The outbreak of corona has led to more than just a lack of toilet roll and soap, it’s also seen a massive increase in the number of people working from home. So, from some seasoned remote workers, here are our top tips on how to work from home.
1. Set the ground rules – Duncan Hamilton, IT Director
It can be easy for people to equate working at home with just being at home and forget about the work part entirely. If you’re going to be working in a house/flat/apartment where there are other people, then set some ground rules. Let them know what you are and aren’t happy with. For example, offering a cup of tea and a quick chat great, but sitting down and watching a film while you’re trying to work not acceptable.
This is especially important if you have people in the house that aren’t also working, young children for example. At home, my children know that if the door is shut, it’s not ok for them to come and disturb me as I’m either on a call or working on something important that needs my full attention.
2. Find your space to avoid distractions – Verity Morrish – Marketing Manager.
Being at home it is very easy to get distracted. Making a cup of tea can turn into emptying the dishwasher. A quick sit down with a cup of tea could easily end up turning into an hour as you get sucked into a TV programme or your book. This would be multiplied if you then add other people also at home with you.
Just like in an office full of people, it is impossible to avoid all distractions. But try to minimise your exposure to them. If you have a dedicated place to work this helps, as you’re able to shut yourself away. Remind yourself that you’re at home working and not there to do all the odd jobs that have been piling up.
I am also a slave to a to-do list. I write one every morning and set myself rewards for ticking a certain number off. Once I’ve done 3 things, I can have a break for a cup of tea, another 3 and add a bit of cake. I find it keeps me focussed.
3. Keep active – Ian Gooden, Executive Chairman
I previously had a very active commute into our London office with a substantial amount of walking. When Chiumento moved to a remote working pattern my activity levels dropped considerably. Whereas a typical London day might have included 10-12,000 steps, a home day could be as few as 2,000. It really isn’t that far from my home office to the kitchen and back. And in that lies a second issue. A home kitchen is full of temptation within easy reach. It is all too easy to increase your calorie intake at exactly the same time as your activity levels drop. The net result is inevitable – weight gain.
It took me a year to work all this out – by which time I’d put on well over a stone in weight and lost fitness too. If you are working from home my top tip is that you need a diet and fitness plan. I tried a lot of things but finally plumped on running three 5Ks a week in my lunch hours to replace the lost steps. And on non-running days I have a strict low-calorie lunch – and no snacking. It has worked and I am now back to my pre-homeworking weight and a lot fitter too (if still carrying more pounds than I’d actually like!).
Obviously, if we end up in lockdown as Italy has, a thrice-weekly run or a trip to the gym won’t be possible. However, don’t just sit in a chair or on your sofa all day. If you’ve some outside space use it or there are lots of online fitness videos to suit all abilities. Doing something to get your heart pumping will help to keep your mind alert and active.
4. Structure your day – Fiona Telford – Career Concierge
With no one there to see it would be very easy for me to start work at 9:30 instead of 9, which could even easier slip to 10am. But this is just a downhill slope to sitting around all day in your pjs! I find that a sense of structure to my day has really helped me with the move to a remote working pattern. I treat my home office as I would any normal office. I get in on time, I have regular breaks and I make sure I take a full lunch hour. It makes home working feel the same as office working. The structure I find goes both ways, it means I work when I am meant to, but stop when I should as well.
5. Communication – Frances Foster – Content Manager
I am a real extrovert and really love being around people. This meant the move to Chiumento and being home-based took a little bit of getting used to. Without any of the normal daily interactions and office chit chat of what you did at the weekend or watched on TV last night, it can be easy to become isolated and feel a bit lonely.
For me talking to people regularly is a must. If you’re part of a team then make sure you have regular communication that isn’t just email or text. I must admit I hated video calls at first, but now they are my preferred method of communicating with the team here. You get to see faces, read expressions, it just feels a more personal way to interact.
As with everything working remotely has it plus and minus points and if it’s a working situation you’re new to, it will take a bit of an adjustment. Just remember whether at home or in the office, working is still working and while there is added flexibility when at home, treat it as you would your office.