30 Top Tips From the Front Line to Each Other on Remote Working

As part of our special webinar series helping navigate the realities of the Coronavirus pandemic and its effect on our everyday lives, we featured a session on Best Practices for Remote Working.

This threw up a vast range of practical tips and advice from yourselves to each other on how to best get to grips with, normalise and manage the many challenges faced by this unprecedented situation and the realities of working from home.

Below we’ve listed your top 30 peer to peer tips, fabulous gems of advice from fellow colleagues in all walks of life, being forced to find our way through these sudden changes to our work life practices.

On Routine

  1. Plan your work timetable the night before and stick to it. Keep to normal working hours and pack away or move away from your working materials once your work day has finished.
  2. Create a routine as much as possible for everyone to provide structure for everyone. If you’re juggling children and schooling, try to coordinate with their breaks so you can have them together.
  3. Don’t work from your bed! Get up at your normal work time, shower and dress as usual. Use the commute time to exercise or do something nice, useful or practice mindfulness. Factor in break times and lunches – set an alarm or alert for them if you need.
  4. Put in breaks in your diary between calls so you don’t have back to back calls. Even it it’s 5 minutes, it’s enough to get up, stretch, walk around or even get a quick breath of fresh air to refocus before the next one.
  5. Change into work clothes in the morning and into ‘home clothes’ once finishes as it helps demarcate the day.
  6. Take time to see what works and what doesn’t. It will be different for everyone.

    On Communication and IT

  7. Video call colleagues daily – use Webex, Teams, Whatsapp, and get the apps on your phone so you can dial into meetings while walking (where appropriate).
  8. Communicate regularly with staff – check in with how they are doing and make sure you’re aware of each team member’s special challenges in this situation – don’t assume everyone is a) either doing the same as you or b) ok.
  9. Create a ‘hump day’ midweek treat or chat to keep everyone going.
  10. Communicate with family the night before what your needs are for the next day. It will help if they know and can prepare their expectations.
  11. Use video as much as possible – it makes a difference to see each other.
  12. Ensure your IT is as reliable as possible and don’t let IT glitches stress you out.

    On Diary Management

  13. Create 30 minute slots for work and personal activities and plan offline times in your diary or you can find yourself on back-to-back calls.
  14. Split your working day with other family members and stick to a routine within that to give children clarity and structure. Work in shifts if necessary and/or possible.
  15. Take a virtual coffee breaks at fixed times to give your day structure– arrange a skype with an office pal or organise a regular office work out session.
  16. Don’t be tempted to work late at night. Sleep is important and you won’t get a good one if you’re working right up to bedtime.

    On Practicalities

  17. Cook something from scratch for lunch. It will force you away from your computer as well as providing something nourishing and good to keep you going throughout the afternoon.
  18. Consider working in different rooms for variety and change of scene. Also some rooms might be better than others for quiet work or conference calls.
  19. Set realistic goals. Don’t try to do it all! Set and write down small achievable goals for each day and work through them so you don’t lose sight of your key deliverables.
  20. Focus on outcomes not on time worked. Set realistic (low even) expectations for work. Make a priority list and tick jobs off as you go.
  21. Fake a commute - walk to/from work by going round the block or garden.
  22. Keep the radio on if you feel like you need company.
  23. Create a separate working area if you have space, so you can leave it at the end of each day.
  24. Get a big screen monitor if possible, not just your laptop, as it reduces headaches and invest in a proper work desk and chair if you can, but even then don’t be glued to it.
  25. Don’t stress about being online from 9-5. If you’re able to flex your time, do so, so that it works for you.

    Top Five One-Liners

  26. Don’t panic or let fear rule your thoughts. Reframe your thinking to look for the positives.
  27. Be as disciplined as possible. Move the biscuit tin out of reach & no TV!
  28. Get up before everyone else for some quiet work/me time.
  29. Get out in the fresh air and breathe!
  30. Get five portions of joy a day!

Stay safe & healthy!