Many people are now of course moving into a new phase of working from home. If it’s not a familiar situation here are some great tips to help you adjust more quickly:
Set up a comfortable working environment
1. The first thing to do is to think about your working space. People will be in very different situations - some will have a study, others will have limited space to use.
2. The quicker you can get a good home working environment set up, the more comfortable and productive you’re going to be.
3. If you already have a home office set up, make sure your seating position is optimal. You’ll probably be spending far more time there than usual and your body will respond differently. Sitting incorrectly while working could bring on back problems or other issues such as repetitive strain injuries.
4. If you’re at a dining room or kitchen table using a laptop you’ll need to see if you can elevate it and ensure it’s at the correct angle. Avoid sitting on the bed or sofa with your laptop on your knees - this is not a healthy position to work in long-term.
5. You can read more about how to create a healthy working space here.
6. Make sure you have all the tools and supplies you need to hand. This could include getting your broadband speed optimised, sorting out video conferencing apps, getting in stationery supplies and making sure your printer / scanner is supplied with ink and paper.
Create new work processes
7. It’s important to still get up, showered, dressed and look presentable as you would if going out for the day. Working in your pyjamas isn’t advisable because it will take you out of a working mindset. And keeping to these habits also has the added advantage of helping you feeling anchored and positive.
8. Organise your diary and your activities as you would if going to work. Try not to let household chores or distractions creep into your working time.
9. But when the working day ends, don’t let work drift on and eat up your evening. Turn off the computer and get some good quality family or personal time away from screen.
10. If you and your partner or other family members are suddenly all working from home look for practical ways to make it easier. For instance, if you need to be on a lot of calls whilst other family members need quiet space, find a room where you can consistently do this comfortably.
11. You’ll need to quickly get into a new routine with your work colleagues. Having a daily call at the same time every morning is a good idea. It helps people feel orientated and organised, and it’s a great opportunity to talk about any concerns or problems.
12. If there are trickier work issues or decisions that come up that would normally be figured out face-to-face in ad hoc meetings, consider pushing these discussions onto calls. Complex decision-making can quickly go awry if carried out on long email chains or via messaging platforms.
Looking after yourself and others
13. Maintaining good mental health is vital. Try and avoid alerts from news services or social media constantly interrupting your day, worrying you and worst of all, breaking your focus.
14. Think of the positives - there’s lots of help, support and advice out there through digital channels. It’s amazing what can be done online now and we’re fortunate that we have all these options for finding information and staying connected.
15. Use music without news interruption or other relaxing audio to help you get into a good frame of mind for work. Good choices for when you need to focus include classical music or background sounds such as ocean waves crashing - or even whale song if that’s your thing! You can find these resources on most online music sites, as well as via artificial intelligence services.
16. Take regular breaks as you would at work. Get up and walk around, and if you can get outside in the fresh air where it’s safe to do so. Also keep your consistent regular lunch breaks going as you would at work. You need to keep good nutrition and hydration going as usual.
17. Get the physical exercise going! Take twenty minutes out and find a free online workout to join - or just have a dance around to your favourite music. It will help you stay fit as well as releasing your endorphins, also known as the “happy hormones”.
18. It’s important to make sure you don’t feel isolated, and that colleagues help support each other. Consider getting some online social events in the diary such as virtual coffee breaks or even virtual parties with an uplifting playlist you can all contribute to.
19. If you hit a bump in the road, make sure you talk it through with your line manager or team members as soon as you can. Reaching out to others and staying connected is key. Teams are there for a reason; it’s about more than just getting the job done, it’s about looking out for each other too.
20. You can also make positive use of social channels and web articles to find tips to help you manage working from home. And why not ask your friends and colleagues for their thoughts via social platforms? Lots of people have great hacks, tips and advice and will be very happy to help you.
We hope you’ve found these tips useful. We know that there are lots of different situations out there - people living and working alone, experienced “work-from-home” old hands, and families adjusting to lots of new things together - and we’ve only just touched on the options and ideas in this blog.
We’d love to hear what you think too. If you’d like to share your ideas, resources or solutions for effective home working then do let us know via our social channels.