We know how unsettling change can be, especially when it swoops in swiftly and is accompanied by the unknown and uncertain. If you’ve recently moved to remote working, you might be struggling to get used to a new daily routine, or are finding it challenging to communicate with your colleagues online. We want to help support you in getting used to your new way of working, so we’ve put together some tips and tricks for you to try.
Whether you're an employee, or an employer looking for ways to support your remote teams, here's 11 ways that might help those struggling to get used to working from home...
If you’re someone that likes routine, we know that working from home can take some time to get used to. So, why not stick to a similar structure?
Set yourself a definite time to start and finish your working day, and remember to include time for breaks. Use what would have been your travel time to prepare your lunch for later in the day, and pencil in some time to wind down after the working day is over - it’ll help to reduce your stress throughout the day and allow you to switch off after work, as your travel time would have.
Set alarms to help you synchronize with your new routine, and make sure to listen to them.
It can often be tempting to continue working or skip your lunch break if you’ve a lot of work to do, especially without the friendly voice of your colleague inviting you for a cuppa. So setting alarms helps you to process when it’s time to relax - use apps such as Breaktimer, or Google Calendar in your Gmail.
All of a sudden your home, where you usually relax, unwind and sleep has become your place of work.
It can sometimes be hard to toggle between home life and work life, so having a designated area for working can help. When it’s time for a break or time to finish the working day, close off your working space to remind you that the office is closed. It’ll also help to remind those that you live with when you’re ‘at home’ or ‘at work’.
When you’re creating your new work space, be mindful of anything that might distract you, such as a TV or your crafting materials, and remove them.
This will help you to stay in work mode during your working hours, especially if you’re someone that struggles to focus on one task at a time.
There are many ways to keep in touch with your employer and colleagues, from video chat to instant messaging, emails and phone calls.
Take some time to find out what makes you feel most comfortable and confident. Think about what is least distracting and time consuming, and helps you to be most productive. Then let your employer know, so that you can communicate in the way that works best for you.
Working from home can sometimes feel a little lonely, so whatever way your preferred method of communication, it’s important to stay connected with your colleagues. It also helps to remind you of how the work you’re doing is contributing to the wider team, giving you the meaning that you need to keep motivated.
If you struggle to strike up conversation, especially in a new virtual environment, then start small and reach out to that one colleague, with that question that’s been causing you stress. Ask your manager for a one to one daily check in, to give you a chance to let them know how you’re feeling. Accept those invites to virtual lunch dates, to get back that direct contact with your colleagues. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable, to help you feel included and connected.
With the loss of direct contact with your work colleagues, and instead requests rolling in from different directions, between emails and instant messages, it can be hard to keep track of everything on your ‘to-do’ list.
To help you from becoming overwhelmed, make a task list of all the tasks you’ve been asked to complete - use a Google sheet, or a tool like Todoist, whatever works best - and add to it as new items come in. At the end of each day, separate out the tasks you want to complete the following day, to help you begin each day fresh and prepared.
Discover your working rhythm and embrace that dance. If you’re socially tired in the morning, leave calls, meetings and collaborative work until the afternoon.
Equally if you feel most energetic, then that’s the time to sprint through your solitary tasks. If post lunch time leaves you in a bit of an energy slump, then use that time for those more repetitive and routine tasks. If you’re happiest and most motivated mid afternoon, set time aside for those tasks that you need to put in a bit of thought and creativity. Working to the tune of your own body and mind will help you to stay productive in your home office.
As you work from home, it’s important to know that there are lots of support technologies available to help you.
Whether you’re feeling the need for literacy support; a tool to help you process and comprehend information; or something to increase your productivity, assistive technology can help. For example, Read&Write is our toolbar used in workplaces all around the world, to help employees to work in a way that suits their needs and preferences. Don’t be afraid to explore different technologies, to find something that works for you.
Just because you’re working from home, it doesn’t mean you can’t interact with those you live with.
When we’re in the office and feel like we need a boost of energy or a radiation of happiness, we often turn to our colleagues for a quick chat or a smile. If you need that direct human interaction, or a hug from your fluffy dog to keep you going, then do it. Taking a couple of minutes to keep your mind healthy is just as good for you as it is for business.
If you’re a naturally anxious person, then it’s more important than ever that you be mindful of your mind.
As you get used to a new way of working and communicating, make sure you also explore ways to help you to maintain a sense of calm. Practice mindfulness using apps like Headspace. Take your mind off things by learning a new skill, for example a few of our Texthelpers are learning a new language using Duolingo. Or, simply sit in the garden and let the breezy air freshen your spirits.
We hope we’ve given you some ideas to support you as you work from home. Take care, and remember there’s plenty of support out there to help you to adjust. Don’t be afraid to explore the ways that will help to improve your working day.
If you would like to discover how we could help you and your remote working teams, explore more about what we do, and how we can support you at this time.