Before the COVID, many people have worked from home intermittently, but not many on a full time basis. Whilst there are pros and cons, adjusting to this new way of working life can be challenging. So we’ve created a small guide with some hints and tips to help you manage the transition and set yourself up for success.
Set yourself UP
Try starting day the same way as a normal office working day. Don’t change your alarm, sleep pattern or wake up routines. Get up, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast and get ready for work the same way you would any other day. Don’t just roll out of bed and login! You could use your commuting time to do some a class or take the time for a healthy breakfast. Have a plan for the day and try to stick to it. Let others in the house know what your schedule is, so everyone knows what to expect. This might all sound obvious but having a routine really is helpful. Make sure you log off in the evening at the same time you usually would. And on Fridays, put your laptop away
If you can, choose a well-lit spot that allows you to be alone, concentrate fully and is free from clutter and distraction. We appreciate that in this current situation this may not always be possible, and you may need to negotiate the quiet spot with other people in your household.
Good time management is a must when working from home. Make sure you take short, regular breaks to help clear your mind and factor in some time for exercise, fresh air and time away from your workspace. It’s easy for lines to blur when office and home are the same place, so make sure you keep a good balance, for example by having a work to-do list and a separate home to-do list.
Keep in touch
Keep talking to your colleagues as well other people around you. Not only is this important to stay in touch with the latest work developments, it helps reduce the risk of feeling isolated on lonely. Planning in virtual coffee breaks with colleagues is a great way to do this or arrange a virtual team workout or a jog with a friend.
Health & Wellbeing
You probably haven’t got ergonomic chairs and a sit/stand desk at home! But you can still look after your back following these tips: Use the keyboard in a comfortable position (Your hands should hover over the keys. You should have a bend at your elbow). Make sure your wrist and forearm are supported and place your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your work surface allows you to arrange work equipment comfortably without having to stretch. Try and keep your workspace well ventilated and comfortably lit.
Connect with colleagues
Look out for other team members who may be feeling anxious, exhausted or overwhelmed. Remember the simple power in asking how people are. Practice good meeting habits; be present and pay attention, create and share a meeting agenda before the meeting starts, note down and share actions afterwards. Document more than you would normally. For example, create documents to outline your ideas or align on next steps. Sharing these documents will make sure everyone is on the same page. Communicate how you’re feeling. It’s easy when you’re in the office for people to see you and notice that something is troubling you – take the time to talk to your colleagues.
Setting a daily routine and sticking to it will help you to be as productive as possible, whilst also being able to look after yourself, both physically and mentally. Share your routine with family and colleagues, and support each other to stick to it – but remember we all need to remain flexible at this time. Keep moving and stretch regularly. Schedule in a time to do one of the AHW classes or get out for a walk, run or jog. Eat well – avoid sugary snacks and drink plenty of water. Try to limit caffeine after midday. Remember to prioritise your sleep. Spend some time relaxing before bed, avoid technology, make sure any work equipment or papers are put away at the end of the day so you can switch off properly.
It’s natural to feel concerned and we can all take sensible steps to stay mentally healthy. Limit how much news you read and access. Try to only read the news at set times in the day rather than constantly. Also remember that regular exercise and healthy eating will have a positive impact on your mental health so, where possible, try and continue to exercise regularly. Don't forget you have access to the mindfulness sessions on the class platform and have a go of one of the more holistic classes like Yoga, Pilates and Flex & Flow.
Tips for managers
Schedule regular meetings
Having a few meetings at the same time at regular intervals helps maintain a routine. And having a good routine can help reduce stress.
Make use of multiple communication tools
Think about how your team can get hold of you if there’s an urgent issue, or if they have a quick question. Consider setting up a WhatsApp group if you haven’t done so already. Remember it’s not an official business tool, so keep this light and don’t share any confidential information.
Have clear deliverables
Clarity is key and helping your team understand their role and responsibilities will help keep everyone on track.
Separate work & home
Be mindful of how your own working pattern might be having a negative impact on your team. For example, you may have worked out a rota where you look after the kids in the morning, you swap with your partner, and then your working day starts and finishes later. Have the conversation with your team and make it clear that you are not expecting people to respond to your late-night emails.
Being in the office together means it’s easier to tell if someone in your team isn’t okay by non-verbal clues. These will still be apparent when you’re on the phone or video call, but you’ll need to look a bit harder for them. Build social cohesion at team meetings by all taking a minute in silence together at the start of the meeting. It helps people feel a sense of togetherness.
Health & Safety
We should avoid spending hours in front of a computer, and just like in the office, we should stop for lunch and take a tea break at home. People can often fear that by not being online all day, they could be perceived as not being productive. Show your team that it’s important to take a break.