For many, remote working will be a completely new experience and something that may be challenging for some. But there are some things that you can do to help keep you focused and hopefully enjoy some of the benefits!
Set up your workspace
Whilst remote working, it’s important to keep work and home life separate to enable you to ‘go to work’ and ‘go home’ at the end of the day. So, create a workspace that is designated just for work, include everything you’d need in a normal working day and to enable you to focus. In smaller homes, it might be that you need to set up and pack down each day, but consider that an alternative to a commute – without the overcrowding, cancellations and traffic jams.
Fortunately, remote working is easier than ever as our world now provides a tech solution for almost everything. If you usually have an IT person at the office, utilise their support to get you set up with hardware, software, access to networks, communication channels etc. If you don’t have that support, give me a shout as I know a few good IT people who will help you.
Those who’ve never worked from home before may think that it’s all PJs and day-time telly. It’s not!! Having a routine is vital to being productive and as above, we ‘go to work’. Get up at a reasonable time (a little lie in fine, there’s got to be some perks right now), shower, have breakfast, do your exercise if you’re a morning person and get dressed (it doesn’t have to be a suit or business wear but clothes that you would at least leave the house in!!! Let’s maintain some standards).
Writing a daily to-do list will help you focus and be productive. Make sure it’s realistic and perhaps even write it at the end of the day for the next. That way you can switch off knowing that what you have on your list for the following day is achievable.
Keeping your regular working hours will ensure you can switch off. Setting times so that you can take regular breaks – think popping out to get lunch if you were in the office, or stopping to make a cup of tea – have a set lunch break and take it, put it in your diary if you have to. Also remember to have a ‘home time’. Perhaps the end of the day is when you’ll take your exercise before going home to have dinner.
As well as taking breaks from working, it’s also important to move around regularly during the time that you are working. Perhaps this means standing up and walking around when you take a phone call, it might be standing up to stretch at regular intervals, maybe dancing around to the radio or even running up and down the stairs if you’re feeling particularly energetic (set a reminder for every 30-45 mins in your phone).
Stay in touch
Set up and maintain regular chats with your colleagues and team. This might be via email, various messaging services or go old school and make a phone call… I know!!! Perhaps you’ll have a 10-minute morning meeting to share what you’re all working on that day and talk about any help you might need or indeed offer help to others.
Have a bit of fun
Some time in the office is always chatting about what you watched on telly, what you did in the evenings/weekends etc. Perhaps your office usually has Friday drinks/games or other office-based social events. Set up video conferences to help keep face-to-face communication, have regular non-work chats, play games, share how you’re managing. Share how you’re being creative with keeping in touch with friends, exercising without the gym, how you’re entertaining kids.
Body language and verbal cues make a huge difference to how we communicate, this gets lost in email or text when we work remotely, so pick up the phone or arrange a video call to help keep you communicating well while apart.
If you need help, ask for it! Now more than ever we should all be supporting each other; your team and manager should be there for you and likewise in return. Pulling together is essential to successful remote working.
Enjoy the perks
As well as the lie in… you can control the heating, have whatever music you want on, sit where you like, have smelly food for lunch if you want to. You’ll save money on the commute and expensive coffees/lunches every day. You can put a wash on whenever you like, you won’t miss an online shopping delivery and you can sit in the garden for lunch. You don’t have to wear uncomfortable shoes, clothes or even make up.
Most importantly, keep in touch, look after yourselves and stay safe.
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