How to work from home effectively during the Coronavirus

10th March 2020

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With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) taking hold of more countries and forcing workers to self isolate, the need to work from home effectively becomes increasingly important. Of course not everyone is able to work from home such as hospital staff, factory workers or if you’re in the hospitality trade but for the lucky ones that only need a laptop and an internet connection to keep their business going, things can be pretty simple. We look at the key ingredients to ensure you are working from home effectively

Find a space to work

You may be tempted to grab your laptop and plonk yourself in front of the TV with ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ on in the background but it’s good idea from the very start to find a space to call your own. If possible, convert a spare bedroom into a home office or at the very least, find a quiet corner in a suitable room to setup a desk and give yourself plenty of space for your essentials.

Gather some office essentials

Gather all of the items you will need for a successful work day. Grab your favourite mug, your pen, notepad and sticky notes. Have everything you need close by. Treat your work space like you would as though you were at the office. Keep everything neat and tidy and make sure you organise all your important documents. And if you’re self-isolating, don’t forget the hand sanitiser!

Create a schedule

It’s great to create a daily schedule and stick to it. Decide what time you are going to start working, what time lunch is and what time you can switch off. It’s usually easiest to work as you would at the office. So if you work 9-5, do that at home too! If you usually take your lunch at 1pm, get yourself out and walk the dog for an hour. Or if you’re self isolating, try and get out in the garden at the very least.

Fast Internet

It’s no good working from home without any internet so make sure you have this all ready and setup before you start. If you can, upgrade your speed even if it’s temporary as this will improve things drastically. Especially if you are on regular broadband and increase it to Fibre. You want to try and make the experience of working from home as smooth a transition as possible so a good, fast internet connection is a must. If Fibre isn’t available, look into getting a 4G dongle which you can pickup from most mobile phone operators such as O2, Three or Vodafone. This will give you faster speeds than regular broadband.

Communication Tools

Once you have the internet sorted, it’s time to think about how you’re going to communicate with clients as well as your colleagues. Email is the obvious choice and a simple phone call is never a bad idea. You can also look into calling over the internet which could save on your phone bill with apps such as FaceTime and Skype. You may also need something a little more instant than email where you can have a proper one to one chat with someone similar to the days of MSN Messenger. There are some great tools out there for this too with our favourite for business being Slack. It allows you to have private discussions with colleagues as well as invite them to a particular group, say for certain projects you are collaborating on.

Software

Once you finally sit down to do some work, it’s good to know that you are ready to open all of the documents you usually would at the office. With this in mind, make a list of all of the software you use and install it on your laptop. A lot of apps now allow you to install it on both a work computer as well as a personal laptop so look into this first before buying an additional licenses. Or if you aren’t using it at the office, you may be able to move the license for that particular software to your laptop while you work from home. Try and make your home laptop feel exactly the same as your work computer to ensure you can concentrate on the day ahead rather than get frustrated because there is something else you have to install!

Take regular breaks

Very important. Take regular breaks. It might sound like an obvious one but once you find your ‘safe space’ and are ploughing through your work without any distractions, you sometimes simply forget how long you have been working and a couple of hours can go by before you know. It’s good for productivity but you may burn yourself out pretty quickly so it’s good to remember to take little breaks throughout the day. Maybe set an alarm for mid-morning and then again mid-afternoon and pop to the kitchen for a cuppa or to let the cat out.

Remember to eat

You will have probably seen many photos of supermarket shelves empty with essentials. Thankfully, this seems to be getting corrected with rations introduced now on the most popular items. With this in mind, there shouldn’t be any need to stockpile food or supplies as they will be readily available and as you are working from home now, you can take advantage of online delivery! If you have made a schedule, you should be having a proper lunchtime. It can be as long as you usually take at work so doesn’t have to be extended. Just long enough to sit down and eat something away from your desk. Pop the TV on for half an hour or sit in the garden and eat your lunch if the weather is nice. Just get away from your desk and take your mind off work for a little while and enjoy your lunch. You could also have a light snack mid-afternoon too for a little boost. Fruit is great or some nuts. Or if you prefer, have some chocolate. Just don’t eat it everyday!

Drink plenty of water

Drinking plenty of water is important to keep you hydrated and will also help your concentration levels. If you are like me and drink a lot of coffee throughout the day, having a glass of water always available nearby helps as it’s easy to forget. You can also get those water bottles that show the amount of water you should be drinking on the side. This allows you to keep a track and a gentle reminder when it’s time to fill up.

Learn to switch off

Finally, once the work day is over, it’s a good idea to switch off. Once the bell rings at 5pm (or whatever time you have chosen to work until), save your work, close your computer and shut the door to the study and forget about work until tomorrow. Go downstairs and spend time with the family, play with the kids and dog, make dinner and chill out. It’s good to try and turn off email notifications on your phone too, or mute them after a certain time. Pretend you have just left the office.

For more help and support with working from home including giving your own website a boost, get in touch with us today by calling 07882 791689 or email us at hello@debut.studio

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