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Top Tips for Working from Home for the First Time

We know that we’re living in unprecedented times right now. If you’re one of the thousands of people working from home for the first time due to the Coronavirus outbreak, we’re here to help you find your way through the adjustments, continue to work effectively and keep your team happy and motivated. 

So, here are our top 5 tips on working as efficiently and as effectively as possible when your business is operating from home…

 

Set your team up for success

1: Set up file sharing tools: We use things like Dropbox and Office 365. The latter is brilliant for helping Accounts share large spreadsheets.

2: Use collaboration tools: Google Docs is great for helping your team work together in real time. Edits can be made on live documents, saving you from continually making draft copies, which could lead to error or something important being missed. 

3: Introduce video chat to help reduce isolation: For a few years, my business partner and I worked remotely from one another but often had Google Hangouts running in the background. It meant we could chat as we worked on a project together. So it was like being in the same office space. 

4: Invest in good quality office consumables: If you’re using a laptop, invest in a good quality keyboard and mouse as they will help maintain a good posture and prevent repetitive stress injuries. When we renovated our home I installed a standing desk, so I feel like I’m ready to go! 

5: Buy a printer: A printer is an essential part of any office set up, whether you’re at HQ or working remotely. I’d recommend a multifunctional printer with a scanner and a small footprint so it doesn’t take up too much space. You can get a great model for around £60 that won’t cost a fortune to run and that has Wi-Fi connectivity. Not all printers do and it’s unlikely you’ll want to plug your in your printer right next to your router.”

 

Top advice for business leaders

Communication is key: In reality, over the next few weeks or months you’ll be doing everything you already do, just remotely. Make sure you keep talking, make sure you keep meetings in the diary and set clear objectives for your team. Successful remote working is all about having good habits in place. 
Set expectations: People still want to do the work. They just need to know what’s expected of them and the core hours they are expected to work and set quality standards so they know what they’re aiming towards. 
Be considerate: Remember, these are not ordinary times. You also have a duty of care to your team, so check in and see how they’re doing, ask about their families and be understanding if they’re juggling with childcare or sick partners. 
Trust your team: Just because you can’t see staff working, it doesn’t mean they’re not. If you want to maintain particular service standards, then ensure you have robust KPIs in place. Showing your team that you trust them is a great way to boost morale and passion in delivering their best work. 

 

How other professionals adapt to working from home

Here at Cartridge Save we also reached out to business leaders who know what it takes to make working from home successful. Here are some of their best tips to keeping your business productive, your team motivated and your mental health on track… 

 

Give yourself a set routine

Fran Quendler, from London-based, female-led, ethical womenswear brand SABINNA, emphasises the importance of developing a set routine.

This is the daily-routine for her team and something you might like to borrow for yourself:

  1. Get up early and develop a routine at home! Start your day with a workout, yoga or a stretch.
  2. Get dressed! Put on real clothes – sometimes even simple things like shoes or a bra can help trick your brain that this is the start of the working day 
  3. To do lists are especially important! Make sure you set goals of what you want to achieve in a day and stick to them.
  4. Do not procrastinate! The kitchen is close and so is your phone but make sure to focus on your work and limit distractions to a minimum.
  1. Spend your free time wisely: If you’re feeling lonely in the evenings, why not plan a video call with friends over a cup of tea or glass of wine. Or catch up on that book you’ve been putting off or finally get around to trying that one recipe? 

 

Make sure your workstation is fit for purpose

Alessandro Zanardi, Codeworks CEO and seasoned home worker, looks after a large student body who are now all studying remotely. He reminds us there are some practical considerations you’ll want to make sure you get right.

“Make sure you have lots of natural light, reduce distractions as much as possible, and drink lots of water. For me, I always pay attention to my posture as it’s quite easy to end up slumped on the couch, so I try to be aware of my posture and stretch regularly. I use a laptop stand and external keyboard to make sure my posture is good. The key thing is to stay mobile – don’t spend 8 hours working in bed.

“Another thing is to be aware that you’ll be making more video calls while working remotely, so make sure you have a good place to speak with people – as little echo as possible and a good light source in front of you. Don’t sit in front of a window or you’ll just be a blurry silhouette!”

 

Protecting your mental health

While the decision to close office spaces made for the good of people’s health in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to consider the mental health consequences that can come with working remotely.

Mykay Kamara, CEO of Wellbot, tells us “We know that mental health can be adversely affected by lack of social interaction. At a time when isolation and quarantine is an essential part of day-to-day life we all need to look after our personal wellbeing as well as our health.

“Indoor exercise, eating regularly, hydration, routine and communication are all essential to helping keep on top of things. If you live alone then it’s a good time to schedule calls with friends and family – social media contact can be good too, but don’t overdo your screen time. 

“House work contributes to exercise, so you can concentrate on doing tasks around your home. You don’t need a gym to keep healthy, simple tasks like tidying up and cleaning can help you get on top of your mood. 

“People who work at home tend to work longer hours, so make sure you regulate your own time. Don’t be afraid to have a break for lunch and stop at a reasonable time. Having a good working routine will help you balance out work and home life when you no longer travel to your place of work.”

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