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Workthere’s guide to remote working

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15/5/2020

While we have seen working remotely increase throughout the office sector over recent years, the current situation and developments surrounding COVID-19 have accelerated this to unprecedented levels with governments around the world requesting and sometimes requiring individuals to work from home for an indefinite period of time. While working remotely provides many benefits including removing the need for commuting and offering increased flexibility, it does present challenges with maintaining productivity levels and staying connected to your wider business. We have put together a short guide with some tips on how to keep you and your business motivated, productive and feeling positive while working from home.

Begin with a routine

It’s important to establish a routine from the get-go when working from home, and trying to maintain your usual schedule of getting up and going to bed can help with this. It can be tempting to overwork, so setting boundaries between work and personal life are important when both are in the same place. Having a proper lunch break and taking time away from your desk is helpful and if possible working in a separate room to where you usually relax can also help to maintain this separation.

Create a desk set-up

Try to create a working setup similar to what you have in the office. Avoid sitting on the sofa or in bed, and if possible sit at a table which can become your dedicated workspace during the day.  Comfort is key as a considerable amount of time will be spent at your new desk setup, so try and find a chair to support your back and help maintain a good posture. 

Stay connected

We’re in this together. Remaining in regular contact with your teams is essential when working remotely, not only to ensure business continuity, but to maintain motivation levels. There are various applications connecting teams together online such as Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom all of which are downloadable on mobile and desktop. These offer an easy way to message individuals or groups, hold voice or video calls with the added ability of screen sharing for when demonstrations are required. Scheduling regular catch ups allows everyone to stay connected, and can be particularly useful for individuals living alone, who will lose the social contact they benefit from in an office environment. At Workthere, we have been having a minimum of three full team meetings per week as well as separate individual check-ins.

Another piece of software for businesses to consider is a VPN (virtual private network), which enables workers to access the company network and share files securely and remotely. There are a number on the market including OpenVPN and NordVPN both of which offer secure ways to ensure your team has access to everything they need and minimize disruption.

Staying productive

Try to create a working setup similar to what you have in the office. Avoid sitting on the sofa or in bed, and if possible sit at a table which can become your dedicated workspace during the day.  Comfort is key as a considerable amount of time will be spent at your new desk setup, so try and find a chair to support your back and help maintain a good posture. 

Stay active

Commuting to work each day is often a good way of getting your daily steps in, which when working from home will significantly reduce. Keeping active is important for both physical and mental health and there are plenty of workouts you can do without even leaving the house. Many fitness instructors have YouTube channels or live Instagram workouts that include a variety of sessions from yoga and Pilates to HiiT to guide you through and keep you motivated.

Get some fresh air everyday (if you can)

It may sound obvious, but it’s important where possible to get fresh air every day, whether that’s taking a walk around your local park or even just going out into the garden (if you have one). Lunchtimes are a good time for this as it ensures you take a proper break and get some all-important vitamin D.  

Turn your house green

This might sound like a less conventional tip, but introducing  plants into your house is an excellent way of improving air quality, and not only are they known for removing carbon dioxide from the air, they also remove harmful pollutants. Last year we put together a useful guide on biophilic design in the office, which ranked some of the best plants on their air enhancing ability, which could be great to incorporate into the home.  

Stay motivated through music

Listening to music may not be for everyone when working, but for some who are accustomed to the buzz of a busy office this can be a good alternative for some background noise. Music can increase motivation and boost your mood. Our survey also identified the genres of music that workers most felt increased productivity, and based on this we put together one sample ultimate playlist to keep you feeling motivated throughout your working day.

Don’t forget to Disconnect

In a world where we can be constantly connected wherever we might be, it is important to take a step back and disconnect your devices during the evenings. Often, when working from home, we over-do the screen time as there are no-in person meetings, so make sure you put your devices down at the appropriate point and pick-up a good book, exercise or doing something else you enjoy that is completely separate to your working life.