With businesses of all sizes and sectors transitioning to remote working as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, having an effective home working strategy in place is crucial to making it work. Remote working brings many benefits with it, including greater productivity, cost-savings, plus it’s better for the environment. However, it can also bring its own challenges which employers and employees must plan for to minimise business disruption. Following the right protocols, teams can ensure productivity, communication and collaboration remain effective when working from home. Read our top 5 effective tips for remote working below.
Create a communication plan
Establishing an effective communication strategy is one of the most important factors of implementing remote working. Increased communication is key, but with large teams working remotely, communication methods must be managed carefully. Daily and weekly formal check-ins will be crucial for many businesses. Nowadays, we’re fortunate enough to be able to check-in remotely thanks to the many apps and online platforms easily available such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype and others. Organisations must of course establish communication guidelines, detailing when and how to use communication tools and set guidelines that work for their own business. For example, do you usually host a weekly meeting with your management team? There’s no reason this can’t be continued remotely via the digital solutions available to us.
Find a dedicated and comfortable working area
We have dedicated workspaces in offices, so the same rule applies to working remotely. The best option is in a separate office, but of course, not everyone has one of these in their home. Wherever your dedicated work-space is, it should promote a healthy work/life balance, separating work from personal life. It’s easier said than done. Where do you draw the line whilst doing both? Our best piece of advice is avoiding the sofa for work – you’ll end up finding yourself slumped here more than you’d like to be. If you don’t have a home office, the dining room table is the closest you’ll get to a desk. Also try to allow natural light and fresh air in where possible for a productive working environment.
Needless to say, one of the biggest challenges of remote working is distractions. From family to fridges, televisions to housework, you’re going to need self-discipline and good practices. But first, accept that distractions will be present and that you’re going to have to work through them. By doing so, it should hopefully become a little easier. Pinpoint your main distractions and start by eliminating them at best as you can. Although it is tempting to have the TV on in the background, it will more than likely cause your eyes to wander off your work. However, having a silent room may not be beneficial either, if you are used to working in a busy office, so having the radio or some music on in the background may suit you.
Stick to your usual work schedule
There’s no reason why your remote working schedule should differ from your regular schedule. Continue to get up early, have breakfast and get dressed as normal. As tempting as it’ll be to have a longer lie or stay in your pyjamas all day, this can majorly affect your productivity and blur the line between your work/life balance. The key to productivity and keeping loneliness at bay is staying busy. Work on a task list before you begin your day and set yourself more tasks than usual, this way you’re more likely to get yourself into a good routine. Remember, you’re still allowed to take breaks. One of the benefits about working from home is that you can use your break times to get up and move around, even go into the garden for some fresh air or make a coffee.
Know when to “log off”
Finally, and most importantly, know when to log off. When your workday is done, switch off from work mode and relax. It’s all too easy to send another few emails or make a head start on tomorrow’s workload. This will not help you achieve your important work/life balance, and in turn, can impact your mental wellbeing, especially when working from home for long periods of time. When remote working, it’s so important to do whatever helps you unwind at the end of the day, whether it’s exercising, catching up on housework or reading a book.
NVT can help with your flexible working strategy
To get help with fulfilling your flexible working strategy, visit our flexible working page and complete the reply form. Alternatively, you can call us on 01698 749000.