a guide to working from home

Posted in Associations by Caroline Kratz

Now that the UK government has enforced a stay at home policy due to the spread of COVID-19, more and more employees across the UK, and indeed the world, have been requested to work from home.

This can be a huge challenge especially if families have limited working space, children to look after (and simultaneously school), or distractions such as pets or noisy, unsympathetic family members.

This is no different from the team at Forum Court Associates, so we’ve devised our top tips for working at home and staying productive during these difficult times.

It may sound obvious but do try and stick to your normal routine. It is tempting to stay in bed a little longer, especially if you don’t have children to wait on or entertain, but getting showered, dressed and eating breakfast before you begin your ‘day in the office’ can help to differentiate your mind from home and work, and mentally prepare you for the day ahead.

Likewise, it may be tempting to reply to emails first thing in the morning from bed, but try and enforce a morning routine before you start your day so there are clear boundaries between your work and homelife.

Try and create a dedicated work space in your home, ideally not your bedroom. Unfortunately, many of us won’t have the luxury of having an office (with a door to shut out any background noise), so try working from the dining room table rather than slumped in front of the sofa with the TV on. Look to make your work space as comfortable as possible and if noise is an issue, try and utilise headphones to cut out any background noise.

Working from home can be incredibly isolating, even if you are allowed to leave the house, so try and pick up the phone to speak to your colleagues to discuss projects and problems, rather than emailing, which can often be a slower process.

At Forum Court, we have a team WhatsApp Group for quick team enquires. We’ve also been testing video conferencing programmes such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, to ensure we always have a daily morning catch up call to discuss tasks, responsibilities and deadlines. This really helps us to maintain a level of working normality.

It’s incredibly important to take regular screen breaks to keep productivity up, so do remember to step away from your work space to stretch your legs, make yourself a drink and take a lunch break, just like you would on a normal working day.

Do also try and get some fresh air throughout the day, where possible. Try going into the garden, walking around the block (at a safe distance from others) or simply having a window open.

Agree with your manager what is realistic for you and what issues you can foresee so they can be potentially prevented. If you do have a baby or children to look after and school, it may not be possible to work a typical 9 – 5 day, so discuss amending working hours or meeting times to when the baby is sleeping or when the kids are watching a film. Also look at the possibility of working more unsociable hours where there are less distractions around.

Once you’ve completed your working day, switch off your computer and allow yourself a clean break from additional screen time and a chance to rest and relax.