Practical ideas and tips for working from home…
It’s one thing to understand the theory of remote working or working from home, but it’s another thing entirely to have to cope and adapt from working in a busy office environment…
There are many ‘expert’ articles around at present giving advice for those working from home. We are certainly not experts in terms of either HR or remote working, but we are managing very well despite everything!
The majority of our advisers work from a home office anyway, so the biggest change and challenge is really for our admin team. However, they are organising daily virtual team meetings and coping admirably. We also have one individual popping into the office each day to pick up the mail.
So this article is not intended to be anything other than helpful. Written by people within a business which has had to adapt like any other during the Coronavirus crisis. We hope it gives you some ideas for working from home.
1. Maintain Regular Hours
Set a schedule and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to finish helps maintain work-life balance. Try to work the hours that you were working in the office as this will help you to adapt to the change in circumstances.
Where you are able, plan out what you will be working on ahead of time to keep you focused.
2. Create a Morning Routine
Deciding you’ll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing, creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine delineates the start of work? It might be making a cup of coffee; or doing all your personal emails before you start. You might be the sort of person that works best following your regular workday routine eg. shower, breakfast and off to work, whereas others work better in their pyjamas!
3. Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children at home, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Additionally, just because you’re home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn’t mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that’s how you choose to divide up the domestic labour, that’s fine, but if you simply take it all on by default, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.
4. Schedule Breaks and Drink Plenty of Water!
Give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. We suggest you break mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon.
5. Take Breaks in Their Entirety
Don’t short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. You can use an app, to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes or just launch a clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. It is best to leave your screen for this time, so avoid playing games or catching up on on-line shopping. Make yourself some food, drink water and stretch your legs with a walk, you could even socialise with your family! This is different to being in the office and you need to show some self-care.
6. Leave Home
This is harder to do in the current circumstances but try to leave the house at least once a day. Exercise – your body needs to move. Plus, the fresh air and natural light will do you good. Take a walk, go to the shop, potter in the garden – your head and body will thank you!
7. Don’t Hesitate to Ask for What You Need
If you need other equipment, software or stationery, please ask. You need all the correct tools to do your job properly and we are all learning how to make remote working work for us. It’s great to share ideas, but everyone is individual so please ask.
8. Keep a Dedicated Office Space
In an ideal world, remote employees would have a dedicated office, but not everyone has a separate office in their home, and office equipment takes up space. Instead, dedicate a desk and some peripherals only for work use. For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it’s work time. When it’s on your lap, that’s personal time.
Consider having the radio or music on low in the background – if that helps you focus.
9. Socialise with Colleagues
Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Keep in contact with your colleagues and try to speak to someone from the company every day. It’s important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you’re highly introverted and don’t like socialising, we have technology at our disposal, and you should use it to keep up your work relationships which is vital when working from a distance.
You can even meet up for a virtual coffee break or set up daily challenges.
10. “Show Up” to Meetings and Be Heard
You’ll be taking part in video conferencing and conference calls but don’t just respond, you should make calls too. Be sure to speak up during the meeting so everyone knows you’re on the call.
11. Take Sick Days
If you’re ill, take the sick time you need. Make sure you notify us as normal and complete a sick leave form. Look after yourself and if you have Coronavirus make sure your follow all the advice given. Allow yourself to rest and heal as you may find that you’re more productive in the long run.
12. Be Positive
We like succinct and clear messages, but we know that the less face time we have with people, the less they know how to interpret our tone. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It’s unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favourite emoji :D. You’re going to need them.
13. Take Advantage of Your Perks
Bake a loaf of bread, cook a special meal, exercise more frequently – why? Because you can and enjoy it. When you work in an office full-time, it’s a struggle to find the time to pop something into the oven or take a class (remotely!). Working remotely comes with unique perks. Take advantage of them. You deserve it.
14. Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
The most successful remote employees have a reputation for being extremely disciplined. After all, it takes serious focus to get a full-time office job done from an unconventional space. That said, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes. If you find yourself working one minute and online shopping the next, don’t reprimand yourself harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether you would have done the same in the office. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work.
15. End Your Day with a Routine
Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be a sign off to everyone, an evening dog walk, or a 6pm yoga class. You might have a simple routine such as shutting down your computer and turning on a favourite podcast. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.
16. Make It Personal
Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other people who are in the same boat. Talk to your friends and colleagues, there are many options out there and we are going to be in this situation for some time so make it work for you and if we can help then let us know!
Established in Berkshire in 2004, J Finance Ltd is one of the leading financial planning companies in the area. We serve clients across England and Wales. If you would like to discuss this subject or any other financial matter, please contact us on 01635 521 300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.