2020 has certainly challenged us all and continues to do so. Many companies around the globe have therefore rolled out working from home measures amid the spread of COVID-19.
Whilst this more casual working environment may be normal for some, there will be many of us looking to navigate the unknown boundaries of home office working.
The novelty of working from home can be overwhelming, with so many distractions whether that be pets, tempting snacks or household chores. However, it’s imperative to treat a working-from-home day like you would any other work-day. Stick to your usual working hours, including break times and lunch.
This is not only important for productivity reasons, but also for your mental well-being and sense of achievement at the end of the day.
The most basic of tips, but arguably the most important in setting the tone for the day ahead. Whilst it can be enticing to work from the comfort of pyjamas, this can be detrimental to a working mindset. Try to retain as much normality as possible. This also alleviates the embarrassment of an unscheduled video conference and your colleagues seeing you in your beloved onesie!
If you don’t have a home office, create a dedicated space exclusively for work!
It doesn’t need to be extravagant, most importantly it will be away from distractions and treated as a restricted area by family who are also at home – set the ‘I’m at work and I’ll catch up with you when on a break’ tone, to avoid constant distractions. An upright, comfortable chair is also important. If you need to invest in one thing for your home office, this would be our recommendation.
Whilst practising social distancing we don’t have to be completely alone, embrace technology and invite a colleague, friend or LinkedIn connection for a virtual coffee!
The threat of isolation and loneliness when working from home is real, but easily avoided. Most of us have either FaceTime or Skype available at our fingertips, don’t be shy – schedule a catch up and switch on the coffee machine… plus, you never know what business opportunities may present themselves as a result!
Make an extra effort to communicate with your team, regularly!
In order to negate duplication of effort, daily team conference calls are essential in understanding the tasks everybody is working on. These calls are best held first thing in the morning, to make sure everybody is working to the same agenda during the day ahead. It can be tempting to let the calls slip, promising a catch up tomorrow. However, this is a slippery slope and before you know it, days have passed without a team call and direction has wavered, objectives are unclear and deadlines are missed.
Just like you would in the office, set clear objectives for each team member with clear deadlines and expectations. If anything is unclear nip it in the bud and iron out any uncertainties straight away. Depending upon the seniority level of the team you are managing, set daily or weekly objectives and review progress regularly. Offer individual telephone or Skype calls with team members to provide further support outside of the team catch ups.
Contrary to popular belief, many people actually work longer hours when based from home. There are many reasons for this, whether it’s because the resident coffeemaker hasn’t reminded you to take a 10-minute break, or paranoia of being seen to be not doing enough – it is incredibly tempting to overwork yourself. Scientific research has proven the most productive business people take short, regular breaks in order to re-energise and re-focus.
According to Psychology Today, ‘movement breaks’ are essential for physical and emotional health. ‘Just a 5-minute walk every hour can improve your health and well-being, reducing the negative health effects from too much sitting.’