WORKING FROM HOME
We are a few weeks into the COVID-19 restrictions and we at ePresence like everyone else are trying to get to terms with the new reality we find ourselves in. We fully support the government’s efforts in managing the spread of the virus and the necessary measures that need to be taken to keep everyone safe. It’s uplifting to see how the whole country has come together to help each other get through this. We believe we will come out of this stronger, but in the meantime, let’s do whatever we can to help support each other through this strange and uncertain time.
From a business point of view, the shift to working from home for a lot of people was a massive one; but employees have risen to the challenge. We have seen people from all different business sectors quickly set up make-shift offices at home almost overnight; people who have had no experience of working from home before.
If you are one of those people you might find this article helpful. Now that you have a couple of weeks under your belt, you are in a better position to see what works for you and what doesn’t, the pitfalls of working from home and areas where you can make practical improvements.
OLDER & WISER | TOP TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
Although at ePresence, our physical office is in the Business Centre in Ballincollig, our business model over the years has allowed us to work from home from time to time (albeit for a shorter period of time). So here are some tips we’ve picked up along the way that may help you improve your comfort and productivity while working from home.
1. TAKE A FRESH LOOK AT YOUR WORKSPACE
You may have quickly setup your workspace just to get you up and running and online fast. This was an achievement in itself, but you can do better now. Take another look at your workspace. Is your area dedicated to work and just for you? By now you will have figured out that sharing doesn’t work. A dedicated workspace for only your work will keep you more focused and you will be able to walk away from it when you are done.
Small adjustments to your space can make a huge difference to your comfort and help keep you positive e.g.
– Is your chair supportive? Avoid future back problems. None of us want to be leaving the house in the current climate or causing unnecessary expense but if you can’t find a better chair replacement at home, you may have to order a supportive chair online to avoid bigger problems later. Take the time and do it now.
– Is your monitor is at the correct level? Use books to raise it to eye level and reduce strain.
– Can you use a full size keyboard and mouse? If you have these available use them, they will be much more comfortable for you and avoids being crunched over your laptop.
– Make sure you are warm. It might seem very obvious but don’t sit at a computer feeling chilly. Cold tends to set in fast when we are not moving/working at a computer. You may need to set the heating to come on more regularly now that you are home more. Consider getting a small heater in your area if you are in a cold part of the house or the most obvious of all, simply wearing a heavier jumper will help make a massive difference to your comfort while working. Keep it on hand at your desk. If you are physically comfortable you will be more productive.
2. REMEMBER TO PLAN YOUR DAY… EVERYDAY.
Keep your Morning Routine
Always start your day on the right foot. Set a routine like any other workday. Get up at a certain time, have your breakfast, wash and dress. This will set you up physically and mentally for the day. If you are new to working at home, you may have already seen the pitfalls of skipping any of those basic steps. Skip a step and you’ll pay for it later!
Make a To-Do List
At the start of your day make a list of your tasks for the day. Write them all down, no matter how small. It might be worth breaking larger tasks into smaller more manageable tasks and then prioritise your work.
Try using your first hour completing simple/fast tasks first, just to knock a few items off your list and give you a sense of achievement. The rest of your day should focus on your more important/critical tasks. Don’t worry if it’s your first time doing this; your list of tasks might look alarming or overwhelming. It will be worth it though, as you will have a clear starting point. In some way also it relieves some of the pressure by actually seeing your jobs in black and white and knowing that nothing is missed.
Lunch & Breaks
Have set times for breaks and lunch. Don’t eat at your desk and don’t skip a meal. Make the effort to create the separation from work and eating and it will pay off. Eat healthy and avoid sugary snacks if you want to be at your best, to keep your energy and get through your workload. Take regular breaks to make tea, to stretch, to get up and walk around. Put a reminder on your phone to alert yourself to move. This breaks the day, keeps your mind focused and also stops your back from breaking!
If you can leave the house at lunch time, take a walk around the block. Just stay away from people and practice social distancing avoiding any busy area while keeping 2 metres from others. If you can’t do this maybe try some exercises in another room at home or get outside to the garden. This will give you a mental break and the fresh air will work wonders.
Keep regular contact with colleagues. This is great mentally as it reminds you that you are not on your own. There are others in the same boat and you can help each other get work done.
Mark tasks as done
Remember to keep your To-Do list handy. When a job is done, mark it as done. Simple, we know but it gives a sense of achievement and progression and you have a clear picture of what you actually achieved during the day which will give you a boost. Tasks that aren’t done at the end of the day will be carried over to tomorrow, remembered and prioritised; allowing you to rest and enjoy the evening. You can only do your best.
3. STAY CONNECTED TO YOUR TEAM
Technology is now your best friend. Communication and productivity rely on it. There are a number of programmes and apps available to make your life a lot easier. Here at ePresence, we use Google Hangouts to get together at 9am every week morning. These sessions are quick and easy going but are a great way to keep seeing each other and updating ourselves on tasks and progress with projects. You might also consider Skype or Zoom for video conference calling.
For document editing and sharing Google Drive is very handy too.
For a few years now for project management we have used Teamwork to assign tasks among team members and keep on track of projects and it’s a great tool however it’s even more important now that we are working remotely from different locations.
4. OTHER TOOLS THAT MAY HELP
We’ve put together a list of other useful resources (from Google Garage).
• 6 tips for better video calls More >
• Tools for better remote working More >
• Staying focused with mindfulness More >
For business owners
• Keeping customers updated with Google My Business More >
• Achieving a balanced and flexible workforce More >
• Running brainstorming sessions remotely More >
ePRESENCE | DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY IN CORK, IRELAND
PROVIDING YOU WITH RELIABLE AND UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE AMID COVID-19
We hope you find this blog useful and that you might get some practical help from it. It may help you adjust and manage your workload effectively and get to grips with working smarter from home.
We will come out of this crisis stronger, more connected and resilient than ever when we support each other. Stay Safe.
Contact us www.epresence.ie or Call 021 236 2901
Gillian Brennan is a Certified Internet Marketing Specialist and has been very successful in creating and maintaining strong relationships with her clients.
With a Computing background from Cork Institute of Technology, Gillian has over 20 years experience in the IT sector.
Working in both Technology and Customer Service capacities, Gillian’s roles included IT Support, Network and Systems Engineering, Computer Retail Management and Training in companies such as Summit Tecnology Inc, BG Turnkey Ltd and Compu B Ltd.
Gillian’s technical ability in the IT area, along with a long history of customer service allow her to understand her clients’ needs and offer both practical and effective online solutions to fit their budget.