News from ISSBA
Thursday, 19 March 2020 12:01

Working from home - tips and advice

First of two articles to help you with home working, especially if you are new to it. Look out for our next piece which will cover some of the technology based tools that can help.

The current situation with Coronavirus/COVID-19 means that more people than ever are now working from home, some for the first time.

If you are used to an office environment, it can be a bit of a shock to the system so here are some tips on how to cope and continue to work effectively:

Hours and Routine

It can be tempting when people start home working to get a bit laid back on timekeeping, however, it is important to keep to a normal work schedule as much as possible. If you normally start work at 9am for example, make a point of still doing so as this will help to keep you in the work mindset. Keep to your normal routine and rules as much as possible. If your company has a social media policy in place, stick to it. Just because you are working from home, it doesn’t mean you can spend 60% of your time browsing social media channels!

Schedule Breaks

On the flip side of normal hours and routine, it is also easy to let the time run away in the quiet of your home so it is important to schedule some breaks. Make sure you step away from your workspace, even if it is just to make a sandwich or cup of tea! If the weather allows, a quick walk around the garden can be good too as fresh air will always revive you.

Workspace

You may be lucky enough to have a desk in a separate room to work at but you be using a laptop on the kitchen table. Either way, try to keep your workspace tidy and clear things away at the end of the day. It will help with your work/life balance if you can still ‘leave work’ at the end of the day.

Family or Housemates

If there is more than one person working from your home, it is important to respect each other. Set some rules on the space(s) you use and be considerate when making phone calls or playing music.

Children can also be tricky if you are new to working from home but it is possible to manage this. If they are very young, utilise nap time to do anything that needs particular concentration or make some calls for example. If they are older, speak to them about what you are doing and explain what you need i.e. ‘if I’m on the phone, please wait until I’ve finished rather than interrupt’ or ‘give me half an hour to finish this and then we’ll do something together’. You’ll find that they soon get the hang of it!

Communication

One of the hardest things to get used to is the feeling of being cut off from other people which can lead to loneliness. Make sure you stay in regular contact with colleagues and use phone or video calls as well as email to keep in touch. Utilise online networking groups as they can often be a fantastic place to chat, share concerns, get advice or even just vent about a bad day!

Finish the Day!

Where possible, try to have a definite end to the day. If you normally finish work at 5.30pm, try to stick to it. It is easy to just keep going and lose track of time but it is much better for your work/life balance to finish work, pack up, turn off your PC or laptop and have some family or ‘me’ time.

Above all, try to keep positive! Focus on what you are doing, try to avoid distractions and your productivity and effectiveness will help your business to continue to thrive.

Written by Merie Sennett, Spartan Consultants (been working from home for over 10 years!)