During lockdown 1.0, we devised a list a tips to support you through a different way of working. Now we have lived and worked through an additional lockdown and numerous restrictions, we are re-sharing the tips, which include a few ‘lessons learned’. If you have learned anything during lockdown, or would do anything different, please feel free to share.
Maintain Regular Hours and Set up a Morning Routine
Set a schedule and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps maintain work-life balance. That said, these are challenging times and whilst the work needs to get done, there are ways to be flexible.
Set Ground Rules with the People in Your Space
Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work.
Get Your Space to Work for You
Try to set up a workspace that is comfortable for you to work in, it will make a difference with your working day and your work-life balance.
Take Your breaks
It’s easy to not take breaks during the day, don’t get into bad habits, try to take breaks so that your day is broken up, add it to your diary if necessary. Several hours can go by very quickly and you will find that you have not moved or stretched, whereas on a client site you tend to get up and interact more. Update: Try not to book hour long meetings but strive for 45/50 mins, so there is a break between meetings. Endless days of back to back meetings are exhausting.
Try to leave your home regularly, fresh air and natural light will do you good (make sure you check the online government guidance as necessary). Update: Speak with your line manager about adjusting your day to allow you to make the most of the daylight and to avoid doing your daily exercise in the darker times of the day.
Socialise with Colleagues
Home working can be a bit lonely, especially for extroverts! Try and figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. We have Teams available to us, so we have all sorts of ways to stay connected, let’s use it! Update: Try and check in with a colleague at least once a day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes. As we are all so busy, it’s easy for days to pass us by without speaking to another person socially.
“Show Up” to Meetings and Be Heard
Video and voice conferencing is hard. Be sure to speak up during the meeting so everyone knows you’re on the call. Also, think about setting out the ground rules at the beginning of the call, try and add space between agenda items and if on a voice call, ask everyone to announce themselves before they start speaking, on Teams use the background blurring option to blur out what you don’t need others to see! (it’s on the menu when in the call). Update: Don’t forget to check the mute button to avoid any embarrassing moment during a meeting/call ?
Look for Learning Opportunities
Try and allocate some time each week to development and self-learning, blocking it out in your diary to make it happen. Talk to your line manager about what’s possible whilst working remotely, we have training credits with QA and a lot of material on MS Teams along with a team of Issured staff with lots of knowledge and experience ready to help.
Working remotely requires you to over-communicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Over-communicating doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move but dropping a note to everyone is great for morale! Update: If you have attended an important meeting where various actions and decisions were agreed, it’s always worth sending out a follow up email to confirm the key points, decisions and actions to make sure there is no misunderstanding.
The less face time you have with people, the less they know how to interpret your tone. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you’re being overly positive (equally you need to be clear when things are going wrong!). Emojis are actually quite helpful to show tone in our internal team messages ?.
End Your Day with a Routine
Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be nice for us to sign off at the end of the working day.
Make it Personal
Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other people who are in the same boat. A supportive Issured community is, as always, at your fingertips or at the end of a call and the Senior Management Team are all available when needed, use us!