Being forced to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic? Not used to working from home? Worried how it may affect the output of your work?
Don’t worry. Although working from home may seem daunting and problematic to some, with the right planning and structuring of your workload you can soon adjust to the unfamiliar surroundings of working from your residence.
Here are some top tips and guidance on how to get through the lockdown without it affecting your work output.
Find a quiet place of your home to work from
Try and separate your workspace from your living space. This will help with concentration and will also enable you to switch on to “work mode” when you enter your area of work. A spare room, study, or granny annex are all great areas in which your workspace can be set up without it intruding on your living space.
Make you sure you have the correct tools to allow you to do your work from home
Although it sounds obvious to have a working pc or laptop, many people find that due to their lifestyle and nature of their work they very rarely need to work from a desktop device from home, and subsequently any hardware they have at home is dated or not up to scratch. Invest in a new machine. An investment of a few hundred pounds can get you a good pc with suitable processing speeds. Alternatively, get your employers to pay for it. After all, it’s their work you will be doing on it. Maybe a computer is not the tools you need to do your job and you are involved in small crafts and manufacturing. Whatever you need, order it from online and avoid a trip to the shops.
Good communication with your colleagues, clients, and suppliers is essential
Try and avoid using the mobile to make and receive calls, especially when talking to clients. It can sometimes give a non-professional image. Most businesses use VoIP nowadays and there is a high likelihood that your work phones also work on VoIP Technology. This means that you should be able to bring your handset home from work and plug into the internet and you should be able to make and receive calls immediately from your existing work number. Alternatively, for a few pounds/dollars per month, you can rent a VoIP number and receive calls on your PC or mobile using an App / Software.
Avoid Handling Mail
The Coronavirus can live on paper for several days. With letters passing through several hands before reaching you, who knows what kind of bacteria could be attached to your letters. Get a virtual office with mail handling. Any good virtual office provider will be able to provide you with a virtual address with mail forwarding via scan to email.
Avoid meetings. Use Video Conferencing instead
There a number of platforms available that offer video conferencing services. Maintain social distancing by holding all meetings on video conferencing software. Zoom offers free video conferencing and WhatsApp also now has free video conferencing capabilities.
If video conferencing is not your thing then there are a number of ways to hold a conference call. If you are using a VoIP phone line, most VoIP handsets will have a call conferencing option. Alternatively, there are a number of online services that offer free conference calling via dialing in to a local number.
Essential Meetings and Presentations
If you find yourself in the awkward position of having to meet a client face to face for essential business talks then avoid inviting them to your house or meeting them in a public place. It is also better to avoid inviting them to the office. Especially if you have already had it deep cleaned. Hire a meeting room in your local area. If there is a serviced office provider in your local area they will more than likely provide meeting room hire facilities. Avoid a long commute and try and stay local for that essential nonavoidable business meeting.
Subscribing to a Call Answering Service is a good way to manage your inbound calls. The last thing you want is non-essential calls disturbing you through your workday. A Call Answering service can take messages for you or route your calls for you as per your requirements.
Working from home can have its distractions. Try and avoid working with the TV or radio playing in the background. Turning the house phone and your mobile on mute are also good ways to keep the concentration levels enhanced. If you have children try and put a rota in place for your partner to look after them or try and set a rota for yourself and the children which consist of defined intervals for family time and individual time.
Keeping yourself disciplined, is essential to any work plan that you have. Temptations to go back and forth to the fridge for a quick snack or have a quick browse on the internet because “nobody from work is around to catch you” is always a temptation. These side tasks soon turn into time burning activities and before you know it you could have eaten into a significant amount of your core work time.
Whatever the nature of your work, remember that the ultimate priority is the safety of yourself and those around you. Health should always come before wealth! Stay home and stay safe.