From motivating remote teams to finding new methods of measuring success, employers and employees will need to navigate this perfect storm as the coronavirus pandemic is set to change the way we work and live. That is, for at least for the foreseeable future. Everyone will need their own solution, but arguably Covid-19 could cause a permanent shift towards home working. You'll need to know how to keep yourself and staff alike happy, motivated and manage their wellbeing.
Adapting to Working from Home
Working from home is can be like starting a whole new job. You'll notice your surroundings are quite different when you're in work mode... and you'll likely notice that once the family pet walks over your keyboard! For many, working from home every once in a while is a luxury, for others a necessity as part of the role. But which environment actually allows us to be more productive: the home office or the office back at HQ? In the office office, your coworkers often pose the greatest threat to keeping you from getting some real, heads-down work done. They drop by your desk, engage you in conversation, and invite you to lunch. The social benefits of a workplace are definitely positive but they can become a challenge if you're easily distracted.
At the home office, however, it's quite possible you become own worst enemy. Because when you're not surrounded by co-workers, your mind can wander and concentration can be harder than you first thought. At the home office, no one's watching. You don't necessarily feel that same peer pressure or obligation to get stuff done.
Similarly with the new notion of 'self-isolation', our working conditions change drastically for the unforeseeable future, it's a shock to the system. What's also important is we ensure everyone protects their mental health whilst working from home.
Remote working has been on the rise for many years, with the option to work from home now an expectation for many employees. With COVID-19 preventative measures being put in places by companies around the globe, it's more pertinent than ever that businesses understand how to properly establish a remote working environment conducive to productivity and customer engagements.
Top 10 Tips for Succesfully Working from Home
So the question is, how best to set up a home office for the short or long term if you’re self-isolating or remote working? These are our top 10 tips to make a success of it:
1. Set aside a specific place to work
Just because you're not working at an office doesn't mean you can't make your front room or kitchen an office. Rather than cooping yourself up in your room or on the sofa -- spaces most often are associated with leisure time -- dedicate a specific room or surface in your home to work. Make your have all the right back support, enough space to operate and the equipment you need to continue as if you were at your normal work space.
2. Choose a set location for you time
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you'll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
#3 Eat and rest when your body gives you a sign
The concept of the office ‘elevensies’ is nothing new, but it can often be a trigger-point for unhealthy snacks which are often consumed with one hand on the computer and a mind racing from task to task. Instead of indulging a sugar rush, providing healthy ‘mindful’ options - those made with better, honest, natural ingredients - which give you the opportunity to grab a few mindful minutes away from the computer screen whilst at home.
#4 Set real working hours (and stick to them)
Though the current climate is a bit hectic, stick to whatever times during the day you would usually eat, break, plan, open emails etc just as if you were in the office, during those same times at home. A simple yet effective way of maintaining routine.
#5 Update your to-do and accomplished list each day
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you wake up and feel ready to work by the time you get to your desk. At home, however, the transition from your pillow to your computer can be much more jarring. Believe it or not, one way to work from home productively is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Don't forget to tick off those to-dos to help provide evidence to yourself and others of your progress. Otherwise, you'll prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
#6 Listen to your body and stop eating when full
Is your urge to eat from hunger? Or is it just boredom? To maintain concentration and productivity identify the craving. Do a quick rundown of possible reasons for those cravings. This will help empower you to brainstorm workable solutions.
#7 Keep in regular contact with other colleagues
This might sound redundant considering how much time we all spend chatting back and forth via emails and instant messaging platforms, but its important to set up suitable communication methods that help employees feel connected with one another. Programmes such as Skype or a daily Zoom call is the next best thing to face-to-face interaction. Block out time for a morning huddle where everyone has 5 minutes to run through the projects they are working, and can raise any issues they are facing. This will help retain a sense of connection and replicate interactions you would normally have back in the office.
#8 Take breaks in their entirety and leave your workspace
Just like above, it's important to set dedicated times and routine, then sticking to them. It's certainly easier to switch off when you leave the office to go home, then when the office is your home! When you start to lose a bit of concentration or feel you're ready for a break, step away and go outside, to another room (or at least away from your workspace) and walk around. A 15-minute break, twice daily, along with lunch should do the trick.
#9 Don’t hesitate to ask for the technology you need
Working from home means a lot of what you need to work effectively will have to come with you. If not, your plan B should include an alternative device – a smartphone or tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, or a spare laptop – and an alternative way of connecting to the office, even if it means using a hotspot or a VPN. Sort out all the log-in and connection details and test it before you actually need it. You probably won’t be able to do much work without an internet connection. Similarly, if you can't work effectively if you don't have the right tool then just ask! There's no point trying to substitute whereas the solution, with the power of technology, will likely exist.
#10 Stay and think positive!
A final important mantra to remind yourself. Uncertain times lead to anxiety and worry for many. But just remember millions of us are working remotely so we're all in this together. Positive minds lead to positive
Wellness Away from Workplace
Wellness can be defined as "the state of being in good health, especially as an actively pursued goal" (Google 2020). Adequate wellness initiatives are essential for businesses to get the best out of their employees. By improving health and well being – productivity, efficiency and performance will be enhanced within the business. Similarly, in such a competitive job market, providing a competitive salary may not help businesses get the edge in finding the best employees these days.
Healthy snacking in the workplace is something that's increasingly common. Alongside improved employee morale comes increased productivity, and healthy snacks for the workplace certainly play a part in helping these goals come to fruition. When your employees can sit around a break room table and enjoy healthy snacks, they’ll be relaxed, refreshed and more likely to engage in impromptu discussions.
But how can this be replicated at home?
Working from home can have added temptations – yes, there's the chocolate in the fridge and the sharing bags of crisps in the pantry. So how can you stay productive, and not spend the entire day snacking? Or furthermore – how can you stay productive, and stay healthy whilst working from home?
Though the current climate is a bit hectic, stick to the same diet during the day you would usually eat if you were in the office, and stick to eating during those same times at home.
Then there's the notion of mindful snacking - no not a new form of meditation - but one of the snacking industry’s fastest growing and most popular trends. Born from people’s desires to eat healthier, be more aware of the foods they are putting in their bodies and understanding the multiple health benefits that come from making nourishing snacking choices. The idea of mindful snacking is a fairly recent concept, with the trend first being touted in 2014 in the USA. Since then it has continued to gain attention, fuelled in a large part by health and wellness bloggers across the world. The idea of mindful snacking goes beyond simply selecting bars and drinks made from natural ingredients, there are also a myriad of guidelines on how to be more present in enjoying the foods you choose.
We're not saying you can't reward staff with a Traybake, but consider convenient mindful snack options can help your team to reduce binge eating, choose food with tasty ingredients, and distinguish between true hunger and non-hunger triggers. Consider putting together a 'wellness from home' snack box to send to employees each week. Take a look at the best healthy snack we identified to boost workplace morale, whether in the office or working from home. There is more than enough versatility in the ranges of mindful snacking treats to cater to a range of different dietary requirements, including gluten-free, vegan, protein-rich and low carb…
So long as it’s tasty, delicious, enjoyable and gives you a sense of wellbeing!
Stay safe everyone - Epicurium