Bond Williams takes a look at an insightful article written by one of our partners, The Colour Works, who provide some useful tips to help you work from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
Coping with Remote Working
If you are someone who’s having to work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, you may well have doubts about how well it’s going to work out. Maybe you think it’ll be a fabulous opportunity to get through huge amounts of work now you’re not being interrupted every five minutes by colleagues and clients. Or maybe you’re unsure and a little anxious about how you’ll cope. Talk to any seasoned home worker and they’ll tell you there’s a lot of truth in both of those scenarios. Follow our six working from home tips to succeed during this period.
Working from home can be great for just getting on with things at your own pace and in your own way, but it can also be a trying and rather lonely experience, too. Long stretches of working in isolation can often leave us feeling unmotivated, unproductive and really quite lost sometimes. If that happens to you, don’t worry, it happens to us all! The good news is that there are tried and tested ways to make home working easier for yourself, so here are our top tips to help you look after yourself and your productivity during this difficult time.
Our Working From Home Tips
Get a workspace sorted out
First prize with home working is if you have a room that can be turned into an office, even if it’s only for the hours you’re planning on working. Chances are, though, you may need to use a kitchen or dining room table, or even just work while sitting on the sofa. If you can, try and avoid the sofa option – it’s a killer for your posture and your body won’t thank you for it.
Peace and quiet will be hard to come by! Do what you can to get space between you and anyone else who’s at home with you. If you end up using a space that’s needed later in the day by the family, it’s not a bad idea to pack your work stuff away, so it’s out of sight and out of mind.
Stick to a routine if you can
Whether you’re single, just the two of you, or you have an army of kids at home, do your best to establish a routine you can work to. Time becomes very elastic when we don’t have the usual external boundaries in place and it’s tempting to dip in and out of work while we fit all manner of other things into our day. There’s a serious risk that your usual well-defined 9 to 5 routine now becomes a vague sort of 10 till 10 routine and you should avoid that at all costs.
Our minds and bodies work best when we get up, eat and sleep at more or less the same times and the discipline this brings to our day makes home working so much easier. Will this come under pressure when you have the rest of your family at home all day? For sure! But try to stick with it as much as you reasonably can; setting an alarm for breaks can be a big help.
Just as you need the best ergonomic space you can create to work in, it’s important to make sure you take regular breaks to stretch and move around. Our energy soon dips when we sit in one place for too long and it doesn’t take long to get sore legs, a stiff neck and stiff shoulders. This is one of the most important working from home tips. Regular two-minute stretches can work wonders.
If you have family and pets placing demands on your time, it’s a great idea to have some agreed-upon house rules in place.
Keep your workspace tidy and organised. Don’t let the rest of the family crowd you out, wherever you’re working from.
How quiet can we expect the house to be? Probably not very, but ask the family to do their best to keep it down while you’re working and absolutely if you’re on calls to colleagues or clients. Even casual conversations within earshot can drive us to distraction when we’re trying to concentrate.
These can be a real irritant! Make sure everyone knows you’ll be taking regular breaks and they can pester you to their hearts’ content then, but not when you’re working, unless they absolutely must. Be firm! Saying “I told you not to bother me when I’m working, now what is it?” is not the way to go. No means no, except to cats who, as we all know, pay absolutely no attention to anything their owners tell them.
Duty roster. You’re working from home and just taking a break for 10 minutes, but the kitchen looks like a bomb hit it, no-one’s filled the dishwasher, the dog hasn’t been fed and everyone else is watching TV. It’s not going to brighten your day! Duty rosters are never easy to implement but if you can get some support from the family, it will make everything a whole lot sweeter.
P.s. Good luck with that!
Boredom and isolation
Believe it or not, it can and most likely will happen – home workers often find they feel bored and isolated, even when they have plenty to do. Working alone, without the social and business connections and support we’re used to can take its toll. Peace and quiet to focus and get on is all well and good but keep yourself in circulation with people who matter most to you.
Lack of social connectedness can be a big problem when working from home, but we don’t always realise it’s affecting us. Maybe you have your family around you, which is great, but work bonds are important and often very strong, and we miss them when they’re lost for long periods. Don’t just rely on email – pick the phone up or have some facetime, and not just for work stuff – pass the time of day with people now and again. Maybe even book a virtual coffee call in with someone – it’ll be time well spent!
If working from home is not the norm for you or the company you work for, things will go wrong. Technology can be a pain in the backside, getting hold of people you need to speak with can be difficult, processes and procedures weren’t made for everyone working in isolation, and all this was cobbled together in a matter of days and it’s leaking water like a rusty old boat.
We can only do our best. Hopefully, the business will have various levels of support for you to access, from your line manager, to subject matter experts, IT departments, trusted colleagues and so on. In the immortal words of the WW2 poster… Keep Calm and Carry On (after you’ve washed your hands).
“You can’t do a good job if your job is all you do.” – Katie Thurmes
The Colour Works www.thecolourworks.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was brought to you by The Colour Works, a team of personal, team and leadership development
specialists who have been transforming performance globally for over a decade.