Hints and tips for remote working during and after the Covid-19 crisis

With the current Covid-19 crisis developing swiftly and affecting more people every day, apart from sending out speedy recovery wishes to those infected, what can we do to prepare for working from home during this time?

Many of us have spaces in our home where we happily work for an afternoon or day each week, but how well would this work for you if you have to make this space your office for two weeks, or more? Have you a contingency plan in place? Perhaps now is the time to do so, here are a few suggestions to help your plans.

Check technology – how stable is your wifi connection at home? Perhaps speak to your provider to ensure good speed and connectivity or invest in a mobile wifi (mifi) as a back-up. If you don’t already know how to use your mobile phone as a wifi hotspot, test it out today.

Connectivity – do you have access to your work intranet from your laptop? Do you have all the passwords you need to work as normal? Consider using a secure password vault such as Last Pass so that access is easy yet security is maintained.

Working space – set up your temporary office space so that you can work uninterrupted and in comfort. Space to spread necessary paperwork, power points to ensure technology is fully charged, a supportive and comfortable chair all make the transition to remote working much easier.

Keep in touch with colleagues – face-to-face communication is still essential and easily maintained using Skype or Zoom, both free to use but try and get these set up before you need them for the first time.

Uninterrupted time – if you have children, they are likely to also be off school. During holidays I work from 7am through until 1030am whilst the children are still asleep, or just waking up, and then again in the evening when they are in bed to ensure I stay on top of things. Whatever you decide to do make sure you plan a routine that everyone knows about and then stick to it! Household chores can wait. Which brings me well onto my next point…

Fight procrastination – somehow the washing up, ironing, cuddling the cat, getting trapped in the headlights with daytime tv all seem far more important than the job in hand! Be aware of this and perhaps employ the Pomodoro technique of time management by using a timer to break down work intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks where you can indulge in a coffee or tea, cat cuddle, TV, a Munch-like scream, or popping the washing on!

Maintain normality – try and stick to normal working hours and if you can, shut the door on your office space at the end of the day. Resist the temptation of popping open your laptop at 9pm for a quick email check.

Stay positive – this situation will only be for a few weeks and, you never know, you may actually find you are far more productive and enjoy working remotely so much that this becomes more commonplace for you once restrictions are lifted!

A great learning resource about collaborative working in a remote team, provided by FutureLearn (a free to use online training platform) is available here and may provide you with extra guidance and advice.