Wednesday, 1 April 2020

How to be most effective when homeworking

Guest blog by founder of Redwood Publishing Recruitment, Theresa Duncan


With an increasing number of companies asking their staff to work remotely from the office, many people will be learning new ways of tackling the daily task list. We’ve compiled some helpful tips to make working from home more straightforward, based on our experiences and those of candidates we work with.

Creating a workspace
The first, and one of the most important tips, is to create a dedicated workspace. Perching on the end of the kitchen table while your family eat around you is never going to work! Even if you have to move to a spare bedroom, use the sitting room for part of the day or even the garden shed, creating your own area to work in.

Timetabling
Once you have secured your workspace, now’s the time to set out a plan and schedule. Think how your normal workday is scheduled and try to mirror this as much as possible. For instance, if you always start with a ‘to do’ list, make this the first thing you do. Keep team meetings and 121s in place and look to achieve tasks during the day and week.

Sharing is caring
To help keep your schedule, share it with others who are in your home. Whether these are flatmates or family, it’s important that they respect your time and keep noise and activity to a minimum, especially if you’re on a video call!

Break it up
It’s important to schedule regular breaks, whether it’s for a coffee or lunch away you’re your desk. While you are at home, take advantage of eating as healthily as possible – homemade sandwiches, baked potatoes, veggie pasta and rice bowls are great options. Avoid sugary snacks such as biscuits and cake – they only give you a false energy high. And step outside. We are still able to exercise outside, so perhaps use your lunch hour for a power walk or jog. Drop into the garden for air during the day, to literally clear your head.

Workflow
Identify when you are at your most productive or change your work hours to be online when your clients or colleagues are. And think about dressing for the occasion. We’ve all heard about newsreaders wearing shorts under the desk and a jacket just for the TV camera, but if dressing more smartly helps your productivity, or doing your hair gets you in the zone, embrace it! There is nothing wrong with looking the part just because you are working from home. The important part is your output and getting the job done.

Stick to the 9-5
If you were in the office, you would not be thinking about the washing or running errands, so the same should apply when you are homeworking. Quit the tasks during the day or make time for them before you start work. You need as few distractions as possible, so taking housework or errands out of the mix will help you to focus. Social Media can be a huge distraction, so disable alerts and put your personal phone on silent to help you focus on the 9-5.

Keep in touch and keep motivated
One of our final tips is to keep in touch with co-workers. As a recruitment business, Redwood Publishing Recruitment do this on a daily basis, contacting candidates and clients regularly. We plan in calls, emails and meetings and stick to them, becoming business as usual. Use this to keep yourself motivated in and in touch with your colleagues. We’ve heard how effective Zoom has been for all team and 121 meetings, even being used by some for a 5pm ‘Friday hurrah’ as the week draws to a close. There are plenty of video calling options; the key thing is to utilise them to keep motivated and in touch with your team. Remote working can be challenging, but this, and the other ideas, should make your working week a little easier to manage.

Redwood Publishing Recruitment is offering ALPSP members free advice on homeworking, career coaching, team restructures, recruitment and other employment needs during this unprecedented time. Their qualified careers coach is happy to answer all your questions, just email: info@redwoodrecruitment.com

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