Many of us, both in the UK and the US, have been tasked to work from home. Some colleagues are remaining in the field, to help keep the lights on and the energy flowing, but the rest of us are behind closed doors, keeping our aspects of the business going.
It can be challenging working from home, especially now that the schools and day-care centres have closed, which means parents are having to work hard as both educators and at their day job.
To help, we’ve put together some tips from around the business to help you get started and comfortable.
Create a dedicated workspace
Whether you live in a detached five-bedroom house or a small studio apartment, there are plenty of ways to create your own space at home.
Having a defined workspace means it’s easier to get your head down and focus on your work. Plus, if you live in a busy household with kids, they know that when Mummy or Daddy are at their desks that can’t be disturbed (yes, we live in optimism). And, even if you don’t have enough room for your own office, there are lots of great space-saving tips online.
From desks that fold up after use to workspaces that double as bookshelves, there are plenty of ways to create a peaceful workplace in a busy house. Try to choose somewhere that’s not in a communal corridor and avoid putting a desk in your bedroom. It might feel like a quiet place to settle down and do a WebEx, but spending all your time in one space is going to make self-isolation feel challenging.
If you’re working at the kitchen table, do a physical end-of-the-day sign off by removing everything from the table and filing it away, so work doesn’t take over your evening.
Try to keep regular office hours
Having a work/life balance is as important now as it was before Covid-19 happened.
Working from home can make it harder to keep the office and the family separate, but it’s important to make the effort. That could mean switching your work laptop off at the end of the day so email notifications don’t flood in.
It’s tempting to stay up late and sleep in when you don’t have to be in the office for 9am, but sticking to your normal work day routine really helps. It means you are online to communicate with your team, it stops you from working into the evening to catch up from a late start and it helps to remind you that you are still at work, even if you are at home.
Keep in touch
Loneliness is the home worker’s worst enemy and even more so during such uncertain times. Make sure you check in regularly with your team, for meetings and chats, so you don’t feel so alone. Some teams have organised daily web breakfasts, so colleagues can get a quick face-to-face with their team; something that’s more vital than ever for those who live alone or in rural locations. Keep connected on Yammer and think about picking up the phone rather than emailing. Communication helps us all feel more connected and ensures we’re still working together, even if we aren’t physically together in an office.
Taking a break, even for 15 to 20 minutes, can help you concentrate and sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
When you’re working from home you may be tempted to ‘work through’, but sitting for long periods of time isn’t good for your posture.
Try to take a break every 45 minutes, moving away from your work space to stretch and refocus your mind. Take a look at the NHS stretch and flex exercise plan for inspiration.
Colleague in the US? Here are some resources on Coronavirus.
Based in the UK? You can find out more about remote working now.
You can also connect with colleagues from all over the company on our working from home Yammer group. Hundreds of colleagues are already sharing ideas in the group.
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