Be More Effective at Working from Home

In the challenging times through unchartered waters, there is a wonderful upsurge in people reaching out to help each other.

One such example is that of Chris Weston and Dominic Mason who have pulled together a great resource; The Remote Work Survival Kit

Chris, a CIO adviser, often via video call, and often Working From Home (WFH) has managed global distributed teams. And Dominic Mason, a global digital strategy consultant, who works from home 95% of time, accompanied by Puddles the Springerpoo. Who is known as the Technology Director and Entertainment Lead.

The Remote Work Survival Kit is a crowdsourced effort to help people and organisations with remote working at this time of acute need - the reasoning is that the better people are able to do this the more effective it will be and the better the outcome for society, with less risk of the rapid spread of disease which benefits everyone. 

Inspired by the Coronavirus Tech Handbook and the brilliant work done to bring the tech community together to help build tools and information services by Newspeak House 

Current PDF release is here this is a formatted doc for sharing widely but not a replacement - more info will always be on this google document.

Some additional thoughts from Be More Effective 

Working from Home – some of the downsides

  • A lack of community. Feeling of loneliness because of a lack of human interaction
  • Difficult or lacking communication across the team and / or company
  • Difficult to manage and maintain accountability across a team
  • The fear of the loss of productivity or the actual loss of productivity versus working too much. Yes, many working from home do more than the expected 42.5 hours per week
  • Bad health habits whether poor posture on the sofa cuddling the laptop, or snacking too freely
  • Poor prioritisation partly because people are out of the loop with others, partly due to willpower and routine or the lack of them…
  • IT Security and technology hiccups or worse = no second monitor
  • Interruptions. Yes, you may have family, pets and a doorbell and often no sense of guilt for engaging with them during work time.

Some of the advantages

  • Flexible schedule. Start, stop when you wish. Take a break at any moment.
  • Custom environment. Lights, heating and background music your way
  • Wear what you want
  • No distracting co-workers cruising past your desk or workstation
  • Zero commuting. From bed to sofa in a nanosecond, no commuting time
  • Lunch at home is generally less expensive unless the office canteen is good and free
  • Generally working from home means more time with loved ones, assuming you have a significant other

Some of the best tips when working from home:

Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when and where to work; not so simple sometimes. Are you going to set up in a spare room? The kitchen? The bedroom? The living room? Suddenly that space, the light, the noise, and who else uses that space comes into play. At work, everyone is using the same space for the same purpose. Move the office into the kitchen and now there are two completely different uses for that room. Oil and water rarely mix so think carefully about where to set up the home office. Find a way to create boundaries between work life and personal life; a way to use the office space for just work.

  • Keep working hours. Get up at the same time. Get dressed for work. Keep the same type of early morning routine.
  • Set clear goals and deliverables for each week and each day and tell your Boss or set up an accountability buddy to nudge and encourage you
  • Schedule breaks, plan them. When will you have morning coffee, lunch, a tea break and of course - stop work
  • Use break time to do something different, call a friend, catch up on news, eat, drink (non-alcoholic of course) 
  • Use the washing machine as a natural timer. Load up the washing machine then set it off on a cycle and focus on one big task until the alarm on the machines calls you back. Not quite multi-tasking. Still, it gets the laundry done and enforces a break
  • Set expectations with the other people in your home who share the same space. When you need things to be quiet when you are having breaks.
  • Work with the grain not against it. If you have young children in the house, they will need time for attention and play. Trying to suppress that will only cause stress for everyone. Divide up work hours to fit around some of the needs of the others in your home
  • Make sure you've got the equipment you need, VOIP phone, noise-cancelling headsets, printer, laptop, and that amazingly useful second screen
  • Watch out for posture - working height. Sitting is the new smoking. You can cheaply replicate a standing desk with collapsible laptop stands
  • Vary your place of work if you can. Easier said than done with the Coronavirus. The standard trick of working from a coffee shop or the library might not help your social distancing. Still consider working from a different room or chair in your house occasionally, simply sit on the other side of the dining room table. Give your eyes something different to look at in your peripheral vision
  • Set up daily and weekly group huddles on Zoom, Teams or Skype. Ten minutes of team conversation each day can ensure you keep that sense of unity 
  • If you know you will have a lot to do tomorrow, prepare your meals for tomorrow today. Even preparing a lunchbox just like you would if you were going to the office can be a useful thing to do sometimes. Particularly if you have a heavy load to get through

Other resources and ideas that you might find useful

COVID-19: support for businesses

Other blogs on the same theme

Take care of you #BeMoreBob #BeMoreYou






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