Luckily my fellow EvaluAgent team and I have worked remotely for years, so apart from stepping up the video calls (meaning you need to swap your university hoody for a smarter jumper), the recent remote working requests haven’t impacted us much at all.
But that’s not the case for everyone. Some of my friends have reached out to ask for advice. “How do you stay motivated and productive working from home?” It’s completely alien to them to not leave the house at 8:05 every morning and start their commute, not have a catch up over a cuppa in the kitchen at 10:10 and not pop to the vending machine for a sweet treat at 3:30.
So I asked myself, and my team, what advice would you give to someone having to work from home that isn’t used to it? Here’s the best advice we can share. From one remote worker to another.
1. Create a workspace.
Don't work from your bed or sofa. If possible, find somewhere you can set up and ‘leave’ at the end of the day. You need to create a work/life balance and stick to times where possible. Its much easier to achieve this if you can shut a door or pack away and move to a different area of the home.
2. Have a proper work set up.
You need to be comfortable and not have back or neck pain by the end of the day.
James (Senior Product Engineer) suggests "getting a tech set up that looks after your body. If you can, get a keyboard and mouse. This means you can raise your screen to a more comfortable height."
Think about your chair too. Find one with good support and that you can easily sit at for your working day. Some find the lack of office noise more of a distraction, so find a radio station or chilled playlist for the background if needed. Silence lovers, rejoice!
3. Get a routine that sets you up for the day.
It doesn’t sound much, but the idea of rolling out of bed and starting your morning still wearing your pj’s is tempting. Don’t do it.
Dianne (Sales Director) says, "Get up, get washed, get dressed. The secret to long term remote working is having a routine and being organised."
You never know when you might need to jump on a video call! Plus it’s great to get ready for the day and get started on time.
4. Remember to eat properly.
Eating healthy is especially important at the moment, but a proper diet will help keep you alert, motivated and energised.
Matt (Head of Lead Generation) says "Make sure you take a lunch break and make something nice to eat. Remember, you can now eat that random sandwich concoction or smelly pasta without opinion from anyone else! Plus, the money you’re saving on a commute or fancy coffee you normally get at the station can pay for a treat every so often."
5. Stay in touch.
It’s so easy to become trapped in your own world. This can lead to feeling a bit lost, demotivated and very much alone.
Alex (Head of Projects) suggests, "Keep in touch with your colleagues via tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams and if possible use Video calls to feel more engaged with other remote team members."
I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep in contact with people and have real conversations.
6. Take breaks and grab some fresh air if you can.
A different perspective and a well earned break from the computer screen will work wonders.
Graeme (Head of Engineering) recommends, "Make sure to get out for a walk during the work day. The exercise, fresh air and sunlight make a huge difference in remaining sane and being able to concentrate on work."
If outside isn’t an option, at least take regular breaks from your screen. Move around, go make a cuppa, and do some star jumps while the kettle boils.
7. Continue to be a parent.
Find ways that avoid too much disruption but allows you to still be present.
Jaime (CEO) says, "If you have a young family, continue to be a Dad / Mum. Kids don’t understand the whole work thing and definitely don’t understand the home working thing. If they knock and you answer, make sure you get out of work mode ASAP to ensure they never believe work is more important than them."
8. Tell people you’re still working, even though you’re at home.
We’ve all had a family member or friend expect you to be able to answer the door or phone and have a natter at any moment.
Michelle (Business Development Director) says "Just because you’re in the house doesn’t mean you’re sat watching Netflix. Make sure people know you're working and not just having a day off!"
You're not chained to your desk, but why not arrange to call them on your lunch break?
So, have coco pops for lunch if you like. Wear your Star Wars slippers if you like. Do 5 burpees every hour if you like. Wait, who would do that? Basically, make working from home, work for you. From one remote worker to another… Good luck!