Tips for working at home:
Allocate a workspace at home
Make sure that you have a quiet area at home that you can dedicate to using as a workspace so that you have somewhere to make and take calls without being disrupted by the people you live with. Talk to them about the situation and ask them to respect your work time when you need to be at home. To maintain some ‘normality’ in your working day, it is good to have an allocated work space as if you were at your desk in the office.
Many of you may use ergonomic chairs in the office which help to support your posture. Whilst this may not be available at home, you could substitute with a dining chair and some cushions to stay comfy and support your back and also try to move around a lot so you are not stuck in the same position for too long.
Make sure your screen is at eye level so not to strain your neck and try to sit in a chair where your feet can sit flat on the floor or rest comfortably in front of you to help support sitting up straight. (We are not experts on this and this is just some friendly advice that we have picked up on our journey, best to research this or ask your local physiotherapist or chiropractor for advice tailored to you)
Ensure that you have access to your contacts and that people can easily contact you on the phone
You will want to remain as easily contactable as possible by your colleagues and customers, so ensuring that you have at least your mobile phone or an app that works with your phone system (There are many, we use Horizon and can advise as well as help implement phone systems for you if needed) so that you can regularly stay in touch with everyone.
Alternatively, you can also utilise Whatsapp calls, Skype, Microsoft Teams and apps like Zoom to help you host the conference and video calls. If you work as part of a team, make sure that you work out a rota or communicate when you need to take a break so that you don’t miss important calls.
Structure your time
Make sure that you treat it like any other working day. Start at or just before 9 am (or your preferred office hours) and ensure that you are sat at your workspace and ready to go, as if you were in the office. Set a dedicated lunch break and stick to your routine.
If you don’t already use a digital project management app or software program, try it – it will change your life! This will help you to allocate time to tasks and check off the jobs you have done as you go (which is also really satisfying).
If you are working at home, it is easy to get distracted by many things and get less efficiency out of your day. Again, treat your day like any other working day and be disciplined with your time. Avoid watching TV whilst working, limit your use of social media, try not to get distracted by household chores etc, you can still do these things outside of your normal working hours as usual and need to ensure you are near your phone and computer during working hours.
Make sure you communicate to anyone else in your home, the importance of you not being distracted whilst working. Treat every day at home the same as if you were in the office, taking a set lunch break or even working through lunch and eating where possible!
Take regular short breaks
Although we are emphasising the need to minimise distractions and ensure you remain close to your phone and PC, we still encourage you to take regular short breaks from your computer such as 5 mins to make a drink and go in the garden to get some fresh air and avoid straining your eyes and also stay hydrated, as we know how easy it is to let the time of day run away with you.
It is also good for your posture to move around and do some light stretches to ensure you are not sat down all day.
Communicate with your team or your network regularly
Whilst many of us are working remotely, it is important we use our technology to stay in regular communication and be accountable for our own work, stay on target and also stay motivated. Not only is it important that we have accountability and act responsibly, but we also appreciate how boring it can be to work on your own and we all need to keep each other motivated.
Speak to your colleagues or arrange a time to chat to your network (if you haven’t got one, then maybe set one up by starting a Facebook group or similar to help people stay in contact?) on the phone regularly throughout the day to ensure that you don’t lose focus and importantly, don’t get lonely. It is important to have others to bounce your ideas and thoughts off of, and to ask for advice when you need it. Ask to join your local Facebook business networking group – this is a great resource for mutual referrals too!
We hope that these tips will help you, especially if you are making the transition to working at home having not done it before. Some of our staff find it more practical working at home as they prefer fewer distractions, but everyone is different and if you are one of those that thrive off being with people, just remember the following summary points:
- Regular contact with others – have a specific network and plan ahead to help each other stay motivated
- Reduce distractions
- Utilise technology
- Be accountable for your work
- Plan your day and your week and stick to your plan
If you need any help managing your business communications at this time, feel free to contact us at Blue Bee Solutions and we will be happy to offer advice and any services where possible to help your business maintain some normality and communicate your plans to your customers in these unprecedented times!