Adjusting to Covid-19 home-working
Home working for some office jobs has been around since fax machines lit up the late 80s. But fast-forward to Covid-19 in 2020 and getting home working right is a commercial imperative, not simply a lifestyle choice. To help businesses survive the upheaval, it’s essential everyone can find ways to be safe, happy, healthy – and productive.
Here are some top tips for making homeworking work that bit better:
Timing is everything
Many people find security in routine. So create a new one minus the commuting. Establish start and finish times, as well as breaks for lunch and a stretch. You may need to tweak this to coincide with colleagues’ availability or family commitments.
Location, location, location While not everyone has the luxury of a home study or office, a table and comfortable chair are important basics for your home base. Easy access to power, plus a strong WIFI or LAN signal, is of course critical. And if you do encounter connectivity issues, use your mobile phone’s ‘hot spot’ to piggy back its data signal – remembering to switch off when done.
Bring our own device
Whether you’re using a desktop, laptop, tablet or phone (or combination), you’ll need reliable devices with a screen that’s big enough for the job. Moving kit from office to home can be helpful. Business systems are increasingly cloud-based, which means your browser is one of the most important considerations of all. So make sure you’re using an up-to-date version and that you’re up-to-speed with any cybersecurity programs IT staff may recommend.
Get with the program
Even five years ago, we would not have had the connectivity and flexibility to collaborate as we now can. Conferencing tools such as Zoom, Whereby, Skype for Business and Cisco Webex enable even sizeable groups to ‘meet’ and exchange views and ideas – whether or not video is ‘on’. Remember, though, that a chairperson might be handy for larger numbers – preventing it degenerating into a shouting match.
While a WhatsApp group is great giving everyone a simultaneous heads-up, think about SMS or i-Message when a one-to-one is enough. Too much information can be too much of a good thing.
And remember, you’re not alone
There are countless places where you can ask questions about making the most of your home working set up, as well as find affirming human contact.
Start with your colleagues, friends and relations. Many will be getting to grips with the new normal just like you, while others will have cut their remote working teeth long ago.
Beyond your network there’s an infinite number of home working resources you can draw on. Here are just a few to get you started:
Federation of Small Businesses
Guidance on home working health and safety:
National Cyber Centre on Homeworking
Advice around security:
Home cover when working from home: