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Tips for everyone when getting started with remote working

These tips are useful for everyone starting to engage in remote working:

Routine, balance and boundaries: It’s easy for work and home life to merge if your home suddenly becomes your workplace. Start by setting up a routine to help you mentally engage with work, and then help you to mentally detach afterwards. Set a start time and an end time for work, like working your normal shift. Get dressed and remember it’s ok to dress more casually. Find a dedicated workspace such as an office or spare room where you can physically close the door behind you after you finish working to help you detach at the end of the day.

Stay connected: It can feel overwhelming and lonely at first, especially when you are used to working in a busy team. Make time to personally check-in with everyone in your team on a one-to-one basis. Pick up the phone or use technology. Try video calls over a cup of tea like a normal meeting. Remember to ask how other people are, in addition to focusing on work tasks.

Reframe your role: It can be challenging at first as your sense of purpose and belonging to your team has changed overnight. You may not be able to do all the things you used to, and you may feel a little lost or frustrated. This is to normal. Focus on what you can do and what your role can become, what’s manageable and what’s realistic. It may mean being a little bit more flexible. Work this through with your manager and agree your new priorities as soon as you can.

Set goals and to-do lists: Setting goals or simple to-do lists helps to keep you motivated. Celebrate achieving these goals, no matter how big or small. This will give you a positive sense of accomplishment when adjusting to your new way of working.

Taking breaks: It can be very easy to sit in your chair all day, which isn’t good for your mental and physical wellbeing. It’s important to take regular breaks to engage in short mental and physical distractions to re-energise you. Build a diversity of things to break-up your new routine and it’s ok to do ‘home based’ activities, for example: put the washing on, do an online workout video, check in with your family, engage in a mindfulness activity, help the children with their schoolwork.

Balancing home-life responsibilities: It’s likely that there will be others in your household with you, and they are important too. Your partner may be working from home, or you may have childcare or other caring responsibilities. You may feel overwhelmed at first when trying to balance work with home-life. It’s ok to feel this way whilst you adjust. Sit down with everyone who shares your home and openly discuss how you are going to make this work together and consider developing a ‘shared routine’.

Being distracted from loneliness: Without our colleagues for company and motivation, our minds may become more easily distracted and lose focus. This may be harder if you don’t share your home with anyone else. Try putting the radio on or listening to music, as these background distractions will help you to feel less lonely and enable you to focus better on your work. If you do have others living with you at home, make sure to build regular breaks together to stay connected as part of your shared routine.

Equipment and well-being: You may not have the same available equipment as you do in your usual workplace, such as an office chair, desk and display screen. It’s important to ensure that you set up your home workplace as best you can to keep you healthy. Speak to your manager to see what organisational support is available for this. If it’s difficult to find a comfortable desk and chair, consider taking extra breaks, doing exercise and doing stretches to keep physically fit.

Ask for support: We are stronger together and remember you are not alone. If you feel like you need more support, reach out to your colleagues and your manager.

2 replies on “Tips for everyone when getting started with remote working”

  • I set my tasks out at the beginning of a working day and tick them off as completed. I also allow for comfort breaks as I suffer from arthritis – actually small household tasks ensure that you move away from your computer/desk/chair and move and stretch your body. I have found that making sure that you take a proper lunch break in another room also gives you time to relax and I read whilst having my lunch to engage my mind differently from work. The last important thing to do is to switch off your computer and stop working at your normal work finishing time – keeping to a balanced well defined work/personal split is healthy and gives you time to unwind and enjoy your personal time. You will be refreshed for work the next day!

    Val Subscriber
  • This is absolutely great advice. Some of the advice, we have worked out and arrived at for ourselves and yet it is reassuring and affirming to see it written down. Previously I would have felt guilty for leaving my ‘desk’ to hang the washing out. It’s so important for our health to avoid sitting all day. I try to alternate from kitchen table to kitchen worktop where I stand up.

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