In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, a significant amount of the UK workforce is adjusting to life working from home. Whether you’ve set up a make-shift office in the shed, are jammed onto the kitchen table with three housemates, or are juggling unexpected family time mixed with an increased workload, we have put together some tips and hacks to help you to maximise efficient working from home.
Upskilling and finding new hobbies
Adjusting to working from home will bring with it teething problems. It is important to stick to several best practices, to ensure you can work as efficiently as possible.
In this new normal, it can be hard not to feel like every day is a Sunday, taking tips from the BBC and Ana Milicevic writing for The Drum, make sure you differentiate the working day to the evening, and the weekday to the weekend.
Get dressed every morning, establish a working space that is different to your ‘relaxing space’ and clean this working space every day. Put off sitting on the sofa for as long as you can, if you have children, arrange care in shifts.
Have a routine and diligently plan your days
Our minds are used to the routine of work, whilst it is nice to have some respite from packed commutes, we are used to having this time to ‘wake up’. While you adjust to working from home, create your own routine; whether this is working out in the morning or going for a walk to mark the end of your workday. Communicate clearly with your team when you are ‘working’ and ‘clocked off’ and make sure the two don’t blur.
Plan your working day, even more than you would do in your office, if it helps, block out your calendar with 30-minute slots allocated to a task, a meeting or a break.
As the BBC put it, ‘crank up the communication’. During this time, we will all be missing the interaction of the office, ensure you book in several face-to-face calls a day, whether it’s a meeting or just catching up with someone from the office.
Likewise, as much as possible, try to facilitate opportunities for the company to get together virtually to socialise. Culture is crucial, try to ensure that your company culture continues even at home and provides opportunities which are inclusive for everyone. At TIPi Group we have taken our weekly yoga sessions virtual, we have implemented group catch ups with our CEO and are running evening training sessions which range from coding to baking.
As a manager, make sure everyone is active and present on calls and check in with them to evaluate how well your working from home strategy is working and also to make sure they are coping.
During this period, we are not only adjusting to new ways of working, but also coping with the current global pandemic, which can cause stress and anxiety.
Mind recommends a number of things to optimise workplace wellbeing, including coping strategies for maintaining a positive work/life balance and creating Wellness Action Plans within your teams.
Physical exercise is important, studies show the correlation between physical exercise and mental wellness, and as many of us are watching our step counts dwindle away as we no longer walk around the cities, it is important to incorporate exercise into your routine. Try to get out once a day for a walk or a run to get your blood pumping.
If walking or running isn’t your thing, in our new virtual existence, there are whole host of free options at our fingertips. Yoga can be a great stress buster, and YouTube is a great place to find free Yoga classes. Try Yoga with Adrianne or Catt Meffan. Likewise, PTs such as Joe Wicks have taken the country by storm, providing free exercise classes for all ages.
Finally, studies by medical health professionals have proven the healing value of laughter. Humour, can be great for soothing nerves, and decreasing stress hormones, so make sure there is some comedic relief in your life, whether through your friends or your favourite TV show.
Upskilling and finding new hobbies
The world has gone into lockdown, and while we plan our new routines, allocating time for upskilling can be a great way to engage your mind and differentiate between work and free time while adding to your skillset.
Here are a couple you can try:
Udemy – From Phython Bootcamp, to learning Photoshop and InDesign, Udemy offers online courses for upskilling which are very affordable.
Duolingo – is a fantastic online language learning tool. You can access it for free and classes can be as short as three minutes. It’s the perfect way to wake up your brain in the morning or to break for lunch.
Code Academy – learn to code for free with programmes run by Code Academy. Master the tools of web development or build new skills in data science through learning how to use Python and SQL.
Finding new hobbies
Likewise, it’s a great time to pick up a new hobby, with many restaurants, writers and creatives offering free learning opportunities.
Instagram has become a fantastic resource base here, with chefs such as Michelin Star Massimo Bottura is offering cooking classes, writer Rupi Kaur offering free writing and poetry lessons and artist Grayson Perry set to start broadcasting art classes on Channel 4.
We are all doing our best
Granted, there are a lot of fantastic opportunities to utilise spare time whilst we are staying at home, however, it is just as vital to be kind to yourself. Moments of respite, whether that is from childcare, or hectic work schedules or even just from all the quality time we are having with our housemates and family don’t have to be filled with an activity, sometimes self-care takes precedent.
With that being said, if you need some help, there are many great apps like Headspace and Mindscape to help you take five.
Sharing the love
Just as laughter is important for stress-busting, it’s important to stay positive, not just to keep morale up amongst colleagues, but to support each other through this uncertain time. Within your working context, set up groups to share inspiring stories, in our case, we run a daily stand-up where staff members can talk about a campaign or story they loved and have created a slack channel dedicated to positive, funny or inspiring news.
Thank you for reading our Working from home blog, we hope that it provides some guidance and inspiration for our new collective context. We have published a number of blogs in response to the COVID-19 crisis, to find out why millennial’s are falling back in love with social media, or get insights on Search Behaviour, explore the ROAST blog.
*This list has been put together from a range of authoritative sources, as well as tips from our very own employees who have had individual experiences with sustained WFH.