It’s Week 7 of remote working for many people in the UK, and by now, we should have had time to adjust, both physically and mentally to our new home office environments. It’s been a gradual process, with lots to get used to and it’s shown us that different people have their own ways of coping, according to their different personalities. For some, it’s been an easy transition but for others, working from home has been a challenge both in terms of having a correct home office set up and dealing with the different challenges mentally. As virtual meetings have now taken the place of the boardroom table, we have put together our top tips to successful remote working because it’s important to check in with yourself each week to make sure that you’re ticking each one off and doing all that you can to be as productive as possible.
Separate work life from home life
This is easier said than done but it’s so important to make sure that work and home routines don’t mingle too much. It’s a good idea to keep to your usual morning routine just as if you were going to the office. Resist the temptation to have a lie in! With that time that you’d usually be spending commuting, maybe add some exercise or mindfulness to your morning or evening routines. Stick to your usual office hours and make sure you log off properly at the end of the day. As much as possible, treat your working day as if you were in the office. Plan your day and stick to the plan. Try to avoid distractions in the home. That means no putting the washing on or doing a bit of tidying up and definitely no fridge picking!
Have a set workspace at home
If you have space at home to make an area which is solely for work, this will keep the work and home life balance easier for you. It could be that you’re working out of a spare room or maybe you have a shed in the garden that you’ve adapted or have set up an office in the kitchen. Wherever you’re working, it’s important to focus on ergonomics and make sure that you’re as comfortable as possible at your new workstation. Having a comfortable chair and a table or desk at the correct height will help to keep tension from building in your neck, back and shoulders. If you have the space, set up a secondary work area that you can take your laptop or notebook to and this will give you a change of scenery if you need it.
Make the most of technology
The main reason that remote working has been so effective is because we are spoilt for choice with technology. Companies who didn’t before, have now embraced the technological advantages of working in the Cloud which has meant that employees have largely been able to carry on working with business as usual. Meetings have gone ahead via video conferencing apps and teams have continued to connect and collaborate with each other. This new normal will undoubtedly pave the way for increased requests for remote working once lockdown restrictions are lifted but for the time being, don’t fight this new format, upgrade your WiFi connection if you can and embrace technology – it has been our saving grace these past few weeks!
Don’t be lonely
Here’s another reason to use that technology! It’s really important that you stay in regular contact with your colleagues throughout the day. The office banter will be missing from your day, but you can easily replace it by keeping up to date with each other via chat messages. Schedule remote coffee breaks with your teammates at set times each day so that you’re sticking to the usual chat times too. You could also video call for lunchtime yoga or meditation sessions or put a time in the calendar to share a beer after work on Friday. Just keeping to the usual routine will help you adapt and focus plus you’ll have something to look forward to as well!
Look after yourself
Last but by no means least. If you look after yourself, you will most likely find adapting to the new working regime easier. Try practising mindfulness, just ten minutes a day is all you need to block out distractions and focus on the present moment. Now that restrictions have been lifted for outdoor exercise, you’ll be able to benefit from getting outside more than once a day. This could be a gentle walk at the beginning of the day or a stress-busting run at the end of the day. Whichever you choose, it’s a great way to stretch your legs, get your heart rate up and enjoy being outdoors, even if it’s raining! During the day, make sure you’re moving enough – try to do this every hour. Make a cup of tea or coffee, walk around the garden or run up and down the stairs – any of these will help to keep you motivated and focused.