Advice for Managers –Working Well from Home and Making the Most of Technology

Advice for Managers – Working from Home

Guidance Sheet 3/3 – Working Well from Home and Making the Most of Technology

Our first two guidance sheets considered managing a remote team and managing mental wellbeing whilst working from home.  In this section we will consider how to work well from home and make the most of technology.

Working Well from Home

Working well from home is about planning your day and activities.

Establish a routine –

Get up, get dressed and get yourself ready as if you were going to work.  Be ready to work by a set time each day.

Establish Boundaries –

  • Where possible, set yourself up in a room that can serve as an office, away from your bedroom or area where you will go to relax.
  • Make sure that you sit at a desk if possible and set it up like your regular work desk if you can.
  • Where possible, walk away from your workstation at the end of the day and close the door behind you. If you can’t do this, pack up at the end of each day to create the mental barrier between work and home.

Get out and about –

Where you can, take breaks outside.  Even if this is just leaning through the window, get some fresh air.

Pick up the phone or video call someone –

Stay connected with colleagues, friends and family.

Take regular breaks –

Taking regular breaks actually improves productivity and is even more important from a health and safety perspective when you perhaps aren’t working with ergonomic office furniture.

The Pomodoro technique is a way of working that aims to increase your focus and productivity.  It works like this:

  1. Set yourself a task to do
  2. Set your timer for 25 minutes
  3. Work uninterrupted for 25 minutes on that task. If you think of something else you need to do during that time, jot it down to come back to later and carry on with the task you were doing.
  4. After 25 minutes, congratulations, you’ve worked solidly for 25 minutes without distraction! Take a short break, grab a coffee, stretch, walk about a bit.  Your brain will thank you later!
  5. Set the timer for the next 25 minutes and repeat step 3. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for a total of 3 more times.
  6. After your fourth pomodoro, take a longer break – 20 -30 minutes at least, before getting back to your pomodoro’s.

If you’re finding that you’re not coping well working from home, acknowledge that it’s ok not to be ok.  As a manager, look out for signs of change in your team members and encourage them to talk.

If you are feeling anxious, try using the APPLE technique advised by Anxiety UK:

Acknowledge –  that you are feeling anxious

Pause – don’t react straight away, take a breath

Pull back – It’s just a thought, worry or feeling and it will pass

Let go – You don’t have to respond.  You can’t control everything.  This will pass

Explore – the present moment.  Right now, in this moment, all is well.  Shift your focus to something else.

If you notice that a colleague is struggling to cope, be ready to signpost them to other support such as your employee assistance programme, their GP, Samaritans, MIND or a family member or friend.  Of course, in an emergency situation you can call 999.

Remote Working Technology

If you are able, set up your office with the ability to use audio, video, 2 screens and a headset.  If you don’t have this equipment available, you don’t need to go out and buy it, but it’s handy if you have it.

Check that your work station is set up in a way that isn’t going to cause you pain.  Information is available on the Health and Safety Executive website to carry out workstation assessments.  Individuals can follow the guidance to carry out their own assessment.  Where people have issues with their workstation, be ready to discuss support and alternative ways of working.

Check your teams can access files that they need and that security on equipment has been considered.  You could consider a VPN access that encrypts information that is sent electronically.  If you don’t have this already set up as a business, there are free VPN providers such as Cyberghost or NordVPN.  These aren’t recommendations and you will need to establish that they meet your requirements.

Consider using shared storage for keeping track of the latest versions of documents, for security and to encourage collaboration.  There are many options out there including Teams, One Drive, Google Drive and Drop Box.  Use what you know and what you may already have in the business.

Set up group messaging facilities such as Teams, Zoom or Slack.  Try to keep professional and social correspondence separate by using Whatsapp or social media groups for social contact.

If you need any further advice on working from home, please contact Agile HR and we will be very happy to discuss your requirements.

Remember, stay positive, you’ve got this!

For further information contact clair@agilehrconsulting.com

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