We are fundamentally social beings so working from home can feel quite unnatural. So it’s important to remember that if you are normally office-based, you won’t be working from home forever. While you are, here are some easy things that you can do to remain productive and positive:
Tip 1: Good communication is key
Whilst working at home, every hour, it’s good to communicate with your manager to let them know how you are, share any concerns you have, be it system drop outs or how working from home is making you feel. Having a virtual floor walker (someone to contact if you need support) is a great idea. It’s important to not guess what to do if unsure, but ask for support just like you would do in the office environment. By adopting good communication and talking with others, this will give you energy and help stop feelings of isolation.
“If you now find yourself with other family members in the house, work out a solution for internet access that won’t interfere with your work. We are using an old android phone as a wifi hotspot with a pay-as-you-go SIM. It provides plenty of broadband for my son to do his school work and video chat with his friends”
Denise, Sensée HomeAgent
Tip 2: Get into a regular daily routine
OK, so you’re not having to commute into the office. But you should still prepare for the day in the usual way. Make sure you leave sufficient time not only for breakfast but also for your other regular morning chores before you start the working day. This will help you to begin your working day calmly, and in a planned way. Moving straight from your bed onto the computer or work calls, could leave you feeling stressed or disorganised.
“Even though I work from home I still ‘walk to work’. So I leave my front door every morning – which ensures no jim jams – and take a brisk mile or two walk around the block. I then arrive at work oxygenated and ready to rock.”
Nick, Sensée HomeAgent
Tip 3: Keep distractions to a minimum
Kids and pets in the house can be a big distraction. So too can friends and other relatives. So let everyone know that, even though you are working from home, you’re unavailable during working hours. As a home-worker, you are in a trusted position, so be mindful of how much time you spend looking at TV and social media – and be wary of information that you pick up that you think may affect your role. It’s the responsibil-ity of your line manager to communicate this information.
“In nice weather I have a sit in the garden or a potter around the block. I live in the Lake District so am lucky because I get to enjoy a wilderness walk within 5 minutes of my house. In the Spring I can watch the lambs being born at the bottom of my garden.”
Janet, Sensée Services Adviser
Tip 4: Ensure you drink plenty!
It’s very important to keep hydrated. So drink lots of water to help maintain mental focus and avoid drinking too much tea and coffee.
“My office (the spare bedroom) is my work life. When I leave it, I treat it as if I’m leaving work.”
Petra, Sensée HomeAgent
Tip 5: If you need it, ask for help
If you or a member of your family are struggling during this time, please ensure you speak with your man-ager or someone you trust. Remember, the text service ‘Shout’ is available on 85258, if you need support simply text ‘Shout’ to 85258, this fantastic resource is available for people who are anxious, worried or stressed
“Working at home has always been easy for me but a lot has changed in the last couple of weeks with my husband now working from home, and my daughter needing to do her school work. It has reinforced the importance of having a separate office area, and not working in your living space. It’s also important to plan a schedule for the day/week to pro-vide structure and get dressed so you can tell yourself you mean business!”
Amanda, Sensée Team Leader
Tip 6: Separate home and work life
Ensure you can effectively switch off from work. Having a dedicated workspace will help in this regard. And when you finish for the day, shut down this workspace. Homeworking doesn’t mean that you don’t have a personal life.
“Journey to work is not just a physical distance to travel but a mental one too. Allow enough time before your shift to prepare for the day ahead.”
Jennifer, Sensée Services Adviser
Tip 7: What to wear
Different organisations will have different rules in this regard but, if you are free to choose what you wear when home working, make sure that you dress for work. For some people, wearing their usual work clothes can help get themselves mentally focused for work. But, whatever you wear, ensure you get dressed! Work-ing in your pyjamas and dressing gown may seem like heaven but the attraction will soon wear off.
“I look in the wardrobe for something that speaks to me.”
Gill, Sensée Services Adviser
“Jim jams can be great, but getting dressed – even into baggy and comfy stuff – helps headspace.”
Kimberley, Sensée home-based Adviser
These home working tips were prepared by Mark Walton and Darron Burness.