Blog: Adapting to remote working

Published: 4 May 2020

Author: Erica Sosna
Blog: Adapting to remote working

The Covid-19 crisis has forced many people to work from home. This huge shift in working behaviour can be hard to adjust to, especially for employees who are used to working full-time in an office environment. As the founder of Career Matters, a consultancy specialising in careers education and the future of work, I would like to use my knowledge and expertise to share some top tips on how to adapt to working from home.

"We are in a uniquely challenging time, so do not underestimate the effects this will have on your mental wellbeing" - Erica Sosna, Fellow

1. Replace the key moments of connection

In each workplace there are key moments of connection that we are used to, from formal meetings to casual chats over the coffee machine. While the formal weekly meetings are quite easy to replicate through conference calls, a lot of us are missing out on the informal interactions that we encounter in daily office life. A good way to overcome this is to set time aside each day to check in with your colleagues, when you can maintain casual chatter without it being work-related. Arranging ‘post-work drinks’ via a video call is also a great way to maintain social interaction with your colleagues.

2. Remember the wider network

Beyond our immediate team, there are colleagues and clients that we need to stay connected to. Consider who else might want to see and hear from you in these challenging times and schedule check-ins accordingly. While it’s tempting to keep most communication via email, try to make time for video calls or even phone calls to maintain some human interaction.

3. Create a workspace that works for you

Take the time to create a work environment that works for you. Whether it’s having a clear and tidy desk or a quiet space free from distractions, it’s important to get this right so that you feel comfortable while you work. If you can, try to create a space that reflects what you’re used to in the office. Avoid working from your sofa as this can limit productivity: try to sit at a table or desk if possible. Lighting is also important in creating a positive working environment, so aim for as much natural lighting as you can.

4. Set a routine

The structure of your day will have changed if you are working remotely. Try to maintain as much of your normal working routine as you can, such as waking up at the same time as you usually would. It might be helpful to create a schedule to share with your line manager so that they know what your availability is. When working from home, it can also be tempting to work longer than you would in the office as you no longer spend that time commuting, but make a rule to stick to your normal working hours as much as you can.

5. Take care of yourself

We are in a uniquely challenging time, so do not underestimate the effects this will have on your mental wellbeing. Make time for short breaks throughout the day and ensure you step away from your workspace to stretch your legs. Going for a lunchtime walk is great way to connect with nature and break up your working day. If you are struggling, you may find it helpful to reach out to your line manager or somebody else in your team to express how you are feeling and seek support.

I am currently running free webinars to help remote working teams through Career Matters and managers support one another effectively during these challenging times:

  • Tuesday 5 May at 11am - Engaging as a virtual team. Register here 
  • Tuesday 12 May at 12:00pm – Career planning during the pandemic. Register here 

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