Make Working From Home, Work For You

So, you’ve suddenly found yourself working from home?

Moving your entire company to working remotely is no mean feat, especially when for many, this was done overnight!

In a matter of days, the world went from business as usual to being confined within four walls trying to decide whether chocolate and wine counted as “essential”.

Those out there with children are now teachers, referees and riot police whilst still trying to maintain their professional persona.

Many of us have slickly moved our Monday morning management meetings to a video conference, with only the occasional interruption from an over excited toddler.

Wendy from accounts has spent more than a reasonable amount of time trying to work out how Dave managed to set his background to Oktoberfest.

The coronavirus pandemic has changed so much, and now with workforces scattered across the country, in their own homes, we’ve written some advice with things that you can do to make this new remote working a success.

  1. Over communicating is recommended
  2. Dress for success
  3. What about the kids
  4. Time for a cuppa
  5. STOP!
  6. A breath of fresh air
  7. Give yourself a break
  8. Someone else can do that

1) Over communicating is recommended

Communication is vitally important for the success of any team – even more so now most teams are working remotely.

Schedule in a conference call (or even better a video conference) at the start and end of every day.

Don’t be afraid to communicate too much, it’s definitely better to over communicate than under in this situation.

That being said, try not to micro-manage. Trust your employees to be working as hard as they can. A little trust goes a long way!

2) Dress for success

Okay, you don’t need to be in your Sunday best but still wearing your pyjamas and dressing gown at your 11 o’clock with Sally from marketing isn’t going to make a good impression.

Getting up and dressed will help keep you in your routine.

Set an alarm and get up at the same time you normally do, have a shower and get dressed.

Try and keep in the “working week” mindset – it will help you to get motivated.

Hom eoffice desk with; mouse, keyboard and earphones.

3) What about the kids?

It’s no lie that working from home with kids is no picnic.

Rest assured that everyone with children will be in the same boat as you.

Be patient and don’t fret if one or more of your little people make their way into a video call.

For older children, you can set clearer boundaries. Give them a task to do and explain that between these times Mum or Dad are unavailable.

Break up the day and have times where you are available either side of the time you aren’t.

A great visual for kids is to use a “traffic light” system.

🍎 Red is a “do not disturb” card, this is best used sparingly (so that it has the greatest effect) and I’d advise you use this when you are on a call.

🍊 Amber is an “I’m working but can answer questions or help if you need me” card.

🍏 Green is for when you’re not working, whether that is a lunch break, or the working day is over. Kids are used to routine and it will help them to feel more secure.

Most of all, try and break off that parenting guilt (even if they have been glued to a screen all day) – you’re doing the best you can!

4) Time for a cuppa

Young businesswoman, working from home, having coffee while sitting at her office desk

You will be much more effective and efficient at work if you plan a routine for your day. Breaks are important too.

Schedule a coffee and a lunch break and try to get outside for one of them if you can, make the most of your government prescribed exercise.

At the very least walk away from the computer, get yourself a drink and a breath of fresh air – you’ll come back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle that to-do list.

5) STOP!

Set your “working” time and only work in that time.

If you have children, share this with them. At the start of each day make a list of things you want to achieve, in order of priority.

At the end of the day, take stock with what you have achieved. Reflect on your successes and prepare for tomorrow.

Most importantly, turn off your computer – this will help you finish work for the day.

6) A breath of fresh air

It’s a no brainer that you’re probably not going to be at your best working from your sofa in front of a Netflix box set. Setting up the right environment when working from home can really help.

  • Set yourself up with a table and a chair
  • Try and work in a room that is well lit
  • Open a window and get some fresh air circulating
  • Ensure you have all the things you need close to hand before you start
  • Try and keep your working area tidy, particularly if you will be video calling any of your clients

7) Give yourself a break

Whether you are in lockdown or you are a key worker, this is a time of unprecedent change and stress on many people across the country.

Be aware of your own well-being.

Take time to do something for you – something you enjoy doing.

Perhaps read your favourite book; go on a bike ride; watch a film; turn your hand to learning something new; start a new project… (or if your anything like me… finish one you’ve already started!).

Be kind to yourself, it’s not easy for anyone!

8) Someone else can do that

There are some physical tasks that just can’t be done on the computer… or can they.

Putting letters in envelopes and dropping them at the post box certainly seems like something you have to do in person but there is another, better alternative (even if you’re not working from home).

Postworks is an online franking service where you can upload and send your letters from home without the use of printers, stamps or envelopes.

Simply upload your letter to Postworks Cloud and they will send your letter for you. Even better, this actually works out cheaper and faster than using stamps or a franking machine.

Postworks starter plan is free to use (with no contracts and no tie-in) and they even give you £5 credit to try it for free!

There are no minimum volumes and so is perfect for small and large businesses alike.

Contact the team on 0370 334 1516 for a walkthrough of Postworks to see how easily you can save time and money.

Most of all – remember, this isn’t going to last forever.

Stay home and stay safe.

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