Guide for home working employees

Practical tips for employees working remotely through COVID-19.

Government advice is to work from home if you can, which means that in a blink of an eye millions of us are home working. For many home working is not new, it is something you might have been doing for a while, but for others this might be your first experience of working from home. However none of us have lived through anything like this before, none of us know what to expect and this most definitely is not ‘normal’ home working. The current situation is NOT flexible working. This is enforced home-working. It is not a true reflection of the processes and capabilities of flexible working.

This is a big change for everyone, so take a moment, breathe and together we will get through this. We will keep you updated with anything we find that may be useful and helpful to help you successfully work from home.

Here are our top tips for home working during COVID-19.

Be realistic

Be realistic with yourself. Set out your main priorities at the start of the day and anticipate that items which are lower down the list will probably have to wait. Set small specific goals and anything extra you achieve is a bonus.

Talk to your manager

Have an open conversation with your manager about your personal situation, i.e. if you have children at home. During such an uncertain time, it is important to be honest with yourself and those you work with about what is achievable in terms of workload and working hours. Once you have established a schedule that works, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your manager and let them know that you are keen to find a way for this to work for both of you. But remember to accept things will change.

Be social

Keep in contact with colleagues making use of all the great technology we have at our fingertips. This is especially important if you live alone. There are also platforms for employees and freelancers who would like to connect with those in similar industry sectors or roles.

Establish your optimal way of working

While there might be some restrictions around the hours you can work due to business needs or caring responsibilities, working at home does give more opportunity to work in a way that best suits you. For example, you can be super creative at 7am but flag by mid-afternoon. Or you might find that working in short bursts works for you. Take time to experiment and find your optimal way without the confines of Monday to Friday 9-5.

Don’t over communicate

Be mindful that working from home can sometimes lead to overcommunication – more emails, Slacks, Whatsapps than ever before. The need to reply and respond to all these can stall time in completing projects. Split your work time between proactive and reactive. React to communications but ensure you are proactive and make sufficient time to get your work done.

Manage work with childcare

If you are combining home work with looking after your children you need to plan and schedule, breaking your day into manageable chunks of work, children and other responsibilities. But also accept things will change and try not to stress if you need to adapt the plan. Having a daily schedule will help you to stay focused and output focused. And if you live with a partner and or older children make sure everyone is pitching in and sharing the load.

Look after your health and well being

There are a lot of great hints and tips out there (see links below) about staying well when working at home, here are some of our favourites.

  • Take regular breaks
  • Go for a walk or run and If you can and if you are self-isolating try and do some exercises in the house
  • Communicate and keep in touch with colleagues to avoid loneliness
  • Be mindful of not overworking, which is very common for home workers
  • Switch off and walk away from work at the end of the day and have a dedicated workspace if you have space in your house

Links to good sources of help and information