You, among many others, may find yourself working from home over the coming weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, the UK government are insisting on social-distancing, so working home from home has become a reality for many. The Prime Minister urged if you have the opportunity, you should be working from home, in hope that this will reduce the spread of coronavirus.
Of course, working from home isn’t an option for everybody but if you have the choice you should take it. By avoiding the office, you are limiting your physical contact with clients and colleagues, therefore reducing the likelihood of Covid-19 spreading.
You may have worked remotely before, but for many, this is the first time and it can be daunting. Maintaining your productivity and wellbeing should be a priority in these uncertain times. So, here are our essential working from home tips during the coronavirus outbreak.
SET GROUND RULES
The most important thing when working at home is to set up a daily routine like you would at the office.
Rolling out of bed at 8.55 am and switching your laptop on for 9 am may sound like a great but it can have negative effects. To keep you proactive and positive throughout the day you should try and wake up with some free time before work. Use those minutes to shower, have a coffee and eat breakfast. This will set you up in good stead for the rest of the day.
It’s also important to set boundaries with the people you live with. Make sure they are aware when you are working so you won’t be disrupted.
Also, working in your pyjamas might seem like a dream, but it’s going to make you feel sluggish after a while. Now you don’t need to wear office attire – comfort is still key, so we recommend loungewear and a pair of slippers.
CREATE A SPACE
Don’t fall into the trap of staying in bed all day with your laptop.
It may be hard to get yourself out of bed in the morning but that doesn’t mean you should stay there. Working from your bed may seem like the dream workday, however by not getting up, you’re letting your day-to-night merge.
If you have a desk, use it. You’ve got at least three weeks of working from home because of the spread coronavirus, so make a designated space. Once you have a specific area, you can remove distractions and at the end of the day walk away from it.
It’s easy to lose motivation and positivity in times like this, so keep your head up and your desk clear.
This is the time to talk like you’ve never talked before.
One of the biggest changes, when you work from home, is being on your own. If you’re used to big bustling office environments, just you and your laptop can seem daunting. To make things easier, overcommunicate.
Setup applications like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, so your office can easily get in touch. Maybe start each day with a ‘team briefing’ so you and your colleagues know exactly what needs to be done. Also, check-in with your manager throughout the day about what you have achieved.
During this ‘stay indoors’ period, try sending voice notes to your team as it will feel more personal than an email. You could also host ‘after-work drinks’ on a Friday night via video chat. It’s important to remember others will be feeling isolated too.
BREAK TIME & SIGNING OFF
Know your working limits.
The coronavirus has put a lot of stress on employment, so it’s natural to feel worried about your job when working from home. You may feel like you have to work constantly to prove your worth, but that can come with its own negative side effects.
In an office, you’re used to having your day broken up by meetings and chats at the printer. So make sure you take short breaks, as this will refresh your brain when you get back to your desk. Take your normal lunch hour and don’t feel guilty for making a cup of tea or grabbing a snack mid-afternoon.
It’s also vital to know when to stop working. Sign off and move. Don’t stay sitting in the same place you’ve been most of the day, get up and do something else. Currently, we’re allowed to leave the house once a day for exercise, so go for a walk and close the day properly.
Keep your information safe while working from home
It’s sad to say, but with the majority of the country working from home because of the coronavirus outbreak, cyber attackers will be working hard to steal information.
Now you aren’t in the office, you may not have the same cyber-security set up with your internet at home. It’s vital to access any network or software from your organisation via a VPN. This will create an encrypted and secure connection which will help protect your company’s information. Also, enable multi-factor authentication on any programme you need to use at home.
Another thing to keep an eye on is hackers taking advantage of natural anxieties over the COVID-19 pandemic. Many phishing emails/texts about the coronavirus are circulating so don’t open any links you do not trust.
Remember you’re on the clock.
Working from home can sound really flexible and fun but you must remember you’re earning a salary.
As we’ve said, take breaks to help your productivity levels, but don’t slack off. You’re being paid for a job so whether you’re at the office, or home, you need to be doing it.
Snacks can be one of the biggest distractions when working from home. Every hour you might find yourself walking to the fridge – which isn’t going to do you any good. We advise getting all of your food ready in the morning and keeping your snacks next to you. This way you won’t be as tempted to disappear to find food and you can monitor what you’re eating better.