One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is that in the future a lot more people will start to work from home. However more concerning right now is that a large numbers of people who have been used to going into the office the majority or entirety of the time have been asked to change their behaviour quite suddenly, to a model that they’re not that familiar with.
I’m lucky to have worked across a number of teams at Alfresco where working from home has been helpful in many ways over the last few years to me personally, but I’m also aware that there are quite a few pitfalls. So I put together this list to share with colleagues, having definitely exhibited the opposite behaviour of each of these at different times in the past.
- Try to keep a normal routine. Although these are not normal times trying to keep to a rough schedule each day will help you manage the predictable and the unpredictable things better.
- Your mother was right. Don’t forget to shower, do your hair, brush your teeth and dress properly at the start of each day.
- Have a defined and tidy work area where you can work from while you are at home. Move around if you need to, but try to sit up, lying on the sofa or bed will not end well
- Not everyone has space for a desk or a good solid table to work at. Use your imagination, e.g. an ironing board can be adjusted to the perfect height as needed and moved around easily.
- Take regular breaks, especially for lunch, away from your computer. Do something useful like put some washing on in the background, reducing the technical debt of your laundry pile will make you feel better and will only take a few minutes each day.
- Drink plenty of water and eat well, avoid processed food if you can
- Have a clear cut-off for work activities, as you would if you were in the office. Remember to schedule time to spend with friends and family (remotely as needed), or join a meetup or other activity remotely after work ends (thanks, Roberto).
- Take care of your colleagues. Consider joining remote meetings (we use Zoom) a few minutes early, to have some time for unstructured check-ins and conversations before the agenda kicks in.
- Get regular exercise. Although most gyms, health clubs, etc are closed and many organised events such as Parkrun are suspended, it is still recommended in government advice that exercising outside is fine and indeed necessary for maintaining your health and wellbeing
- Keep up-to-date with events and news but don’t get hooked on watching rolling TV news or scrolling through social media, it will not make you feel better
- Do something small to improve your local world. Say hello to a stranger, ask the person in the shop how they are doing.
If you have conquered all the above, consider helping others in your communities or friendship circles who may be struggling with working remotely or feeling isolated. Many charities are seeking help in this area right now for themselves and their service users, and other groups such as the Marble Arch Partnership who we helped a few weeks ago with some fun Spring gardening activities at the Westminster Society, are actively looking for volunteers to match up to charities.