For those of us who are able, we have been asked to work from home and that raises a number of different challenges. We’ve put together some top tips for creating a safe, happy and productive working environment – wherever you are!
Make a Routine
For most of us, working from home is a new thing… so it would be very easy to fall into bad habits and roll out of bed 5 minutes before you’re due to start work.
This is the worst thing you could do, not only for your productivity – but also for your sanity!
Try and keep the routine you would usually do when you leave your house to go to work. Whether that’s exercising before work, or getting up to do jobs before you get ready. Still get showered and dressed, have your breakfast and morning coffee all before you sit down at your working station to start your day.
It’s also very easy to slip into becoming an all-day grazer and therefore work through lunch… try and still take your hour lunch break and go out for your daily exercise then, or catch up on some life-admin.
The more you can stick to a routine of some form, the more natural it will feel to work from home and you’ll manage to switch off at the end of the day, ready to enjoy your evening.
Keep it separate & Keep it tidy
Due to 90% of the population now having to work from home, who never have before, and are therefore not likely to have an office to sit in, it’s going to prove relatively difficult to keep your work life separate from your home life.
Try these 3 simple actions –
Every evening when you’ve finished working (especially if you’re working in an area like your lounge or dining room) tidy your work away. Whether it’s just put in a neat pile behind the sofa, or you have a cupboard you can tuck it away in. Out of sight out of mind.
Keep an eye on the time. With the situation we find ourselves in, we are capable of checking emails any hour of the day, jumping on the laptop to do something quick, or responding to texts from our managers late at night or before we’ve even started the working day. Do try to avoid this. Keep your working hours as you would in the office.
It’s likely that your family members and/or partners who live with you are also working from home. Try to work in different environments, or at least far ends of the dining room table! With the intensity that is ‘lockdown’, you want to keep your work separate and still try and enjoy some quality time together during the evenings.
Here at CYAN group we can source a number of different ‘desk-tidy’ items that could help with point 1 – we also cover branded notepads, pens, highlighters or desk tidies, desk calendars, folders and dividers that you could batch order and send off to your team wherever they are working from, to show them that you want to support them in any way that you can.
It’s also really important to note that right now, your team may be feeling quite vulnerable and ‘out of the loop’. As so many businesses have been affected in one way or another, it’s expected that ‘home-workers’ or ‘furloughed staff’ might be feeling nervous about the security of their roles. Make sure you’re keeping them involved in one way or another.
TOP TIP: We wrote another blog last week called ‘The VITALITY of keeping connected’ – be sure to head there after and see if there’s anything you can implement.
Get the right support – Chair, Screen, Mouse, Keyboard
This one might seem pretty obvious but for many, they still aren’t 100% sure about what this setup looks like. So here’s a few pointers in case this is you…
Let’s just say your office is filled with:
Desks and chairs
Laptops/Computers (and the gadgets that go with them – keyboard, mouse etc)
Printers (that scan and copy)
Kitchen supplies (such as coffee and tea)
I’m sure there’s much more, but we will assume these are the basics…
Now let’s ask ourselves the questions
Where are our staff sitting? Do they have a comfortable chair to sit on that supports their back?
Do they have a laptop riser and/or an additional screen so they can set up a workstation like they have here to prevent getting a bad neck?
Have they even taken their work computer with them or are they working on their own laptops?
Do they have access to a printer and ink?
Wouldn’t it be nice to send them some branded coffee to show them how much we are thinking about them (and give them a break on using all their own coffee and tea during work hours)?
Is their internet any good? If not… how might this be affecting their productivity?
Do they have a phone line that they can expense or have they been using their personal mobiles?
Do they have a decent notebook to be making notes in?
It’s very easy to assume people can just do their jobs from home with ease. Perhaps for a week or so, people can ‘make-do’ but we don’t know when this is going to end… so if you’re looking at this list of things and wondering what you might be able to do to support your team’s work setup… we are happy to advise. If we can’t help you then we will push you in the right direction of somewhere that can!
TOP TIP: You can actually buy a CD-ROM that will speed up your internet connection… (See here) You just need to make sure they actually have a CD drive in their laptop/computer… or show them where to get one…
Ask for help
This part of the blog is written with everyone in mind. ASK FOR HELP.
Working from home can become very lonely (and of course it doesn’t help that we aren’t seeing people on a social level either at the moment) so the biggest TIP in the shortest set of words is ‘Ask for help!’
Lean on your team and managers, lean on your customers and your suppliers. We are all in this together and we can all help each other through it.
Whether you’re a home-worker with a really bad workspace set up, or the business owner who wants to do something nice for his/her team, ASK, because right now, you’ll be overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness of everyone around you – despite the difficult circumstances we face.
TOP TIP – could you send some cards out to your clients / customers to see if you can help them with anything… offer to help, so they don’t even have to ask!
This is probably the most common downfall of every home-worker.
When I’m in the office I fill up my water bottle 2 or 3 times throughout the day (it holds 1L)…
… since i’ve been home, (and my water bottle is still sitting on my desk in the office for one) I am drinking far less water because I have to fill up a glass a lot more. So I tend to just sit with an empty glass on my desk.
Here’s one you absolutely can do for your team – send them all a branded water bottle with a sticky note saying ‘just to make sure you’re staying hydrated at your temporary during this mini heatwave’!
Water bottles that have markers on (such as the time of day) are a really good way to get people to drink the right amount of water and stay hydrated.
Check out our water bottle options here – If you want to have a discussion about placing an order for your team, give us a call on 020 8843 8600
TOP TIP – why stop at your team? Why not show your customers or clients some love too? With all this sun we are having at the moment, I’m sure they will appreciate the gesture!
Take a Break
Going back to the first point about setting a routine, make sure you take a break.
It’s very easy to lose the fine balance of work time and spare time, when you’re working out of your home… so do make sure you take the time to have that cuppa mid morning, or go out for your daily walk!
For those of you who want to do something for your team to encourage this, there are lots of options available that you could explore:
Crossword/ Adult Colouring Books
Craft/ Grow Kits
To name but a few. Kit your team out with the right stuff to help them ‘take a break’, and when it’s time to ‘get their head down’ – they will be 100% refreshed and willing to take action!
That’s all for today – If you want to talk to us about ways you can help your clients and staff create a happy workspace and routine during COVID-19, you know where to find us.
And even if you don’t but you’ve got some ideas you’d like to share… let’s have a chat, because right now – a phone conversation has never been so appreciated and valued!
Emma Filby and the CYAN Team