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Thursday, 16th April 2020

For the first time in history organisations around the globe have been forced to implement working from home arrangements for their workforce on a large scale, as a response to COVID-19. Which leaves many of us finding ourselves working from home for long periods for the first time. So how do we adjust to working from home, remain focused on the job, and stay sane?

Nike Babalola, Social Worker at Senami Counselling is based at the Stretton Centre and she provides some useful advice, “set up a routine or plan for how to spend your day, look for substitutes, adapt and be creative”. She said.

It is important to keep your daily routine. Get up at the same time, exercise, get ready for work as you normally would. Remember you are representing your organisation, so dress for the work day, even if you don’t have a scheduled video conference. By keeping a routine you will feel better, be organised and will ultimately be more productive during the day. It is also important to look after yourself, take a lunch break each day and get some fresh air, go for a quick walk around the block or do some yoga stretches.

Setting boundaries and respecting the normal office hours can also be beneficial. You may find it easy to throw yourself into your work and lose track of the time, especially if your day is uninterrupted with your normal outside of work social activities. However, it is essential to switch off and schedule an end to the workday as part of your plan and transition into your standard home activities like cooking dinner, cleaning, watering the garden, or taking the dog for a walk.

Another handy tip is to set up a designated workspace like you would have in the office. This will give you a sense of security and you are less likely to get distracted by having everything you need for work close by. It is also a good idea to check your surroundings and ensure that there is nothing in the camera view that you don’t want your clients or colleagues to see when video conferencing.

We are fortunate to have technology like Zoom, Facetime and Skype that make it easy to stay connected with our colleagues and customers, this also allows many businesses the face to face interaction needed for good relationship management. If these platforms are new to you there are plenty of online tutorials that can help you get started.

Another good way to ensure you maintain regular contact is to schedule in the diary regular team meetings and one-on-one catch-ups. This is a great opportunity to check-in with your team and colleagues, recognise achievements and to share some personal key learnings.

Looking after your mental wellbeing is critical and all too often our thoughts can get carried away. Nike Babalola says “it is important to get enough sleep, use technology to stay connected with work colleagues, family and friends, particularly the elderly and look forward to something each week”.

She goes on to say “focus on what is in your control, and try not to focus on what is outside of your control. Try and be grounded in the present. Don’t fixate on the news or social media in relation to COVID-19, limit your intake, plan to get an update once a day and stick to official sources”.

Remember working from home is not going to be forever and for all those extroverts out there I hear a massive sigh of relief, but you never know some of the flexible working arrangements in place now may become part of our standard way of working in the future. Until such time, stay positive, productive, connected and creative and find your work life balance.