With the current global situation regarding Covid-19, more people than ever before are working from home and while it may be new for some, we have been using flexible working to support those with families for a long time. We are finding out more business that would have previously never had a work from home option now attempting to reconfigure their work setup in order to help their employees with the transition. In this quick guide, we are going to share some of our top tips to help make working from home a little easier.
Working From Home
I’m going to minimize how many times I mention Corono or Covid-19 so let’s look at this from a general point of view. Most tech based, e-commerce and online companies have been offering work from home solutions for a long time to try and attract as many high quality employees as possible. Previously stats showed that approx 6.5% of workers in Ireland had the option to work from home, however naturally now more traditional jobs are going down the work from home route.
Before this week we saw plenty of news reports showing that big companies such as Google, Facebook, Vodafone and more had been running test scenarios to see how remote-ready they were but due to the quick developments at the tail end of last week, many companies and employees have been left to try figure out their working environments on the fly. When it comes to the tech side it’s up to employers to make sure their staff have things like laptops, WiFi, VPNs and messaging apps. This can be Google Hangouts, Whatsapp chats, emails, Skype, Slack or even Facebook, so we aren’t going to focus on these elements in this article and instead we will look at what you can do to make your work from home life easier.
Use Technology Available AKA Video Conferencing
Now that your entire office is working remotely, using the software available to you is going to be very important. In Core we have decided to kick start our day with a team video call. You’d be surprised how often a visual cue helps someone understand what you’re saying. It can really help to get a point across and it really helps to ensure the full team is on the same page.
This semi-social element is great to help with team morale as sometimes people can feel a disconnect with their work collegues as they remote work. It’s also great for problem solving, in an office environment issues that arise on a day to day basis are quickly figured out over a quick conversation, whereas sometimes in an email things can get lost in translation. A quick video call can solve this and if someone is working from home alone why not arrange a virtual lunch with a colleague to catch up?
Organise A Work Space
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to doing your work, some might work better from the couch, kitchen table, bed or even have a small office set up in their house. But just because you might find your productivity is fine in certain places doesn’t always mean its the optimum place to work. Taking the couch as an example, it may be comfy, your work may be fine for a day or two but it’s not exactly ergonomic, therefore if you don’t have a home office set up in place, a table and chair where you can work almost like your actual office. Plus this leaves the couch free for lunch and post work…because who really enjoys eating lunch at their desk?
Take Your Breaks
This one is vitally important and probably one of the most important tips we can share. It’s easy when working from home to completely forget about your lunch break and just carry on, but yet in the office we have a lunch break and take it because it’s what helps you stay mentally sharp, its routine and will help avoid burnout. So if you do it at work, why wouldn’t you take your lunch when working remotely?
If you work with your feet up and the telly on, you can easily work away for the day without realizing time is slipping away, so we would recommend saving these moments until your breaks, add your lunch to your calendar and as we said above, break your routine and arrange virtual lunch with a colleague.
Save Housework For Breaks
Blurring the lines between housework and work time can get difficult, if a wash needs to go on you just want to get it done. But box off your work time solely for work tasks, those home jobs had to wait until you got home before so they can wait now. Do your housework either before work, on your breaks or after and try to treat things as you would when you’re in the office.
Remember, particularly if you’re working in a small space, that turning on the washing machine could be rather annoying if you need to sit working near it for the next two hours, especially if you have a call with your boss during that time. It’s also important to be very clear with those you live with that between X & Y, this is work time and ensuring everyone knows you have a really important deadline to meet will give you a better chance of focus. Alternatively invest in a decent pair of noise cancelling headphones online while you can to help drown out the noise.
Take Full Advantage of Being at Home
Hitting that midday slump? Hop into the shower, Having an issue you can’t get your head around? Go for a walk and clear your mind or just hungry? To the kitchen for a slice of toast and a cup of tea. While in most of this article we have tried to help you replicate the habits an environment of work as best we can, but while you’re at home use it to your advantage, just remember one thing, with nobody around you’ll probably feel less conscious about grabbing the snacks. Try to keep an eye on going overboard with the no eyes being on you, stay healthy and stay fresh.
Some business require a VPN or RSA token to access the corporate network. If you’re not already working remotely ensure all of these components are in place beforehand. However, we know some offices were told to go home late in the day on Friday and some of these business’ may run into issues. Be mindful that you’re not alone and this means increased IT support tickets and longer lead times to get these problems resolved, even if to you it may seem like an easy fix to have your work landline diverted to mobile.
We hope these tips can help but if you have any small tips or tricks that work for you that we have missed, please leave a comment and we will be sure to add it to this article. We are all in this together, so let’s do our best to make everyone’s working environment as pleasant as possible over the coming days.