Working From Home – Luxurious In Theory; Productive In Practice?

ironing boardFor some firms – and individuals – it has been a massive wake up call.

For others it has been a natural extension of an evolving work pattern.

Some businesses had no cloud capability.

Some had cloud capability and were using it in a limited way – similar to using only one programme on your twenty-programme washing machine.

Few were taking full advantage of the freedom that cloud access allows teams.

But whichever camp you fall into, this has been an unequalled time of change in how we operate and live our daily lives and work routines; and nothing will ever be the same again.

Access to improved communication tools and high performance, reliable internet connection are important elements of successfully working from home (WFH) but, it turns out that they may not be the only fundamentals you need to be successful.

A WFH mindset joins the set of skills in your employability toolbox, as there is an appetite that this way of working will continue long after we break free from lock down. With so many of us now making use of our time working in a remote environment the uncertainty and doubt that once existed within some organisations has been dispelled for many, and has been replaced with improved communications between colleagues and a reduction in distractions - after all there is only so much of ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ anyone can watch in a day.

Businesses and management teams are discovering that productivity is possible as your team work remotely. So, how do we make the most of our time and resources in this new environment, how do we motivate and keep ourselves productive throughout the working day and the working weeks and beyond, with businesses now seriously considering the future with a physical office environment being replaced with the virtual.

Like any new office setup, finding ways to make the most of the new environment brings its own benefits and challenges until we get it right. What are the new ground rules?

Waken Up

An unnecessary tip? But it is important, get up and get of your bed. Get yourself into the zone of a working day, Resist the temptation to roll over in bed. You don’t have to commute in the morning, so you should use that time to your advantage. Making your bed reinforces that it is time to start your day. It also helps with a tidy mindset for those who are OCD twitchers…

Get dressed

It should go without saying but grooming and getting dressed at the same time as you do on a ‘work from the office’ day and to the same standard, does matter. At some point in your ‘new normal’ day you may be on a video call with a client, your colleagues or your team. Making a point wearing your Iron Man sweatpants may not carry the importance of your message and is likely to hinder your productivity and demotivate you.

Set up a workspace.

Where possible look for a dedicated workspace or one that offers a semi-permanent location that allows you to work without packing away every evening.

Be fully equipped to complete your tasks and work as normal to eliminate any unnecessary stress. Ensure that you have access to all the relevant network resources, applications and IT support that you require.

Check your posture. Sitting up is best – get a supportive chair or consider a stand-up location at the breakfast bar or, alternatively, the ironing board. Seek out light and space where possible. Avoid sitting on a sofa or crouched over a low standing coffee table if possible, as this puts pressure on the lower back and constricts stomach movement.

Consider your background when on video calls and prepare ahead by testing your camera to check the lighting is okay. Yes, your workstation may be in the spare room, but no one wants to see your ‘smalls’ drying on a clothes horse behind you.

Setup a Schedule

Stick to a routine and mimic your normal working habits to maintaining work-life balance and improve your wellbeing.

Plan your day, set a time that you will start and finish the day, include breaks and keep your diary up to date.

Setup a to-do list for the start of each day, vary your tasks and allocate specific periods of time for each. Set up achievable goals and productive use of time while being realistic. Being able to tick off all your tasks by the end of your day can feel rewarding and motivating.

Remove distractions

Resist the temptation of social media and the telly. However, these distractions are useful at intervals during the day, plan them in rather than have them surround you. Listening to background music or through headphones can aid concentration and help to ‘stay in the zone’.

Take Breaks

Essential for body and soul, get up stretch walk around. Exercise is proven to improve mental wellbeing, so stay as active as possible. Go for a walk – or a run - once a day to get some fresh and try to keep your tech interaction to a minimum. Look for free home-workout content available on social media. Setting yourself a fitness goal is a great way to stay motivated for body and soul.

Log off

At the end of your working day, log off and set yourself an activity that says it’s the end of your workday. Close down your workstation, shut down or power off as this tells your brain that work has finished. Leaving your PC or laptop switched on in the power save state or sleep mode is opening up the temptation to return later in the evening to finish off that one piece of work.

Keep in touch

Make an effort to contact someone every day for a social catch up, look to your contact list on your phone, social media or Christmas card list. Who have you not caught up with recently, choose one and send a message, text, email or call someone. At this time, we are all in the same position, contacting someone could just make their day.

Find out more about how Clark IT can support your team working from home. Email us.


07702 363039