The dos and don’ts of working from home

PUBLISHED: 06:26 09 June 2020

Try to stick to your normal routine and not get too cosy on the sofa

Try to stick to your normal routine and not get too cosy on the sofa

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Haslers’ business development manager offers her top tips on how to uphold professional standards despite the more relaxed, remote surroundings of home working

Charlotte Fuller is business development manager at Loughton-based Haslers Chartered AccountantsCharlotte Fuller is business development manager at Loughton-based Haslers Chartered Accountants

Do try and stick to a routine. I’m getting up at my usual time, having a cup of tea and breakfast, followed by a shower, so pretty much what I 
did before lockdown. But I’ve now scheduled in an hour of cleaning between 8am and 9am, after which I settle down to my day’s work. I find that by doing the cleaning before starting work I can concentrate better as I’m not distracted thinking about all the things I should be doing, like cleaning the dirty windows or wiping down the coffee table, as it’s already done.

Don’t do working lunches, hunched up over your laptop with a hastily assembled sandwich. Be disciplined about taking a full hour and also a couple of coffee breaks throughout the day. I’ve been using half an hour of my lunch break to meditate in the garden, and I’m finding this really helps to calm my mind and sets me up for the afternoon, when people often experience a slump in their concentration and energy levels.

Do try to stick to the same working hours that you would in the office. For some, I know this will be easier said than done, especially if you are home schooling on top of your usual job, but try and share the additional workload with your partner where possible. Also, while home-working can offer greater flexibility, it’s inconvenient for colleagues if you go AWOL for a few hours during the day – even if you plan to work later to make up for it.

Don’t be tempted to roll out of bed and jump straight in to work without getting up properly. The chances are you’ll still be in your PJs at 3pm, and that’s not good for morale. Also since lockdown, we are all having a lot more departmental video calls, and after personally getting caught short looking rather bedraggled, I now make a point of doing my hair and putting on make up as part of my morning routine.

Do make yourself accessible during working hours. Keep your phone audible and nearby, and be sure to check emails and SMS as frequently as you would at work. Be as equally quick to respond to clients as you are your colleagues.

Don’t be tempted to hit the bottle before 6pm! When the sun is out and you’re sitting in the garden on your lunch break, it would be oh-so-easy to crack open the rosé. But hold out until the working day is done as this isn’t something you would normally do when in the office, and no, the fact that these are unprecdented times is NOT an excuse.

Do stay positive and keep the motivation going. In tense times like these, it could be easy to think, what’s the point? I’ve found that doing some of the odd admin jobs that I normally wouldn’t have time to do has been really beneficial, keeping me more upbeat and focused. Also, why not use the quieter times of your day to focus on increasing your knowledge, perhaps by watching that webinar or online tutorial you’ve been meaning to watch on a subject you need to learn more about.

Don’t set up your children’s home school in the same room that you work in. It’s very easy to get distracted at home by partners and children, so try to set yourself a working space which is quiet and where you won’t end up with crayon marks all over your new marketing strategy.

Do create an hourly agenda of what your day looks like and wherever possible, stick to it. Having a firm structure to your working day will really help you feel less rudderless.

Don’t cut yourself off. Try to join in with any virtual social initiatives implemented by your company. At Haslers, we’ve introduced virtual coffee breaks at 10am and 3pm, where staff can call in and have a chat with their work peers. It did feel a little odd at first, but after a while I think everyone realised it’s a great way to keep in touch with colleagues and to keep up morale. Similarly, the Haslers health and wellbeing team have been scheduling one-to-one calls with employees just to check in and make sure all is okay.

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