Master your network connection and tools
- Leverage e-learning and keep investing in your knowledge
- Stay vigilant with regard to data and device security at all times
Secure a good connection and the right access
Switch between Internet and 4G – consider 4G for calls if your internet connection is not stable. Be conscious of bandwidth degradation when other people are streaming videos at home. Know when you can go VPN-free – to accesss your company’s tools and services.Do not leave your computer unlocked or accessible to your family or housemates and continue to remain vigilant at all times. Hackers are using this situation as an opportunity and phishing campaigns and scams are likely to increase.
Make time to talk and share your experiences
In the office, you’re likely to chat with colleagues throughout the day, but this may not be the case when you’re working remotely – which can feel isolating at times.
Ask your Team Leader / Engagement manager to have a 10-minute call to start and wrap up the day, using Skype for Business or Teams. To the extent the bandwidth conditions allow it, please try to have video calls regularly. Set up the same with the teams that depend on you.
Overall, reach out to your teammates and manager regularly over the coming days, leveraging Skype or Teams. Also, make time for virtual breaks with your colleagues or clients the way you would at the office or client site. Get creative with your team about how to do this, for example scheduling a ‘virtual coffee break’ or a virtual ‘breath of fresh air’ while you’re on the phone together. Maintaining that social connection can lift your mood.
Address any difficulty you may experience with remote working with your manager who is there to support you.
Take regular breaks … and keep fit!
It’s important to take regular breaks and get up from your desk and move around, just as you would in an office. According to research, short breaks throughout the day can be more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.You could even try a new time management method: for maximum creativity and freshness, many remote workers favor the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for 25-minute intervals, followed by five-minute breaks.
Keep your energy levels up by getting up and about if you can: whether it’s a 30-minute fitness tutorial on YouTube or squats between meetings… get creative!
And with less tea breaks with colleagues, it’s likely that you might go longer hours without hydrating yourself – so keep up the water!
Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)
Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up all day; making time for a walk in the fresh air (if you’re not self-isolating) can lift your mood and boost your creativity. Don’t miss an opportunity to get outside – especially if the sun is shining! Sometimes a different perspective or change of scenery can actually increase your efficiency and reduce errors.
A simple walk in the fresh air can work wonders for our mental health and, of course, will alleviate some of those cabin fever symptoms!
Make use of your usual commute time
Now you’re not commuting, you’ve got extra time in your day – don’t fill this with work.
You could spend it with your family, take up a new hobby, train for a personal best – or get round to all those things you’d been meaning to do in the house.
Embrace it, don’t waste it.
Work when you’re at your most productive
It’s natural that your motivation and energy will come and go throughout the day. When you’re working from home, look at when you’re most productive and when your motivation typically wanes, and plan your schedule around this.
Get the best out of your day by saving your harder tasks for when you know you’ll have the most energy for them. Use slower points of the day to sort the easier tasks that are on your to-do list.
We’re here to support you
In these uncertain times, the support and camaraderie of our colleagues can make all the difference. Let’s all look out for each other.
If you need any additional assistance during this time, contact your Manager or speak to your colleagues. Most organizations have dedicated support and psychologists who can support you during these times, if needed.