To say that the last week has been significantly tough for businesses across the UK would be an understatement. Here at Wriggle, we made the transition of uprooting our team from Wriggle HQ to fully equip them to work from home. But we’re not alone – as Friday’s government announcement advised temporary closure in great measures and a strong ‘Stay Home’ message to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
We feel incredibly fortunate that due to the industry we are in, we are able to carry out our job and deliver the ‘Wriggle Promise’ remotely; whether that be in the office or at home, as for some businesses it is however a different story. But in “normal” circumstances, it is reported by Flexjobs research that almost four million people work from home at least half of the time. With the majority of that proportion claiming they are more productive working from home and up to 82% feel less stress – but for those that are having to do this for the first time, it is undoubtedly tough circumstances to do it in.
So how do we all make it work for us? For those that this may be brand new territory for, it can be hard adjusting to a lack of “normal” structure and keeping calm through what feels like a current chaos. But fear not, as some of our team are seasoned with the term #WFH we thought we would share some of our top tips for ensuring maximum productivity out of the office…
Starting With The Basics
Establish a routine
One of the hardest obstacles to overcome for those who do not usually (or ever) work from home will be the lack of structure to their day. As we are creatures of habit, typically, when you work from the office you will have a set routine that runs like clockwork. Of course, this can go out of the window when you no longer need to make your morning commute or you find yourself working alone.
From sticking to your usual alarm clock to getting dressed for work, scheduling regular breaks and setting definitive times to answer emails, these are all small steps to maintaining your day to day routine.
Schedule, schedule, schedule
This is vital to ensure that you are able to get all of your work done, alongside adhoc tasks, video calls and virtual meetings. Incoming emails can easily distract you and deter your trail of thought, as can spontaneous calls. Working from home will require your team’s communication to step up a gear and be cohesive with everyone’s particular schedule. So what can you do to minimise distraction and maximise efficiency?
Share your Google Calendar with your team and send an invite prior to any meeting or call in order to plan your day around it
Block out a window in your day to respond to and write emails
Prioritise your ‘need action’ tasks in the morning to ensure these get done
Your home is where you feel most comfortable, right? However if you live with other people it can be tricky to find a place that you will not get disturbed or distracted. Separate your ‘home’ space to your ‘work’ space by finding a space that works for you and utilise it between ‘office hours’. This will help you get into the mindset that when you are in this space, you are there to work and others know not to disturb you.
In addition to finding a space that works for you, another way of establishing a healthy work-life balance when working from home is by stopping work at a designated time. It can be incredibly easy to work through when you are already at home, for example while you wait for your dinner to cook or there is nothing on the TV. You don’t necessarily have anywhere to go so it’s easy to fall into the ‘just half an hour extra’ or ‘I’ll just finish this task’. Once you are finished for the day, turn your computer off and close the door. Relax and unwind so that you are ready to go again the next day.
Your home holds all of your luxuries and it is super easy to become distracted when you are trying to get in the zone. So what can you do to remove any distraction?
- Put your phone away – If the temptation to check your social media or text your friend is too much, then place your phone away from your work space. Only check it in allocated break times.
- Do not disturb – If you live with family or housemates it can be extremely helpful for you to all work out a universal signal that you can use when you do not want to be disturbed.
- Turn off the TV – It’s easy to switch on your favourite Netflix series while typing away, but try not to. Not only will it distract you (even if you think it isn’t) but it also eats into your ‘healthy work-life balance’ and blurs the lines.
Avoid WFH Loneliness
For some of us, going into work each day works wonders for our mental health. Not only are we in a daily routine but we are socialising with colleagues. To avoid any WFH loneliness, keep in contact with your colleagues through many digital mediums such as Slack or Skype; FaceTime your friend once you have both finished work, give your Mum a phone call, join in a live workout stream online.
It is important to note that the current situation right now is in fact urging us all to live in the moment and prioritise our health first and foremost. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle of a busy work life, but as things slow down a little, then why don’t we?
On a personal note, now is the perfect time to practise some self-care. Listen to what your body needs – eat healthy, drink plenty of water, enjoy an at-home workout. Get lost in a new book, declutter your wardrobe and so on.
On a professional level – What about updating your branding? Give your website a refresh, create a new ‘theme’ for your social media. Heck – sign up to that course you have been ‘too busy’ to do for so long! Whatever it may be, learn to live in the moment a little bit more and embrace time.