Due to the current COVID-19 epidemic, people in the UK are being told to ‘social distance’ in order to slow the spread of the virus. This has caused a lot of people to start working from home instead of going into the office. There are a lot of advantages to working remotely, no daily commute, no extensive makeup routine, working in your slippers, etc. However, working at home instead of going into work can also be really difficult for some. At Network Scientific we made the decision quite early to close our physical office down and to start working remotely to do our bit to slow the spread of the virus – plus our MD is a bit of a germophobe at the best of times! It is new to all of us and it isn’t always easy, so we’ve been working on some helpful hints and tips to share with those in our network. Below are some of our suggestions for how to be effective while remote working!
Maintain Regular Hours
Scheduling is key to staying on track, of course this is true wherever you are working from, but is even more important when working remotely. When you are working from home, it is often just you on your own, which some people find very demotivational and can mean we easily get side-tracked. It is important to make yourself a daily schedule (list, timetable, calendar, etc) that you can keep checking back to in order to make sure that you stay on track and achieve what you need to each day.
Routine is key!
We are all creatures of habit. Be it a morning jog before work or having a shower before bed, we all have our own routines we like to follow on a daily basis. The change from office working to remote working means, for a lot of people, that their morning routines have changed. It is really important to make sure that you keep some form of morning routine in place, even if it isn’t the same as before, as it will help you to focus when it comes to starting your day on a good note. People who don’t have a morning routine are less likely to be able to focus on their work as they don’t have a definite starting point to the workday.
Choosing a suitable work area within your home is an important factor when it comes to remote working. Choose the wrong place and you might find yourself being distracted by small things and not working as effectively as you could be elsewhere. For example, working from the kitchen table rather than the sofa can mean you are less tempted to turn on the TV in the background. Your work setup is also important for your body as a bad arrangement could give you back or neck ache. Try to make sure that your back is fully supported by your chair and try not to hunch over while working, the top of your laptop/computer screen should line up with your eyes, if it is too low, try raising it with a book or screen raiser.
Are there other people in the house with you? Make sure that if there are other members of the household at home with you that you set some boundaries. Make everyone aware that just because you are at home, doesn’t mean that you aren’t busy. Set times when you aren’t to be disturbed and make sure that everyone is mindful that if they need something then (if it isn’t an emergency) it has to wait until after a certain time. This can be incredibly difficult for those with young children but setting clear rules from the start will help even them understand that, they may have to wait for you to attend to their needs.
Remember to take breaks…
Every company has different office procedures when it comes to breaks. When you are working remotely it can be very easy to forget to take breaks as there is no one there to remind you. Make sure that you take regular breaks away from your screen, even if it is just to get up and make a coffee to prevent straining your eyes too much.
Everyone is different and certain environments can work better for some than others, however something that you are bound to find hard when going from a bustling office full of people to a quiet home environment is the change in atmosphere and the common feeling of loneliness that can often come with it. At Network Scientific we have been using ‘Microsoft Teams’ as the main platform for communicating with our colleagues, sending updates from our day and keeping each other’s spirits high, we have also been conducting daily catch up meetings via the video calling function which is great for moral…. Although I think we have run out of new gifs to share!
Make sure to stay in touch with colleagues that are also working from home to keep the open dialog that is usually present in the office going during this new experience.
We will try and update these if we come across any more useful advice over the coming weeks.
Remember: We are all in this together 😊