26th March 2020
In 2015 it was predicted that 50% of the UK workforce would be working remotely by 2020. Unless someone predicted the coronavirus outbreak and the effect it would have on businesses, then that prediction was probably due to the advances in technology and the demand for flexible working.
Like many people you may have found your self suddenly needing to adapt to working from home, and some of us with young children to entertain or attempt to home-school at the same time!
So how can you do it effectively, remain indispensable to your employer and avoid distractions?
Here are some top tips on how to work from home:
It may be tempting to turn off the alarm and enjoy some extra snoozing time without the need to commute and get into the office before 9am. However, the longer you lounge around, the longer you are putting off working. Your brain is usually much more effective and creative in the mornings.
You don’t need to put on your power suit or high heels, but it can really help put you in the right mindset to work when you are dressed for the occasion. Avoid the temptation to stay in your dressing gown but putting on some comfortable work-wear can make you more productive. Plus – if you do get asked to join a video conference at the last minute, you won’t look like you have just got out of bed.
It isn’t essential to have a home office if space doesn’t allow but ensure that you have a dedicated place to base yourself during this period of home-working. Particularly if you are likely to be working from home for a pro-longed period of time. Do not work from your bed or your sofa. Sitting up at a dining table or kitchen bar is better for your posture and your productivity. If you have a spare room then now may be the time to turn it into a temporary office space for you to work from.
Trust can be an issue when working from home and in these challenging economic times an employer wants to know that they have a key worker continuing to go the extra mile. Whether they have asked you to or not make sure you are logging your hours, tasks completed and keeping in touch regularly with any updates. If you find yourself short of work, then ask for more rather than kicking back. Now is a good time to prove your worth.
Working to a timetable can help you to keep motivated and productive. Ensure that you are taking regular breaks and prioritising your work as you would in the office. Use your Outlook calendar or a paper diary to structure your day.
Keep scrolling for 5 more top tips for working at home…
During your ‘normal’ working day you are likely to go out for lunch, visit a coffee shop or go to an external meeting. Whilst on lockdown or self-isolation you may find it difficult to keep up with your usual routine, but it may be a good idea to get out of the house each day (subject to the latest Government guidance) for some fresh air and a change of scenery.
Make the most of the wonderful technology on offer. There are many different video conferencing facilities to enable face-to-face meetings to happen and maintain some of the social contact within your role.
Plan for the day or week ahead rather than opening your laptop and starring at the screen each morning. Having a plan will keep you motivated and ensure that you are getting the important tasks completed in a timely manner. Understand when and how you work best. There may be a certain time of day that you are more creative or better suited to make your phone calls.
If you find that your workload has decreased due to the impact of the coronavirus (e.g. cancelled events or decrease in sales) then utilise this time to make sure you are top of your game once everything is back to normality. Now may be the time to brush up on some new skills and enrol into an online course. You can catch up on all those tasks that slip off the bottom of your do to list and read all those interesting blog posts that you usually skim over.
Resist the urge to put the TV on or watch box-sets whilst you work. This will distract you. You may find it useful to have some background noise such as the radio playing quietly. Whilst working from home is an ideal opportunity to pop a wash load on or set the dishwasher off, be careful not to get too distracted by housework. Having a planned schedule of work will help.
At the moment it is unclear how long the covid-19 pandemic will affect our working habits. There may be a need to work from home for a pro-longed period of time and following these simple tips should help you to remain focused and productive.
If you have any questions about working from home or your legal rights as an employee during this time then please call our Employment Law Team on 01256 844888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We urge our clients and contacts to stay safe and follow guidelines set out by the Government, WHO and the NHS.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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