Top tips for remote working
With COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown having forced countless businesses to send employees home, most South Africans now find themselves in unfamiliar work territory. If you’re trying to find your feet in your new home office, here are five guidelines to help ease the transition.
1. Choose your work space
While you can’t leave your house and head into the office for the foreseeable future, having a designated work area in your home gives you somewhere to ‘go’ each morning and will help put you in the right frame of mind for work. Try to find a spot close to a window for sunlight and fresh air and make sure you have a table and comfortable chair so that you’re able to maintain good posture while you work. Ensure you have easy access to the things you need – and if it makes you feel more settled (something we all need in these unsettling times), pop a few personal treasures on your desk too.
2. Stick to a routine
When it comes to productivity, having a routine is one of the most important (if not the most important) things to get right. Start by establishing an opening time for your home office – after all, if you were going into the office, you’d need to be there by a specific time each day. Next, plot out a schedule that includes daily status meetings with your co-workers as well as breaks for tea and lunch. Just because there’s nowhere to go, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time out to relax and recharge – it’ll make you more productive in the long run.
3. Stay focused
It’s incredibly easy to get distracted when you work at home – even more so during a global health crisis when there are new developments every few hours and WhatsApp groups and social media are abuzz with breaking news, opinion pieces and endless memes. Try to keep your check-ins to your allotted break times or you’ll find yourself sucked into a never-ending vortex of information. The same goes for laundry, dishes, cleaning, decluttering and anything else that suddenly becomes strangely tempting when you’re working. Which brings us to the next point…
4. Have set working hours
This is crucial if you’re planning to keep any sort of order in your day. By allocating specific hours to work, it means you’ll be able to keep housework, DIY projects etc. to those hours before or after your ‘official’ work time. This will ensure that you don’t spend all day getting things done around the house and keeping up-to-the-minute with the news, only to find yourself having to work into the wee hours to get your work done.
5. Stay connected
You may not be able to catch up with colleagues over a cup of tea in the canteen or while grabbing a coffee at your favourite spot round the corner from the office, but with all the technology we have at our fingertips, there’s no need to become socially isolated either. Make connecting with work colleagues, friends and family a priority over the next few weeks – it’ll help you maintain your sanity and give them much-needed support at the same time. To read up on COVID-19 developments in South Africa, head here for the latest figures from the Department of Health and statements from the Minister of Health, Dr Zwelini Mkhize