Coronavirus: Essential Tips for Effectively Working From Home
Leigh Gillatt • Careers Advice
For most people throughout their career, their experience working from home has consisted of approximately three days of developing sciatica and calling the company IT tech support team (🙋♂ Yes, that would be myself our team have often called 🤣).
It’s therefore understandable (I keep telling everyone) that they haven’t been able to create a perfectly Zen work from home office space, one featuring a desk plant and an exercise ball to sit on.
Faced with the current Coronavirus; COVID-19, pandemic, many of us are, of course, now working from home for the first time – and for an indefinite period, some reports stating it could be potentially for as long as 6 months. If you don’t regularly work in a home-based job, here are some things to consider when creating a home environment where you can effectively ‘work from home’! #WFH
So what are our top tips to effectively work from home during this Coronavirus crisis? Read on to find out...
Get Your Workspace Just Right
I’ve often heard countless tales of people’s previous experiences with working from home resulting in them nursing their spines back to health after only a few days stint sat on a kitchen chair, which they often insisted afterwards had been designed by a sadist.
So, although it might sound like the obvious place to start, many initially overlook the importance of comfortable and functional seating. Lets be frank about this for a moment… it’s pretty obvious from the development of this crisis that we’re probably going to be in this for the foreseeable future, so this needs to be made your top priority as you’ll likely be sitting in the same spot for several hours a day.
Comfortable and functional seating at a proper desk will allow you to look after your body and aid in your ability to be productive. I also recommend adjusting the height of your screen to be at eye-level, working in a space with natural light and maintaining a healthy posture.
Prepare Your IT System And Software Tools
For the none techy types (which still appears to be a large proportion of the population – trust me we’re recruiters in the IT space), I - T are two letters which often strike fear into these individuals at the best of times, let alone during this crisis we’ve found ourselves in.
It’s therefore incredibly important to make sure your technology is capable of functioning while at WFH, making sure your internet connection is robust, and that the computer you’re using, or have been provided with by your firm, is more than capable and unlikely to let you down when you need it most.
It may also be worth researching which software applications you’re likely to need to help you complete your daily tasks. There are a multitude of apps out there which can make every day tasks a breeze whilst working from home. Even though we’re physically isolated, software like this is allowing us all to be able to work collaboratively like never before – whilst still maintaining the necessary social distancing requirements.
Here are my top picks for software you may find useful whilst working from home:
Slack - Slack is more than a tool for chatting—it’s almost a religion. If the hilarious gifs and useful chatbots don’t get you hooked, then the endless array of integrations that will cut down on your emails certainly will. ~ Personally I love Slack!
Microsoft Teams - If you’re a Microsoft user already using Office 365, this is a great addition as it seamlessly integrates with other Office apps. If you’re dependent on Word, Excel and other apps a lot, this could be the team chat app for you!
MEETINGS & VIDEO CHAT
Google Hangouts - Google Hangouts is the default tool of choice for video meetings. Slack even lets you launch a hangout right from within a channel!
Zoom - An alternative to Google Hangouts, Zoom has a higher threshold for the number of people who can be in a meeting at once.
Skype - With the Skype video chat app, group video calling for up to 50 people is available for free on just about any mobile device, tablet or computer.
Trello - Trello’s ease of use makes it a great tool for project and task management. It creates a kind of real-time bulletin board. Action items can be dragged from one category to another (from, say, ‘to do’ to ‘doing’), eliminating unmanageable email chains and (real-world) sticky notes, which can pile up with team projects. It’s got a great mobile app, too.
Reduce The Number Of Distractions Around You
This may be hard to believe, but anyone in the house while you’re working is considered a distraction. For the sake of surviving this period of isolation with the people you live with, it’s advisable to establish boundaries.
This could be anything from working in different parts of the house, to setting periods without talking. If anyone has to take calls, it might be a good idea to designate a separate room for this, so the rest of the house doesn’t become distracted. This way, you can transform a space normally designated for eating or socialising into your productive work haven!
This is a learning period for everyone and transitioning from a physical office space to your spare bedroom or kitchen table is never going to be easy. From what I have seen with my candidates and clients in the last week, the community spirit and enthusiasm for helping each other is alive and well.
We’ll get through this together!