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8 top tips for remote working
As a result of Coronavirus, many have had to learn how to adjust to remote working. Whilst there are certainly challenges with it, there can also be benefits if you're able to work remotely in a safe, effective way. Looking at a number of sources, we have compiled a list of top tips for remote working, for the lockdown period and beyond.
1. Take some time setting up your workspace - and maintaining it!
Firstly, it is important you set yourself up for remote working success by taking a bit of time deciding where you are going to work and making the space comfortable and appealing. If there are other people in the house, try find a space where you can work without being disturbed, which we know can be easier said than done! At the same time, please don’t worry if a child, family member or pet does make their way into the background of a call. Aside from the fact that we’re all human, such things can actually help build relationships with your colleagues.
Secondly, it is especially important to ensure that your setup is not going to be detrimental to your health and that you can maintain working in the environment, especially if working from home will be a more regular feature of your working life.
To do so, here are a few simple tips:
Make sure that you are sitting at a ‘desk’. Some are lucky enough to have an office or a study at home with a purpose built desk designed for working at. For others, a low reflectance kitchen or dining table are just as good. It needs to be a hard surface, with room for all of your equipment, enabling you to follow all the other guidance in the picture above and the sections below. Make sure you have enough room under the desk for you to make postural changes when you need to, and that you don’t fill the space up with obstacles!
You need to be sitting on a stable, adjustable chair which allows you comfort and freedom of movement. Again, some are lucky enough to have an ergonomically designed, adjustable chair. For those who don’t, a chair that you have at home already, such as a dining chair, can be adjusted so that it is fit for purpose and provides comfort. Use a cushion if you need to be slightly higher or need some lumber support. And use a footrest if needed to ensure your feet are flat and legs are bent at a 90 degree angle.
Screens need to be raised to a height whereby your line of sight reaches the top of the screen. Screen height can be adjusted by using height adjustment devices, or a solid block that achieves a comfortable height.
Your keyboard needs to be in an appropriate position on your desk so that you have enough space in front of it to support your hands and wrists. The keyboard should tilt upwards towards the back, and be separate from the screen.
2. Visual communication
As you are no longer in the same physical space as your colleagues, you should try to use video-calling facilities wherever possible to maintain regular contact. A lot of people find they are more productive at home as you can get the answers to your questions straight away rather than waiting for someone to reply to an email. It is also a great way to build relationships, a video call from home potentially with a pet or child interruption can build stronger relationships with customers who are probably in a similar position.
3. Get dressed
Psychologically prepare yourself to start work by having a shower and getting dressed for work! Whilst it probably isn’t necessary to adhere to an office dress code, it’s good to maintain the feeling of normality so try to get dressed into something other than your pyjamas- whilst remaining as comfortable as possible!
4. Establish boundaries- really important
It is very easy for work and home to blend. It is really important you try to stick to your hours of work. Where possible be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in the office and finish your day at the same time.
It is important to develop a habit of setting a time when you officially “log off” for the night. At the end of the day, it's best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items.
5. Lunch and coffee breaks
Throughout the day you should take short, frequent breaks from your screen and keyboard, rather than longer, occasional breaks. Taking a break when performance and productivity is still high is more beneficial for you than taking a break to recover from fatigue.
And make sure that you take a lunch break. Studies show that taking a lunch break allows your mind to rest, recharge and refocus, which can directly improve your productivity for the rest of the day. Also, to get more social interaction with your colleagues, how about having virtual lunch breaks with your team once or twice a week?
6. Get some fresh air
Without breaking the government guidelines of course! Fresh air is so good for you, how about going outside for a walk at the same time that you would normally be doing your morning commute to work to focus your brain on the day ahead. If you are struggling with some wok or to focus, get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy the fresh air.
7. Take time for self-care
When the line between “work” and “home” starts to blur, you might find yourself stuck to your computer screen for a longer period of time. Try adding regular fitness, meditation, snack times, reading into your schedule so that you can be focused and productive when you need to be.
8. Change your position
If you have an important phone call to make to a client try standing up, this helps to change your mindset and get you ready for the call. Also it is good to give your back a break every now and then so try and find a higher surface in your house, maybe a kitchen worktop and work standing up for part of the day.
As it is important that you take regular breaks throughout the day, setting an alert on your email calendar acts as a good reminder to stand up, stretch and move about. The NHS has a number of resources available to provide information on a number of simple exercises you can do to stretch your back, neck and shoulders.
The NHS Gym Free Exercise Guides are available here (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/gym-free-workouts/)
Other links to review
You may also find some of the following links interesting too, in terms of adjusting to working from home:
- How to reduce procrastination when working from home
- Remote working Tips from LinkedIn
- Working from home tips from Harvard Business Review
- How to avoid stress from CBS This Morning
- HuffPost Productivity expert Holland Haiis gives tips on how to work from home without letting your productivity or well-being suffer.
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