The recent Covid-19 outbreak has seen large numbers of us having to work from home, in many cases for the first time.
Whether you’re an employer or an employee, new distractions are everywhere, and can easily wreak havoc on your level of productivity and your mental health. Additionally, working from home in the face of a pandemic comes with its own set of challenges. Maybe you’re also having to adjust to home-schooling your children, or maybe you live with roommates, and have had to carve a workspace out of your bedroom dressing table.
Whatever your current situation, if you’re struggling to adjust to working at home, we can assure you that you’re not alone. So, to help you out in this difficult time, we’ve put together our complete guide to working from home, with focused tips for workers and employers.
It’s likely that you’ve been given a laptop to work from while at home, and the temptation to make yourself a comfy and cosy set up can be strong. However, not having an ergonomic set up to work from will eventually give you chronic neck and back pain.
No matter where it is, try to create a work\space that is at a table or desk - avoid working from your bed or sofa at all costs. Having a specific working area is also far more likely to see you be more productive each day when you sit down to work.2. Take a breakAlthough I just said you shouldn’t be napping throughout the day, that doesn’t mean you should be sat at your laptop for 8 hours a day. Give yourself time to step away from the screen every hour and refresh your brain. Even if it’s just to make a cup of tea, or to do a few stretches, it’s important to give your body a break.
3. Clean your technologyPortable digital devices (smart phones, tablets, laptops) are the bread and butter for every company right now, and are in overuse. While they’re great to make remote working a success, they are also a great place for germs to thrive. Don’t forget to give them a quick wipe down with anti-bacterial wipes and spray!4. Set clear boundaries with others (kids, partners, housemates)If you’re in a household with others who aren’t working from home - or who aren’t in school - it will probably be difficult to get them to leave you alone in order to work. Set up clear rules and boundaries from the start, and clearly explain that you need to work in order to enjoy down time with them later.
The clearer you are, and the more you stick to your guns, the more productive you’ll be throughout the day.
5. Don’t forget to look after yourselfWorking from home may give you some sort of semblance to a routine, but it won’t go all the way to helping to balance out the isolation. Make sure you put the laptop away at 5pm, and make time for yourself. Exercise, video call family and friends, watch a film, or even have a glass of wine in the bath. It’s important to take time out for yourself during this time, not just your work.
1 . Check in with your boss often
Ensuring effective communication and workflow can be extremely difficult without face-to-face meetings, or the ability to quickly pop over to someone's desk to clarify something. In order to make sure nothing is getting lost in translation, don’t be afraid to check in with your boss throughout the day.
Simple questions such as ‘What do you need from me?’ and ‘When do you need this actioned by?’ will go a long way to making sure that your company runs as smoothly as possible in these confusing times.
2. Keep up your daily routine
Keeping up your ‘normal’ daily routine (such as showering, and generally taking care of yourself and appearance) as much as possible has 2 different but important benefits.
One of the most important is the positive effect it can have on your mental health. Maintaining a daily routine helps you preserve a sense of order and purpose in your life, something that is even more important when faced with the added pressures of social distancing, isolation and even quarantine.
The other is a little more basic, but the best way to show your bosses that you’re still a productive member of the team is by looking like one when you’re on video meetings. Even though we are all living through unprecedented times, it’s important to look as professional as possible when at work. Working from home isn’t an excuse to slack off, and you want the rest of your colleagues to know you’re getting work done, rather than just taking naps.
1. Keep in contact with your people
Just as your employees should keep in regular contact with you, you should make sure that you’re keeping them up to date too. Take time throughout the day to check in on people, as groups and individually
Obviously you need to make sure work is being done, but be sure to also check in on how they’re coping themselves. Acknowledge the uncertainty, and don’t give answers that you aren’t sure are correct, rather explain you don’t know and that you will get back to them as soon as possible.It might also be a good idea to share official advice on working from home, whether from the government or from higher up in your company.
2. Promote and deliver access to support
In these uncertain times, there are a lot of vulnerabilities that people will be facing. From worrying about their own health, to looking after older and/or younger family members, as well as just generally struggling with their mental health. As a leader, it’s important to share any and all opportunities for support to help your employees navigate through this difficult time.
Take a little time to discover the support available internally, as well as externally, and share them with your team. A little support can go a long way.
3. Find opportunities for development
It’s likely that your workflow has slowed due to the disruption, so take this opportunity to plan out and catch up on staff development. This is often an area that gets pushed to the side in busy companies, so this is a great time to check in with your staff and get them prepared to continue their development when it’s time to resume business as usual.
Our home office furniture solutions make it easy for your staff to work comfortably from home. Our office seating options are all ergonomic and highly supportive helping to reduce common injuries caused by incorrect posture.
Century Office are a leading UK office and contract furniture supplier, with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. They provide workplace solutions and offer a tailored approach for architects, interior designers & facility managers for small offices to large corporations as well as educational facilities.
Please visit the Century Office website at www.century-office.co.uk or telephone 08000 929301 for more information. Century Office offers a complete service from survey and design through to supply and installation.