News / 04.05.20
Until now, many employers have been very reluctant to allow staff to work from home. Mostly because they haven’t felt confident enough to trust them to actually work whilst they are at home. How do they know what is being done? and how can they manage staff they can’t see? Plus, a reluctance to invest in providing the technology they will need.
As a result of COVID 19, social distancing has forced employers to ask their staff to work from home. As such, they have had no choice but to provide the technology and to trust them to work.
Until we have a vaccine, life will not get back to near what it was. So, social distancing and working from home will continue for quite some time to come. It will also continue because employers have provided the technology and realised that they can trust their staff. Employees now have the means to work from home and enjoy the benefits; no commute, a better work life balance, increased productivity, less stress and more flexibility. Employers will also benefit from needing a great deal less office space.
RGB’s Top Tips
1. Use tech to manage your work
A good internet connection makes working remotely easy when it comes to keeping in touch. Our favourite free to use video conferencing software is Zoom, Skype and Google Hangout, which work particularly well when partnered with a good quality webcam. Please see our tips for video meetings here. In terms of keeping connected with your team and managing your workload, why not try something like Trello or Monday – both allow you to brief projects, store important documents, assign tasks to team members and track progress. To bring your office “online”, Slack is a great way to bring your team together virtually no matter where you are working from. Don’t forget to minimise bandwidth stealers, family streaming etc.
2. Establish a routine
Although these trying times means we can be quite flexible with our time, having some kind of structure to your day will get you into “work mode”. To start with, get plenty of sleep and don’t be tempted to stay up late watching Netflix during the week. Wake up at your normal time, shower and get ready for work, dressed into something comfortable - but not pyjamas!
If you’re employed to work a set number of hours, make sure you stick to your start and finish like you normally would. Working from home makes it easy to lose track of time and if you can’t stick to a typical work-life balance, you may find yourself becoming a workaholic and risk burn out. A routine will also help your family and friends to know when they might expect to have your attention.
3. Create a workspace
As tempting as it is to work from your bed or head to your sofa all day, we’ve found that we’re at our best when we have a dedicated workstation. If you don’t have a desk or a private home office, you can use your dining room table and a comfortable chair adjusted so your arms are level with your keyboard. Besides making you feel like you’re at the office, this will help you maintain good posture and avoid distraction. At the end of the day switching off your computer and tidying your workstation will allow you to leave your work behind you.
4. Avoid interruptions & distractions
Make sure that your workspace has the minimum of things that might distract you. Ensure your family and friends know your schedule. Keep pets and children away from you. Have solutions in place for the doorbell etc. Stop notifications from social apps on your devices.
5. Take regular breaks and move
Working from home means that we’re not taking our regular commute or being as mobile as normal, making it easier to sit in front of the computer all day. To maintain concentration levels, it’s important that we schedule in regular breaks and move our bodies. We recommend adding your breaks into your digital diary, so you’re alerted when it’s time to step away from the computer. Try and go out once a day for your daily exercises and get some fresh air – a change of atmosphere will help with mental blocks and give you a boost of energy.
6. Don’t forget your lunch break
Just like taking breaks, it is good to keep your lunch break in your routine. An hour’s break will enable you to recharge, which helps you focus on the afternoon tasks ahead. During your lunch break, try not to eat a huge meal, as it will certainly make you more sluggish in the afternoon.
7. Collaborate with colleagues
We often think that working from home can be lonely, so try having group discussions with your colleagues or fellow industry contacts, such as a morning group call to discuss the day ahead. Particularly at the moment, there are a lot of people who are normally away for the office, so use the time to make contact with them and discuss what you are working on. Also look to join groups of like-minded individuals. Why wait until the next conference (whenever that might be!) to make new contacts? Now is a great time to track them down!
8. Create a great playlist!
We all work with music so why, when working from home, would it be any different? Where your preferred streaming platform is TIDAL, Apple Music or Spotify, spend some time creating a playlist of the right type of music that motivates you and you can find that it helps keep your concentration levels high.
9. Communication is vital!
Working at home with others around you can be really tricky, so try and manage the expectations of others by letting them know what you have on and when you could really do with some peace a quiet for that important call/video conference. It will help relations in the long term!
10. Stay off social media during work hours
Although it might be vital to know what your best mate’s top 10 albums are or to see what they have been cooking the night before, social media can be an enormous time suck, especially when you are on your own. Try to leave it alone and/or remove links or move them off your desktop during working hours. Pictures of good memories are certainly a nice thing to see but can probably wait until after work.
11. During lockdown, look for training opportunities or learn a new skill
Training may have taken a back seat in your workplace since lock-down, but don’t let that stop you from learning something new. Lots of manufacturers and businesses are offering free online training sessions at the moment and we have added many of them to our training diary, so make sure you check it out. If you have the time, take the opportunity to learn a new skill or brush up on your product knowledge.