Why should you work from home?
Boris Johnson told the public on Monday evening that they should now be working from home where possible. The recommendation was made in an attempt to contain the UK coronavirus outbreak.
Keeping employees apart from each other will reduce the chance of spread. The virus could be caught in the communal spaces at work, as well as on the person’s commute. So, companies around the UK have instigated mandatory remote work.
Shifting to a ‘home office’ has become the new normal for many of us. But some employees will be working from home for the first time. Figuring out how to stay focused in a new environment and avoiding going stir crazy is a difficult task.
Benefits of Home Working
- No commute so you can enjoy a lay-in, spend some time to yourself or make a hearty breakfast.
- Save money on transport (car, bus, train) as well as that morning coffee you may grab on the go.
- Wear comfy clothes that wouldn’t be satisfactory for a general office environment.
- Enjoy your own music/favourite radio station and not the same office radio every day.
- Get help from your four-legged, furry office helpers.
Having regular communication with your team is key to productivity. We’d recommend having at least 30 minutes a day talking to your manager and team.
As a team of four, we decided to communicate via WhatsApp. It was the logical thing to do because we’d all used WhatsApp before so knew how it worked. Sending messages and making calls ensured our team was kept up to date with everything.
At first, it was strange not being able to ask a quick question to a colleague who sits right next to you. But with today's technology it’s so easy to communicate with them. Don’t just email them. Message them. Call them. Video call them. From our experience, the instant response you receive on WhatsApp is much better than sending an email.
One of the most important aspects about working from home is your workspace.
You can’t do your job well if you’re working from your bed on a small laptop screen. It’s just not possible, no matter how much students swear by it. A good-sized monitor or laptop screen is going to help you be more productive.
Get yourself a table that’s large enough to accommodate the equipment you’ll be using. It needs to be close by to a plug socket to power your laptop/desktop screen(s). If possible, situate yourself nearby a window so you get a nice view instead of staring blankly at a wall.
Your chair is also important for your posture. Get yourself good back support so you don’t suffer the consequences after an 8-hour day on a wooden dining chair.
Keeping your normal routine will help you to distinguish between work and home.
- Wake up at your usual time and spend any free moments to yourself
- Get changed out of your pyjamas into something comfortable but not too scruffy
- ‘Commute’ to your workstation (it should be separate from where you sleep)
Here are a few more tips to ensure your wellbeing:
- Leave work behind at the end of the day by turning off notifications
- Listen to music/the radio otherwise it can be too quiet
- Stick to working your office hours only
- Take a lunch break away from your workspace
- Don’t do household chores during work hours
- Contact your team regularly
Your normal office day is broken up by meetings, quick office chats, making coffee, going to the toilet, lunch breaks, etc. When you’re sat at home, you shouldn’t stick by your screen for the whole day.
Experts say to work in short bursts. Every hour move away from your screen for 5 minutes. Have a quick break and you’ll be much more refreshed when you get back to work.
It’s incredibly important to remember to have your lunch break. Whether you put your feet up and relax or do a quick workout, getting away from your desk helps to split up your day.
Set yourself realistic expectations at work. Don’t underwork, but don’t try and overwork either. Create a list and if you achieve more than you set out to, you’ll feel satisfied.
If you’re working from home, it can get lonely. Make sure you don’t isolate yourself from human contact and communicate with those around you. Be sociable with your work colleagues, friends and family. Although we may not be able to go outside, we can still call or video chat with people.