12 Tips for working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 23, 2020

As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson has advised the British public to work from home, in a bid to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

It is hoped that working from home will slow down the spread of COVID-19 through employees gathering in offices and on public transport. 

Whilst working from home definitely has some benefits, if you will be working from home for the first time due to the Coronavirus, there are some things that you need to take into consideration. 

In this post, we will share top tips on working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak. These tips will help you to maintain your productivity and to keep up your spirits!

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time

When working from home, it can be really tempting to stay up later than normal and to have a lay-in in the morning. 

However, it’s a good idea to stick to your normal sleep pattern when working from home. 

This is because if you deviate from your normal routine, you may start to feel tired during the day. Feeling tired will hinder you from functioning as normal and you may be tempted to take an afternoon nap on the sofa! This will have a negative impact on your productivity. 

Dr Morgan Cowley from SlumberSmart states that: reducing blue light interference, using the correct pillow and mattress, doing back/neck stretches before bed, and avoiding late-night meals can help you to get a good night’s sleep!

For more advice on getting a good night’s sleep, read this post by The Sleep Foundation sharing healthy sleep tips.

Tip: Set a bedtime alarm on your phone that repeats every evening at the same time.  

Read: How improving your sleep can boost your career

2. Get dressed in the morning 

When working from home, it can be really tempting to stay in your pyjamas all day. 

Whilst your morning routine won’t need to be as elaborate as if you were going into the office, it is important to get washed and dressed. 

Doing so will help to improve your state of mind and psychologically prepare you for your day of work. 

Tip: Once you have finished working, change again into your house clothes or PJs. 

3. Stick to your normal working hours 

Maintaining a work-life balance is very important for your mental well-being, especially when you are working from home. 

Some people struggle to maintain their productivity when they are at home, and end up working past their normal working hours. 

Take on board all the tips in this post to boost your productivity when working from home, and set boundaries with your working hours. 

Also, it is a good idea to structure your day like you would if you were in the office. Not doing this could reduce your focus levels or result in you burning out. 

Plan out your day in advance, stay on schedule and take breaks regularly throughout the day. 

Tip: Whilst working remotely, don’t forget to communicate any issues with your workload to your team. 

4. Take your lunch break at the same time as your colleagues

It is a good idea for your team to take their lunch break at the same time when working from home. Doing this helps to maximise the amount of time that all team members are available for collaboration and communication. 

Boris Johnson announced that whilst restaurants will be closed, in an attempt to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, restaurants can still offer delivery services. Deliveroo has implemented its safe place drop-off service to avoid contact with delivery drivers.

Tip: If you use software such as Slack, you can switch your status to “lunch” so that everyone knows that you are having your lunch break. 

5. Create a comfortable workspace or home office 

The idea of working from the sofa sounds great, however, doing so could reduce your productivity levels. 

Tips for setting up a temporary office space at home: 

  • Ensure that you have a comfortable desk and chair, with available plug sockets. 
  • Pick an area of your house that is well lit and free from distractions 
  • Keep your workspace decluttered and clean 
  • Ensure that your workspace has a strong wifi connection

Also, ensure that your workspace at home is as ergonomic as possible to reduce back pain and posture problems. 

  • If you can, adjust your chair height so that you can use your keyboard and mouse whilst keeping your wrists and forearms straight. 
  • Rest your feet flat on the floor or use a footrest at a level that is comfortable for you. 
  • Place the screen of your computer directly in front of you, about an arm’s length away, with the top of the screen roughly at eye-level. 

Tip: For more advice read this post on how to sit at your desk correctly

working from home

6. Ask senior members of your team to share their tips on working from home 

If you will be working from home for the first time, it is a good idea to ask some of the senior members of your team and organisation to share some tips and advice. 

Write a list of questions and any concerns and ask the senior members of your team to share their insights. 

You may want to ask:

  • How will your development be tracked whilst you are working from home.
  • If they have any tips on staying connected with the team and working collaboratively remotely. 
  • How they maintain client communications when they are out of the office.  
  • What tips they have for remaining proactive and taking on new responsibilities whilst working remotely.  

Tip: Ask them to share their insights in a weekly newsletter or via Slack so that your colleagues can also benefit. 

7. Ensure that you will have access to the internet at all times 

Having a poor internet connection when working from home could have a severe impact on your productivity. 

You may need to contact your internet provider to see if they can do anything to speed up your internet speed. 

Also, bear in mind that as a result of the coronavirus and people working from home and with children staying at home the internet could be affected. 

Tip: As a backup, if your internet goes down, you could consider temporarily using your personal hotspot on your phone to connect to the internet on your desktop to continue working. However, this will use up your data. 

8. Get familiar with using remote software 

Many companies have started using software to facilitate remote working. 

Some examples might include Slack, Trello, G Suite and Zoom. 

If you find yourself struggling with technology, do not hesitate to speak with someone from your IT department or ask a colleague for help.

Tip: If this is the case for you, take some time to familiarise yourself with the software. There will be several informative video tutorials on YouTube.

9. Tell your family members that you are working from home 

As schools and nurseries have been ordered to close due to the coronavirus, you may find yourself working from home whilst looking after children, or you may get distracted by other members in your household. 

Let your family members know when you will be working so that they don’t distract you throughout the day. 

Tip: if you have video or telephone calls scheduled throughout the day, make sure that any children in your household are with another responsible adult, to avoid distractions. 

10. Do a workout at home 

The public has been advised to stay at home. However, for your physical and mental wellbeing, it is a good idea to get some exercise. 

During your breaks, get up, walk around and do a few stretches. 

Once you have finished working for the day, you could do a workout at home for 30-60 minutes. 

As well as ensuring that you get some physical exercise daily, be sure to eat healthily, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and reduce your stress levels.

Here is a useful article by the Mental Health Foundation on looking after your mental health while working during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Tip: If you have a garden, spend a few minutes walking around in the garden to get some fresh air. 

11. Stay connected with family, friends and colleagues 

It is common to feel quite lonely when working from home and as many of your family, friends and co-workers will be staying at home you may begin to feel a bit isolated. 

To stay connected, maintain good communication with your team, have frequent meetings via video calls and keep in contact with your friends after work. 

12. Stay updated but don’t get distracted by the Coronavirus news 

News about the global pandemic has taken over the news and social media. 

Whilst it is important to stay informed with the latest news and updates on the Coronavirus outbreak try to limit the number of times you check the news throughout the day. 

Tip: Pick a few credible sources to get your Coronavirus updates from such as the NHS and the World Health Organisation. 

We hope that this post has been useful for you if you will be working from home during the Coronavirus outbreak! The spread of COVIS-19 has resulted in many of us making drastic changes to our daily lives, however, this too will pass! 

If you are considering finding a new job, be sure to check out our post on searching for a job during the Coronavirus outbreak and do not hesitate to contact us here at Graduate Coach for help.  

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