Given the current Coronavirus situation, one big positive is that suddenly many employers want to encourage flexible working and home working.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if this was a real step change, not just a transient option? My hope is that employers will see that working from home can and does work.
We already know that flexible working creates a happier and more productive workforce. More and more employers are using flexible working and home working as a valuable incentive. And in many organisations hot desking is becoming more the norm.
Let’s hope that when the current health situation finishes, all employers will properly see the value of allowing more people to work from home more often. Will this be the genie being released from the bottle?
While I love working ‘in the office’ because there’s nothing like face-to-face contact for developing relationships, building teams, sharing ideas, having fun … I also love being able to work from home. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate in a noisy or busy office.
How to make the most of working from home
If you are asked to work from home in the next few weeks, and you’ve never done it before, here are my top tips:
- Switch off.
Don’t feel you’ve got to ‘prove’ you were working by answering emails long after your normal workday. It’s ok to log off or shut the laptop at the end of the day.
- Test the tools.
If you’ve never used the ‘work from home’ tools before e.g. remote access, Outlook OWA, Zoom, Skype for business … check them out before you need them so you can ask for help before it’s a pulling-my-hair-out-help-me-now” type situation.
- Take breaks.
When you’re in the office, you take breaks naturally. Somebody stops by your desk and asks you about your weekend. You get chatting in the kitchen as you make the coffee. You get up and walk to the printer or the photocopier. Do the same at home … ok don’t talk to yourself but do get up and walk about.
- Get outside.
Do take a proper lunch break and see if you can’t get outside for a brisk walk round the block. It’s amazing how good it feels to get up and move around. It gets your heart pumping, oxygen moving, AND it boosts your creativity and decision-making.
- Unplug your home phone.
If you have a landline or a noisy doorbell, you might want to think about its location and possibly unplug or move, to minimise disruptions when you’re on work calls.
- Get comfortable.
If you’re working on a laptop, make sure you’re sitting comfortably. At a desk or kitchen table. Do you need extra light? Do you need to turn the heating up? Is your back well supported? Are you hunched up over the laptop?
- Think ahead.
Some of us will end up trying to balance working from home with childcare if schools close. How can you make this work? What if both you and your partner are working from home? How will that work? Think ahead and have that conversation in advance.
If you’ve got other top tips on how to make the most of working from home, please do share them.