Working from home: tips and tricks to establish a new kind of normal
Working from home.
Since March 13, many companies in Ireland have directed their employees to work from home in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.
Staying in your pyjamas and avoiding a rush-hour commute might sound fabulous but there are certain do's and don'ts when it comes to the remote working ideal.
Establishing a routine can be difficult particularly if you're scrabbling for space with housemates, partners and, children all under the one roof.
There's an adjustment period to this new type of normal and thankfully, there are multiple experts who are familiar with remote working and have been practicing it for quite some time.
Here are some tips and tricks you find might helpful in the coming weeks.
Rebecca Newenham is the founder of virtual agency, Get Ahead VA, and she has been working from home for the past ten years. All of the agency's 40 employees do the same so it's fair to say they're experts in how to excel at remote working.
Rebecca recommends tackling the worst job on your to-do list first, setting boundaries and working in 25-minute chunks with a five-minute break, aka the Pomodoro effect.
This time management method helps break work down into intervals and helps manage tasks effectively so that you don't spend too long on any one job, Rebecca finds the Focus Keeper app works well in this instance.
— Rebecca Newenham ☆ (@GetAheadVA) March 17, 2020
Erika Fox of Retro Flame says that being strict is key because there are so many distractions when working from home, this means a daily schedule is important.
It helps you avoid "going with the flow" where you're not really getting anything done, planning your day the night before is best.
Erika also mentions putting your phone in another room as it's the number one procrastination tactic particularly when you have a million and one apps on the go.
Graphic design platform Canva has gone one step further and introduced several measures to facilitate remote working for its employees with Syndey-based employee Lachlan Andrews praising their virtual fitness classes, yoga sessions and stand-up meetings conducted via Zoom.
During my work from home project research, Zoom, a video conferencing service, has been mentioned numerous times as an essential tool for remote working.
Are You Working From Home
Or Organising Events Online?
Here's an updated list of
tools to stay connected.
2. Microsoft Teams
3. Google Hangouts
4. Go To Meeting
8. Webinar Jam
— Keith Keller ?? ? (@KeithKeller) March 12, 2020
It allows you to hold calls, meetings and generally communicate with your team in such a time when physical gatherings aren't an option.
Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are also worth trying out when organising group meetings.
Other tried and tested tips include taking regular breaks and making sure you start and finish at appropriate times. Sign out of the programmes you have been using because otherwise, it's very easy to find yourself answering emails at 9 pm, completely negating any work-life balance you might have had in place previously.
Jo Hyder is a travel consultant with Not Just Travel and she says wearing shoes while working from home is key as it makes all the difference to her mindset.
Having a set lunch is also recommended so that you can take a proper break and of course, planning what you eat so you can avoid snacking sporadically and stick to a healthy diet.
A dedicated workspace is best so while a home office won't be possible for most of us (hello, fellow renters), you can make your kitchen table your own during work hours.
Of course, these are just tips to try and what is beneficial for one person won't always work from another. That said, I've been doing the complete opposite of the above (forgetting to take breaks, working late and snacking at my makeshift desk instead of eating a proper meal) and I already know it's time to change.
There is a wide range of benefits to working from home (fighting Covid-19, more time for you, doing your bit for climate change) and although it might take a while to figure out a successful schedule, we'll get there in the end.