Guidelines for Working Remotely
It is widely accepted, that when you work from home, you will need to change the way you work and interact with colleagues. The first thing to remember is that working from home currently is only temporary. Understanding, empathy and patience are things we all need to undertake, now more than ever and are crucial to be effective and successful.
It is difficult to duplicate your office environment at home, especially when there may be more distractions in your home life but here are a few tips to help ease and structure your work from home life.
Keeping a Morning Routine
Keep to your usual morning routine of getting up at the same time, any morning meditations or exercise routines, having a nutritious breakfast, washing and dressing for work as you would have done going into the office. Having routines like this will get your mind active and ready to focus on your day ahead.
Try to have a designated space for you to work from that is preferably not the same as where you relax and unwind. Where possible, keep this area away from distractions but also with good internet availability. Keeping your workspace and relaxing / family areas separate is key to balancing your home life and being most effective in your work times.
Schedule your day and be mindful of timings
Ensure you set yourself manageable work times each day and let those you live with know your schedule. Discuss and put in place a balance of timings to manage your home life duties.
Make sure you put enough breaks into your daily schedule, for example, working for 55mins with a 5 minute break and try to stick to this plan. Also allow yourself a good lunch break and make sure you are giving yourself the best nutritious food you can.
List and prioritise your workload every day. Writing lists at the beginning of each day (before checking emails where possible) can often help with being overwhelmed with workloads. Giving time slots to work on each task thereafter helps to balance out your work and carry it out effectively.
Let your managers and colleagues know your schedule and any home responsibilities that you need to prioritise. Colleague will be far more understanding when they know your timelines and can work around them.
Put in some general catch-up times with your colleagues. Coffee breaks and lunch catch ups with no working agendas using online tools such as Zoom or Teams can really help keep those professional relationships and being sociable can help your own mental health. Also having some fun team events such as online quiz’s or challenges can really lighten your day.
Enable video presence where possible
Being able to see others faces and allowing them to see yours gives your communications a far more personal touch. When the inevitable odd home distractions happen in the background it can lighten the situation and making people smile is usually nothing but a good thing!
Using online virtual meeting tools such as Zoom, Teams, Slack etc. are becoming increasingly more vital to working from home. Make yourself familiar with any such tools your company has preference in using and their guidelines for using them. Enable notifications where necessary to ensure you don’t miss any messages you are sent. Try to use shared networks, such as OneDrive and SharePoint to share files with your colleagues. For online video meetings, familiarise yourself with muting yourself and keep your line muted when not speaking to minimise background interference. Keep your video turned on when your bandwidth allows you to do so but do turn this off if your network is slow or unstable, letting other know when and why you are doing so.
Speak to your manager about any home office needs. It may be extremely difficult or a big ask to get everything you would normally use in an office. You may be asked to ‘make do’ with what you have at home. Again, bear in mind this will be a temporary sacrifice, but perhaps they might be able to help you find a work around or put you on a waiting list for when and if the equipment you need becomes available.
Privacy and Security
It is always recommended to use secure networks and enable passwords on all online meetings. There are increasing numbers of online hacking and scamming techniques being used so make sure you and your company are following company security policies and always be mindful of potential threats. This is particularly relevant when discussing or sharing sensitive or confidential matters over any internet based communication.