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Top Tips for Effective Home Working in Challenging times

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1. Create your Home Working environment

• Have a good working environment; desk, monitor, etc that are set up comfortably
• Tell others in the house when you can be available and when you need to be undisturbed (during calls or getting working done)
• Understand your own daily energy – when you are your most creative, when you can focus best, when you need to have a lift – speaking with a colleague or taking a break in nature - and then schedule your ‘to do’ list to work effectively so you can be at your best more of the time

2. Create your routine
• Try to keep your working alarm call and routine
• Get dressed – it will help signal that you are going to work, and acknowledge the need to be respectable for video calls
• Set/schedule your breaks & lunch until you get into a regular routine. Make sure you take time to recharge and step away from work to stay engaged over the long term (personal health)
• Take a break in the fresh air at lunchtime to appreciate the outdoors and get moving
• Have a routine virtual ‘huddle’ or check-in as a team
• Identify a trouble shooting /question time when you are available to help others
• Limit your news and social media checks to specific times to avoid overwhelm or scroll-creep
• Get moving – try and make sure you move at least every hour. Pomodoro is a helpful technique to focus your concentration for 25 minutes (set a timer) then take a 5-minute break – stretch, walk around, make a drink. You will be more focused and ready for work on your return

3. Stay connected
• Establish the rhythm of daily/weekly video huddles to catch up on colleagues lives and projects
• Dial in to have a coffee break or eat lunch ‘together’ to enjoy company and chat virtually
• Streamline & Manage Information Overload – being aware that we now use a lot of modalities of communication and that each of us may have different strategies for how/when we access/manage those (email, WhatsApp, text, phone, Teams, Zoom, Google hangouts, Skype etc)
• Schedule a 15-minute yoga/stretching session as people may be sitting differently or for longer stretches
• Encourage encounters; where team may reach out to team they don’t work with typically but may see regularly – this helps combats loneliness and creates connection

4. Team working
• Remember you are still a team – just not physically together
• Use technology to keep connected – phone, video, online
• Recognise that as a team you will be working in new and different ways and it requires adjustment
• Have a session agreeing how you each ‘work at your best’ as members of the team and respect people’s needs to enable the job to get done
• Establish ‘new norms’- put your breaks on your calendar, establish a no meeting day when you know you will have dedicated time to complete a project uninterrupted
• Create a shared virtual ‘To Do List’ for each week and celebrate completion
• Use your time and energy strategically. Block off in your calendar when you have deep thinking work/activities. Get in the habit of checking people’s calendars before just calling them. This helps to minimise multi-tasking/swapping which causes loss in productivity and annoying your team members!

5. Leading the team
• Develop a climate of trust and create autonomy so people can self-manage and feel in control of their time and productivity
• Set clear expectations, document more than you have before on what you’re doing, what you expect etc.
• Be flexible in how people work and get the job done as they are juggling other responsibilities and demands
• Make it easy for people in your team to do the right thing

6. Practical stuff
• Centralise files with shared information that everyone can access & update
• Take care of your own health and wellbeing – ask for help if you need it
• Reflect and Plan. At the end of the day – reflect on what you have achieved, write your list for tomorrow, then close your computer and ‘shut the door’ on your home office. Enjoy the evening and refresh ready for the next day.

7. Reimagine your commute time
• Use your non-travel time productively to set yourself up well for the day.
• Activities could involve creating new habits such as eating a healthy breakfast, morning run or walk, on-line exercise class, meditation, calling a friend, watching something motivational e.g. a TED talk

8. Keep motivated
• Have a buddy to check in with who isn’t on your team, someone to share your weekly accomplishments, etc
• If you get a ‘block’ get up and move – go for a walk, come back refreshed
• Be curious and use this time, to learn something new – it may be a new language, aspect of the business, following an interesting twitter thread, a chapter of a book or article on-line, or watching a TED talk (20 mins max) to get a new perspective and stimulate creativity

9. Capture innovation
• Recognise that everyone has made massive adjustments in thinking, behaviours and working in the past few days and weeks and made innovations have ‘just happened’. Collaboration has increased ‘because we have no choice’.
• Help to capture this focus and these changes and help to embed in the ‘new normal’ so you can be even more effective and productive going forward
10. Be Human
• Keep empathy, compassion and care front and centre…a lot of people are new to remote working, this radical change in behaviour may take time to adjust AND they have other worries too (home schooling, parents self-isolating, partners who are essential workers, their own health, mental wellbeing etc.)

Finally, be kind to yourself and others during these challenging times. Stay at Home – Save Lives










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