While working from home has been on the rise for years, thanks to the technologies that enable it, few could have imagined that there would be a mass move to it as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Perhaps this might see an even bigger move to homeworking when the crisis is over.
A sudden change in working environment can take some getting used to. We need to keep our spirits up as much as our productivity, so here are Hubken’s tips for happy and productive home working:
1. Keep meeting: when teams are working remotely it’s even more important to ensure you meet, ideally by video conference.
Working alone can be an isolating experience, especially for people who thrive on close working relationships with colleagues.
A quick morning catch-up call is a great way to tune in with your team and remember to ensure that existing, scheduled meetings don’t slip.
2. Be available: even the most approachable manager can feel inaccessible when they are invisible and miles away.
As a Manager it’s your job to ensure staff feel able to get in touch with you and each other. Keep an online team chat open so the team can message one another any time and participate in it yourself.
Tell them when you are going on a call or off to lunch, so they know when you aren’t around.
3. Maintain direction: a pitfall of remote working can be that people lose direction and may start focusing on their favourite projects rather than business critical ones!
Why not create a prioritised task list for members of your team and check in every few days on progress?
This isn’t about snooping on people, it’s simply helping staff to stay focused when day to day discussions are less frequent.
4. Have a laugh: in a conventional office, set-up morale is boosted by those little chats and informal interactions that happen every day.
Think about creative ways to make this happen for remote workers. Drop the odd non work-related message or call team members for a chat.
Ask them how they are coping in these unusual times and most of all make time for laughter!
5. Sort the tech: laughter might be harder to come by if your team are struggling to work thanks to technical problems.
Assuming you’ve equipped your team with the technology they need, next check they have network access via a VPN, have a stable enough web connection and that they are using the correct hardware to ensure data protection.
If they are training via your LMS make sure you have enough memory to accommodate the increased number of users or additional course content you need.
If you need help with this let us know.
6. Establish a routine: the social conventions of any office instil a useful sense of routine into a working day.
When they aren’t there you can become a little rudderless. We recommend you set a daily schedule starting with a list of priorities for the day ahead.
Take breaks in the same way you would if in the office. You’ll be more productive for sure.
7. Find your space: Tempting as it may be to slouch on the sofa with your laptop, we’d strongly advise against it.
Firstly, find somewhere away from distractions, which may include your family! The nearest thing you have to a closed-off office space is great.
Our Marketing Manager Lee works in his attic with two guinea pigs, “Apart from the odd sound of gnawing it’s the quietest place in the house and there is a much-needed skylight I can pop my head out of!”.
8. Go outside: No more walks to your car or to the train station mean that for some there is no reason to set foot outside.
We’d recommend that you make time to do so, no matter what the weather. Some of our team have taken to brisk walks before or after work or you could squeeze in a stroll at lunchtime.
One thing is for sure, staying cooped up all day isn’t good for anyone’s physical or mental health.
9. Dress for work: if you’ve thought ‘Hey, I don’t need to leave the house today, why not just wear joggers and a sweater?’ stop right there!
Vicky our Client Success Manager, who regularly works from home thanks to the distance to the office says “I tried working in my comfy joggers but quickly realised that I wasn’t in the work mindset! The day I dressed like I was going into the office my productivity shot right up. Top tip – wear shoes or hard-soled slippers – works every time!”.
10. Use your pets: if you are an animal person and have pets you are going to be seeing a lot more of them!
This is especially beneficial if you struggle with the social isolation of working alone. Dog and cats can make great company and spending a bit of time interacting with them is the next best thing (or maybe better!) than spending time with your colleagues.
A word of warning though, cats are best kept off your desk. Have you ever noticed that they treat keyboards as we treat beds?
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