Working from home during Covid 19 and beyond ….
Although it may be the first time for many, and this can be daunting at first, working from home has its undeniable perks but also presents some unique challenges, especially when the rest of the family is home too!
Whilst it’s vital to prevent further spread of COVID-19, Coronavirus containment measures have meant that many offices, businesses (large and small) across the board and schools have closed and/or scaled right back whether they like it or not.
Working from home means changing the traditional way of conducting business for many companies of any size and their employees. For those who can do their job with just a computer, it’s getting easier to work entirely remote. Devices are more affordable than ever and internet speeds are increasing which means an ever growing number of people can do their daily tasks globally. On the whole, if you’ve got a phone, laptop or iPad/ tablet and a Wifi connection, you’re good to go thanks to modern technology and the growing focus on work-life balance.
The general consensus is that, when it’s done well, it really does work and some of these tips might just help out:
Create a designated workspace
Try to create a small area at home that’s a dedicated work area and not so much a leisure space. It will help you stay in the right frame of mind but will also create a clearer separation between your work and home life.
Set your own routine
Now that you’re not in your usual workplace, it may take some time for you to settle into your routine. Only you know how you work best, so, if you’re used to working with some background noise create a playlist you can work to or listen while you work. Headphones are the perfect accessory.
It’s easy to get up early and plonk yourself straight into your new workspace, coffee in hand ready to start scoping through your emails. Before you know it, it’s 11am, you’re due on a zoom AND you’re still in your PJ’s and your coffee is cold! Do all the things you’d usually do: set your alarm, get up and dressed, make (or go and get) a coffee etc., then head to your workspace. Now that you’re your own personal manager it’s super important to stick to your usual productivity times. Your client base and your co-workers will appreciate knowing your availability too. Set this up early in the piece so there’s no surprises.
Give yourself a break
Remember that you’re working from home, not the moon. Plan breaks into your day and eat your lunch away from your workspace. If you can, a midday change of scenery and stretch of the legs can do wonders for your afternoon happiness levels. Take that walk and find other humans to interact with.
Communication is key
This is never more true than now! Communication is the key to any role especially when working remotely. You’ll need to organise online check-ins where you can and catch up with co-workers since you’re not sitting within metres of them!
It could be daily or weekly, these catch-ups will be critical to your work balance and to discuss any work expectations or challenges. It’s also simply a connection with others. Video conferencing is ideal for connecting with your team too and can remind you of how your work is contributing to the big picture.
Using online project management and communication tools
And there’s a bunch of them. Daunting to most who’ve never had to use them but there are some terrific CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools out there than can really connect everyone, streamline tasks, store and share documents, the list goes on, all in the one place.
Make time for virtual socialising
Unless you’re in marketing, social media is there to make it super easy to open and scroll. Some may not have the chance to check their socials in your usual workplace. But now you’re at-home-at-work, this convenience can be the detriment of your efficiency. You can get sucked into these channels without even realising. Remove the temptation by removing the shortcuts!!
Embrace the benefits
You may find it easier to fit in an exercise break in the middle of the day rather than rushing it in in the mornings. You no longer have to get that load of washing on and out before you head to work, and you can cook up a storm and eat your lunch at home. Think of the time, money, and emissions saved if you’re commuting. The potential benefits of online working can mean great things for our environment, our wallets, our health and our work productivity.
Choose a definitive finishing time each day
Working from home can sometimes feel like being at a casino – you can get so caught up in your work, in a comfortable environment that you lose complete track of time.
Ordinarily, you’d have the in-office alarm of co-workers beginning to pack up and head home sparking you to do the same. You now need to decide on a time of each day that your work day has finished. You don’t have to stop at exactly that time, but knowing the work day is technically over can help you start the process of saving your work and calling it quits for the evening.
Depending on what’s expected of you and your employer’s core hours, remote working can be a great way to maximise your own personal productivity without the constraints of office hours. Don’t forget to make time for non-work chats with colleagues too. Strong work (and personal) relationships are key for an effective team and these can suffer when people aren’t physically in the same place. It’s an adjustment to say the very least, to go from a buzzy workplace to home. However, it’s really easy to let your work life bleed into your personal life when you’re working from home full or part-time. Maintaining boundaries is super important for both halves of the balance.