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Covid-19: Advice & Tips for Employees Working From Home

14th April 2020
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While working from home is the epitome of luxury for many people, enforced remote working has its downsides. From connectivity issues to childcare and distractions, the UK coronavirus lockdown may have left you struggling to adjust to your new working conditions.

To help, here are a few tips from the One Broker team to help you get into the swing of things.

Build a routine

Ask any long-term freelancer and they’ll tell you one thing: routine is everything. Make sure you get out of bed at a regular time and go through your morning routine: perform your ablutions, get dressed and eat breakfast before settling down to work.

Given that you’re unlikely to have a commute, your routine is likely to have room for tweaks and adjustments. Consider using the extra time to do some stretches or a gentle workout to get your blood moving ready for the day ahead.

If you have children at home, make sure you have a regular weekday routine for them too. Not only does this provide structure for their day, but it will also allow you to set boundaries for work time.

Check your setup

It’s easy for the lines between work and home to blur when working remotely; sitting at your desk for ‘five more minutes’ to write an email can mean work eats into your free time.

To help define the boundaries between home and work, create a dedicated working space. Whether it’s at a kitchen table, in the spare room or a make-shift set-up in the garage, it allows you to walk away from work at the end of the day.

Remember that it’s important that your workspace is set up correctly, in order to avoid aches, pains and repetitive strain injury. Check out this NHS guidance to help you get it right.

Take regular breaks

You’re likely to take regular breaks to make drinks and chat with your colleagues when you’re at work. Be sure to punctuate your day with time away from your desk when working from home so you don’t get eye-strain.

Use the time to call a colleague for a catch-up, check in on your pets or put the kettle on. Try not to feel guilty. Your productivity is likely to be higher if you give yourself some downtime.

Move around

Use your breaks to move around. Stretch out any cramped muscles and take a walk between rooms. The NHS also has 10-minute at-home workouts available online if you need inspiration.

Remember: phone calls are also a good opportunity to get a few steps in; take your phone and walk around the house or the garden while you talk.

Try the Pomodoro Technique

Struggling to focus at home? Give the Pomodoro Technique a go. Set a timer and work for 25 minutes with no distractions, then give yourself a five-minute break. Once you’ve done this four times, give yourself a longer break of 20 minutes. Short bursts of work feel more manageable and help you get into a rhythm. You might find that you work for more than 25 minutes once you get into the flow of things.

Minimise distractions

Use online tools to restrict access to distracting websites. There are multiple apps and browser extensions available to block social networks, news and any other site of your choice during the workday. Just Google ‘website blockers’ to find one that works for you.

Schedule face-to-face meetings (online)

Connect with your colleagues using video conferencing software. While it may feel unnatural to begin with, seeing other faces is great for your mental wellbeing. Be sure to share good news and tips, as well as business updates.

Know what’s expected

Working from home can be disruptive, especially if you’re not sure what you need to do. Check in with your managers to get a clear picture of the tasks you’re expected to complete while working remotely.

If your employer is allowing flexible working patterns, it’s important to define which hours you’re expected to work, so there’s no confusion about when you’re contactable and available for meetings.

Flag technical issues

If you’re new to remote working, you may have some teething issues when you get started. Be sure to flag these with your IT teams early. For instance, poor WiFi signal can be overcome with a extender, while it may be possible to enable access to critical systems remotely.

Step up cyber security

The risk of cyber crime has increased in recent weeks, as opportunists seek to take advantage of increased internet use. Not only should you ensure that your virus software is up to date, but be wary of communications from people that you don’t know, or if messages from contacts that sound unusual; their accounts may have been hacked.

Also, any offers that seem too good to be true probably are; anyone offering treatments for coronavirus online, for instance, is likely to be cashing in on public fear.

We want to hear from you!

What are your tips for working from home during the coronavirus lockdown? Share your ideas with us on Twitter for the chance to be retweeted.

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