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12 Tips for Working from Home During the Pandemic

With many companies’ workforces still working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, many of us are having to get used to new ways of doing our jobs. Here are twelve tips from Together to help you manage the WFH life.

Jump to:

Protecting Team Morale

Staying Productive

Juggling Family & Work

Looking After Yourself

Protecting Team Morale

It’s crucial to try to keep team spirits high and continue your camaraderie with colleagues as best you can during these difficult times. Here are some ideas to help you do just that.

1. Overcommunicate

Regular video or audio calls via a platform such as Zoom, Google Hangouts or similar are a great way to stay in touch and catch up with what’s going on with each other, not just at work but at home too. These can take the form of daily or weekly stand-ups or 1:1s, but they don’t have to be a formal as that: 11am tea breaks, personal check-ins with individual team members or ad-hoc chats through the day are just as useful, and much more personal than email. You could even mark the end of the week with virtual drinks or a fun quiz.

2. Be transparent

Your colleagues may be feeling anxious and uncertain, so try to be as transparent as possible, both in terms of keeping people in the loop with company updates and taking the time to appreciate a job well done. Colleague recognition can sometimes fall off the radar when there’s so much going on, but it’s more important than ever to make sure your team feel appreciated.

3. Have fun

When people are working remotely rather than side-by-side in the office, it can be challenging to maintain the same level of social atmosphere to help keep spirits high. Group messaging apps such as WhatsApp can be a great way for your team to share jokes and videos, or compete in fun challenges like guessing the song intro or the name of a film from just a set of emojis.

Staying Productive

Working remotely can remove some distractions but create new ones. Here are some ways to stay productive while working from home.

4. Maintain a routine

Try to keep a structure to your working day even though you’re not leaving the house to go to the office. So still have breakfast, and get showered and dressed each morning for work – having these building blocks in place means that you start the day feeling energised and good about yourself. It can also be useful to have a dedicated area of the house where you work, rather than sitting on the sofa or at the dinner table; that can sometimes make it hard to switch off when you’re in those rooms but not actually working.

5. Split from the socials

With everything that’s going on, it’s natural to want to stay connected and follow the latest updates, both from your social network and the wider world. However, sometimes it’s best to focus on what’s in front of you, and now might be a good time to take a break from your phone and social media – even if it’s just for a few days or evenings a week.

6. Take a break

It might sound counterintuitive, but make sure you take a break now and again when you’re working from home to stay at your most productive. You might find it tempting to sit at your desk to get as much done as you can, but this isn’t good for you physically or mentally, and your concentration will benefit from taking the time to step away from your screen, get some fresh air or go for a walk.

Juggling Family & Work

You (or one of your colleagues) may suddenly be having to wear multiple hats during the working day – parent, teacher and carer as well as doing your actual job. Here are a few ways to help lighten the load.

7. Share ideas

It’s important to remember that you’re not on your own, and other people in your organisation may be dealing with similar circumstances. Getting together on a call or video conference to share thoughts, tips and online resources around the practicalities of working at home while also trying to educate your children or maintain a happy relationship with your partner can be really helpful – and it can be useful to vent if nothing else.

8. Help out your colleagues

If you’re not looking after children or other people while you work from home but your colleagues are, you can help them a lot by being flexible to their new schedules, for example by arranging calls to fit in with their other responsibilities or by offering to pick up smaller tasks that they’d be grateful to take off their plate for now.

9. Remember, you’re only human

These are not perfect times. If your list of daily responsibilities has tripled in length and now includes things you’ve never had to do before – such as lessons in simultaneous equations – do the best you can, but accept that you can’t do everything. There’s still only 24 hours in a day, and you still need sleep to be able to function. Try to put things in perspective, prioritise the important tasks and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Looking After Yourself

It’s more important than it’s ever been to look after your physical and mental health. Here’s a few pointers to help.

10. Keep your brain active

Without the buzz of your office or your commute around you, you might find that you’re feeling sluggish or unstimulated at times in the day. Take time to give your brain a workout – puzzles, crosswords and games are a great alternative to the TV in the evenings, or you could even use free apps such as Duolingo to learn a new language, or Peak to take on daily brainteasers. Another way to keep things fresh could be to try some brand new recipes with the items you have left over in the cupboard or the fridge.

11. Try to get some “me-time”

If you live with others, make time to be alone - normally, you might only be alone on your drive to work and back, but you might miss that personal time without realising it. It doesn't have to be long; just half an hour here and there can make all the difference.

12. Exercise

Try to keep to a fitness routine to stay healthy while you’re working from home. A long walk, a run or a bike ride will get your heart pumping and calories burning, as will a yoga or HIIT session where you can follow someone like Joe Wicks on YouTube. If you’re not sure where to start or you’re looking for inspiration, try the NHS fitness studio.

Do you have any other tips for working from home? Let us know on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.