2 April 2020

The working from home survival guide


As working from home becomes the new normal for many workers, it’s important to find a sustainable way to navigate this new, strange, and rather beige world, depending on the colour in your ‘home office’...

For many of us, this change is something that takes some getting used to. You might be sharing more space than you’d like with family members. You might be trying to balance work with childcare. You might be finding it difficult to be productive in an environment associated with your free time.

To stop you from going stir crazy, we’ve put together a list of working from home tips to help you create a whole new way of working that can last the weeks, and maybe months, we’ve got ahead of us.

  • Create a daily work (day) routine to help plan your day around lunchtimes and other breaks.. Being aware of the time available to complete activities uninterrupted provides a timeline and reward (e.g. ‘Break for a Cake!’, snack, etc.), which can prevent you becoming side-tracked by other tasks or losing track of time.  Primarily, you’re allowing for time to look after you and your needs.
  • Arrange a suitable working space with your family or housemates that has minimal distractions. Constantly having people walk past is going to be incredibly hard on your ability to focus.
  • Develop your workspace locations around natural light sources if you can to absorb as much vitamin D as possible.
  • Eat meals and lunches away from your workspace to give you a change of scenery in order to feel less restricted at home. Always ensure that you make time for lunch and stick to this.  Taking regular screen breaks is also beneficial for personal health and safety.
  • Keep yourself hydrated!  Whilst it’s easy to engross yourself in a task, don’t neglect your own personal needs.  This is particularly key at present based on virus protection guidelines.
  • Take regular breaks from your desk.  On a conference call?  Walk with your phone.  Even a trip up or down the stairs, or elsewhere in your home will increase circulation and aid general health.
  • Follow DSE guidelines for a suitable working environment. 
  • Ensure that your team have an idea about your welfare and stay in touch.  Not everyone who works from home does so with other people around so in the interests of self-care, reach out to your co-workers where possible.  Not only does it aid relations, it keeps you safe!
  • Give yourself permission to be away from your phone.  Just because it’s mobile, doesn’t mean you can’t leave it on the desk when you go to make that drink or grab some food. This is one of the hardest things to achieve.  People won’t think you’re taking it easy because you missed a call.  That’s what we call ‘the paranoia of the homeworker’. 
  • Life happens!  We can’t always prepare for what will happen while working in the office and the same is true at home. There may be unexpected occasions or incidents which require immediate attention.  Again, communicating with your line manager and co-workers is key to surviving this new world.
  • Where home deliveries are unavoidable, make every effort to minimise these throughout the day where possible and try to keep them early or late to avoid disruption.
  • Spend the last 15 minutes of every day reviewing what has been completed, what is outstanding and what has come in new.. Plan the following day in terms of priority and impact.  This will help you get a jump start on your day.
  • Ensure you are insured – most insurance companies will allow temporary amendments to Home or Contents policies for c work.  If in doubt, speak with your insurance provider.

With these working from home tips, you can lay down the foundations you’ll need to stay happy and productive whilst working from home.

We’re producing plenty of remote working tips support you during this challenging time, read more below.

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