Working From Home

Working from home is now the new normal for many people not just in the UK but throughout the world due to the Coronavirus. Until recently working from home was seen as a perk or only suitable for certain roles.  This pandemic has shown that alternative methods can be achieved with the use of technology and preparation, as long as employers and employees are practical and sensitive to the situation.  

Britons were informed to self-isolate and practice social distancing due to proximity increasing the spread of Covid-19.  On 23/03/2020 further restrictions were implemented meaning that people can only leave their homes for limited reasons:  when absolutely necessary for food, medicine, work or exercise   Further information can be found here 

Employers should be realistic about what can be achieved at home given these extenuating circumstances, particularly if there are unwell persons in the home or there are childcare responsibilities   There shouldn’t be the expectation to replicate the work environment or output exactly as in the office, that is setting all parties up to fail. Rather be realistic with goals and objectives and regularly keep in contact with colleagues, clients and customers so they are updated.  

Organisations should do all the logistical efforts such as providing workers with required equipment or inform on how you to use own devices for work purposes.  Naturally, workers should get an updated brief on data and information security whilst working from home and how to access to office files through a virtual private network or cloud storage. Employers should also be considerate of mental health and wellbeing at this time and highlight any benefits their organisation has to offer such as an Employee Assistance Programme or signposting to relevant services.

 

Tips

There are numerous articles on how to work well from home and now, how to do so within the scope of the Coronavirus, but the following are our top tips

Set up your work environment

 If you are fortunate to have a dedicated space, that’s great but in a pinch the kitchen table can double as your desk for working hours.  Don’t be tempted to work from the sofa or a bed.  You will be too comfortable, then very uncomfortable – your back will hate it. A suitable chair is a must.

 Replicate the office atmosphere where possible 

Drop in chats in the kitchen can be recreated through instant messaging services for instance Slack, Microsoft Teams or RingCentral GlipReal Time Communication is essential to keep teams engaged and collaborating. Status updates can let you know when your colleagues are available for a catch up and messages can be shared with teams or projects to be read immediately or when available.  Likewise sharing calendars shows when colleagues are in formal meetings and can’t be disturbed.

Utilise technology

Your organisation may already have several programmes that they currently use for collaborative purposes, get up to speed and use them.  Telephone and video conference facilities are essential to keep productive and connected with colleagues, clients and customers, SkypeMicrosoft Teams and Zoom are useful in this regard for face to face catch up with team members or in place of scheduled meetings.

Many of these services are now free or at a reduced cost to assist with these challenging times.  Additionally, productivity tools can allow you to work together on the same documents in real time or use a virtual whiteboard for thought sharing as if in a face to face meeting.

 

Finally, find out what works for you.  If you can work productively in your pyjamas or to get going you need to dress as if you were at work, then do so.  If logistically, early morning or late nights work better for you, then let your employer know and communicate with the rest of your team.  Ultimately the goal isn’t being at your desk from 9-5, but rather getting the work done.

Smart Consult provides our predominately agile workers suitable technology to enable our organisation to provide solutions for clients irrespective of our location. Our full services are available remotely.

If you need any further advice on working from home effectively, then contact Smart Consult today, we would be happy to assist

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