While the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged governments and businesses to mandate working from home in many countries, the concept has already bedded into many offices’ working practices for a few years now.
Despite this, for many people it’s a totally new concept and can be a daunting change of pace for those used to heading into the office on a daily basis, However, for those of us this is new to, there are several things you can do to ensure you are creating the best possible environment at home, in order to be just as productive as you are in the office.
Connectivity is key when working from home so you can talk to your colleagues and have access to files and all necessary resources online. It is therefore essential that you have a robust Internet connection either from your home broadband connection or by toggling a wi-fi hotspot from your phone.
To access your files your employer will have either given you VPN credentials, which mean you can access all your files stored on the office network or, alternatively, you can use platforms that run on The Cloud. Examples of these include Microsoft’s OneDrive or Google Docs, so you and your team can easily work on the document at the same time and changes also save automatically.
It is vital that when you are working with confidential information on your laptop that your Wi-Fi is secured. That means creating a strong password on your home network that can’t easily be hacked by malicious actors. We strongly recommend that you don’t use public Wi-Fi while working from home as this can be a gateway for those looking to intercept your files.
It is also very important that you don’t leave your laptop where it can easily be accessed or stolen and that your login credentials are kept confidential.
While at home it can be easy to create bad postural habits that may lead to problems in the future. To reduce your risk of aches and pains, avoid the temptation to work from bed and set up desk space with a chair. Make sure you can place both feet on the ground, that your neck is straight and that both your elbows and wrists are at a 90-degree angle parallel to the floor. It’s also crucial to avoid eye strain, so if you need glasses or contact lenses remember to wear them. You may also want to change your settings into dark mode.
Looking after your mental and physical health is exceptionally important while working at home, especially if it is for a long period of time. As you don’t pack up to leave the office as normal, it is vital that even when working from home you can mentally clock out. It is a good idea to tidy your work area away for example, and close your laptop once you decide to finish, so you don’t keep checking it throughout the evening.
If you are isolated, open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate and look for simple exercises that can be done at home to keep the blood flowing and joints moving. At lunch, it may be useful to go for a run, do some Yoga/Pilates or go for a walk and get away from the digital world and out of your pyjamas! If exercise isn’t for you, you could also use this time to do other activities, such as hoovering, to get you moving around the house. It is also imperative to remember to stay hydrated.
Finally, try to have fun. Share news and pics with your teammates. Use Emojis, GIFs, and memes to keep the chatter fun and light.
Working from home can make people feel disengaged from what’s going on in the office. A simple remedy is to use online collaboration tools that offer real-time communication with your teams. Popular platforms like Slack, Basecamp and Asana, let you chat with your colleagues, assign tasks and deadlines, and even share documents.
Virtual face-to-face interaction also goes a long way to help everyone feel connected. Therefore, if you are comfortable doing so, try to on video chat during meetings.
We hope you found this post helpful for your period of time working at home. If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. And while you’re here why not check out some of our other posts?
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