With Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in place, many employees of UK businesses that are able to, are now working from home to conform with the UK Government directive laid out by the Prime Minister, Boris Johnston.
With the help and guidance that the UK government is offering businesses, we felt we could offer you some help and advice of our own. Our entire team is now working from home as many of our systems were already set up to do so. Cloud accounting has definitely come into its own!
We’ve outlined some suggestions for our team members and we wanted to share them with you in the hope they might help you at this challenging time.
We hope they help…
Keep a routine
This is really important. With all the upheaval, you’ll need something to keep you on track and in some sort of normality. A routine is a great way to ensure you have something ‘normal’ going on. We all need routine. We like things to stay the same. That’s why it’s hard to make a new one! So, see what you can use from the routine you used to have and apply it at home instead.
Yes it’s important for Zoom and Skype calls (don’t be this guy!), but it’s also good for your mental health and mindset. Working in your PJs might seem like an attractive prospect but it’s better to get showered and dressed, even in your work attire, so you feel ‘ready to work!’. Don’t want to get dressed smartly or have to iron your shirts? OK, how about something comfortable and stylish instead? Just not your pyjamas!
Leave the house before you start work
Not having to commute saves all that traffic and pollution but you’ll miss out on the travel to work and the journey home, too. How can you create that before you work from the kitchen table? Maybe take your daily walk (safely and alone) before you work? The commute has mostly likely prepared you for work over the years, so add in a new ‘commute’ if you can.
Plan your day
Planning is something we recommend you do anyway, but it’s especially important when you’re working from home as you’ll have distractions. Pet, kids, the postman, or the neighbours may well interrupt you, so put a plan in place to keep you on track (and to help you get back on track) should those distractions stop you working. The washing machine and dishwasher can wait until your lunch break or after work.
Plan your workspace
Your workspace is your working environment, and this has probably changed a lot. Make sure it’s more than just a few things moved from the kitchen worktop or table. Try to make it more like a business environment. Use a proper desk or chair where you can, add work equipment if possible, or just make sure that it’s comfortable, well-lit and safe to work in. Many working mums have put signs outside the door to prevent children coming in while they’re on calls, but we’re sure most people are pretty forgiving about interruptions at the moment.
Drink! And we don’t just mean tea and coffee. And not wine or gin, tempting as it may be under the circumstances. Water is a hugely underestimated work assistant. Staying hydrated will give you a better concentration and help you to stay focused and working effectively. By the time you feel thirsty you’re already dehydrated, and our bodies use water all day long, so top it up whenever you can!
Have a daily team video call
Video calls are really easy to do and with the free version of Zoom or Skype you can easily keep your team engaged and keep up those important office chats and relationships. It doesn’t have to be some complicated meeting room + login scenario either. Facebook Messenger released the Messenger App for desktop last week and WhatsApp Web also allows video calls from your laptop too.
We have a team meeting at 9am every day to set the intentions for our day and to re-create that ‘getting to work’ feeling.
Schedule breaks and stick to them
Breaks in work are good for productivity and where you’d usually be offered tea (or it’s your turn to do so) in the office, you need to put breaks in place. You might be a fan of the pomodoro technique, or simply someone who needs a break at 11, lunch at 1, a cuppa at 3, and then finish at 5pm. Whatever works for you is great, but put them in place.
Fresh air is still allowed! You can pop into the garden, stand on the back step, open your front door and look out. Whatever works for you. Getting in your walk at lunch might work, too. Fresh air and the outside world (and sunshine if it’s out) will help your mental health as well as your work. Staying cooped up indoors will not help, so please get some fresh air when you can.
At the time of writing this you can still go for a daily walk or piece of exercise (like jogging or cycling) alone or with members of your household. Make sure you do. It’s going to be a really key part of your physical and mental wellbeing and that will directly impact on your workload and effectiveness. Get out for that walk, cycle in the garage on a turbo trainer, do some lunges in the lounge, or do some PE with Joe Wicks. There are many options, even in a full lockdown. If you have a garden you have room for some HIT training.
It’s good to talk…
Finally, please make sure you talk to other people. Make a phone call, chat to clients, your team, your family (outside of your house if alone) and keep that human contact going.
“Talk to at least one of your colleagues at least once a day, in addition to the meeting” is one directive we have at Trinity for our team.
Can you put that in place for you, too?
We hope that helps.
If you have other ideas/tips, please let us know. We might add them to this blog or our own team schedule. Stay safe and if you need any help with your accounting help please do contact us now. We’re working as normal from the safety of our homes.