A useful guide to remote working during the Coronavirus pandemic

With more and more businesses being forced to alter they way they operate we’ve created a series of top tips for how best to adjust to remote working. Whilst this list is not exhaustive we believe it will assist you if you’re reviewing your business continuity during this worrying time. If we can be of any assistance 

1. Maintain your hours – Whilst you may not have the commute to the office and your previous routines, creating a new routine is paramount. You still need to have protected working time in line with your usual working patterns

2. Your Morning routine – You must create a new morning routine which ultimately ends in you at your desk ready for work. Whether this is getting dressed (rather than staying in your pyjamas) or having breakfast and making a coffee make sure you focus on the result of being at your desk ready for work at your designated start time.

3. You need your own space – You must set ground rules from day one with any other people who share your home. If you have children this can be extremely hard as they don’t always realise that you are actually working so set clear rules about what they can and cannot do during these times. Just because you are at home don’t let other people assume they can arrange deliveries, engineers or other trades to visit to conduct work just because you are in!

4. Keep your scheduled breaks – You know what breaks you would be entitled to in the office so make sure you still factor these in to your working day, but only these breaks. Don’t think just because your environment has changed your break allowances have too!

5. Leave your workspace – You don’t have to leave the house but make sure you move away from your desk / workspace. Your body needs to move and fresh air and natural light will do you good.

6. Getting the right equipment – make sure you have the right equipment to allow you to work effectively. Just because you are away from the office doesn’t mean you have to work with a laptop and mobile on the settee. Setup your workstation as if this was your office if your office systems don’t support remote phone access or file access then think about what you need to store locally. If you are usually a telephone answerer then does your office phone system work at your home location?

7. A dedicated workspace – In an ideal world you would have a home office with a dedicated computer for work and a further device for personal use. In reality this may not be possible but make sure when you’re working you are not tempted to browse the internet or catchup on personal tasks. If you do have a home office then try to only use this space for work purposes during this time.

8. Work Calls – If you can’t take your work phone system with you then you must look at setting up a dedicated work phone number. This could be a short term mobile number which is switched off outside of your normal hours or ideally a desktop phone which can operate as if you were in the office and also create less impact on your customer experience.

9. Do you need a VPN – to securely access your company network you may need to implement a VPN. You may need to access securely company servers, systems or files so think about how this may need to be setup.

10. Keeping in contact with colleagues – You may have spent years sitting next to the same person in the office and having built up long term relationships with many of your colleagues. Think about how you will keep nin contact to avoid feeling isolated. Whilst business communications will still go through the usual channels it may well be worth setting up or utilising existing chat channels to keep morale high during this time. Take a look at messenger, whatsapp or other instant messaging solutions

11. Don’t be a stranger – utilise the numerous tools available to you including audio and video conferencing solutions. Just because you can’t currently meet in person doesn’t mean you can’t meet at all!

12. Plan for the future – However grim things may appear at the moment this will come to an end. So plan a gathering for once this period is concluded to refocus the team on the position of the business and what you all need to do to drive the business forward. Out of this pandemic will come opportunities for a new way forward.

13. Are you actually ill? – When you’re ill, report your illness as per your company procedure and take the time to recover. You will be more productive after taking the time to fully recover

14. Overcommunicate – When you are working remotely you are best to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability and if this changes send constant updates. Whaen you’ve finished a task or project let people know.

15. Be Positive – As you may mainly be communicating through written communications the tone of messages can easily be misinterpreted so you must always write these positively, to the point where you may feel you’re being overly positive. It will stop anyone misinterpreting your tone and save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Maybe even start to use emojis in internal comms.

16. Don’t be too hard on yourself – The most successful remote workers I know are extremely disciplined. It will take serious focus for you to adjust from your office environment and routine to getting the job done from an unconventional space. If you are working one minute then looking at clothing sites on the internet the next, don’t immediately reprimand yourself. Instead ask yourself the question “Would I be doing this in the office?” if the answer is yes then cut yourself some slack, if it’s no then you should probably cease this activity and move on with the next work task.

17. Finish your working day – Just as we spoke about creating a routine for the start of your day it is equally as important to create an end of day routine. It may be sending a report to the team or management or as simple as shutting down your PC. Whatever you choose make sure you consistently apply the routine.

18. Make it work for you – Taking in to consideration all of these points make a plan that works for you and your business. If you need assistance then ask for it don’t sit and suffer in silence. Remember that this may well be a temporary solution for your business.