Embracing the challenge of working from home

Here at Venus Recruitment we know and appreciate that there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment and we want to reassure both clients and candidates that we really do care. We are here to support and help you. We are working closely with the REC Legal team and are happy to share our knowledge of government policies and legalities. We would also like to support any candidates out there with CV writing and advice.
Having spoken to many clients over the last couple of weeks, there are obviously very different workplace scenarios. Some clients are extremely quiet and have either made redundancies or furloughed employees whilst others are extremely busy and it has been interesting talking to everyone as to how they have managed this whole new process.
One thing that of course everyone is doing, if they can, is working from home. So, we thought we would put together some useful information to ensure that you are as comfortable and productive as possible in your new work environment. Routine and structure are everything and one of the most important things to tackle is mindset, so be kind to yourself.
One of our clients has taken home working to the next level with their new moto ‘Family is part of the Team’. They understand that being at home isn’t ideal and employees are anxious about how to work and manage the kids at the same time. Their views are not to worry about the background noise and make your children aware that they are helping society by being at home with mum and dad. What a forward-thinking company!

5 Tips for working comfortably and productively

1. Get dressed

For some people, the prospect of staying in their pyjamas all day is the most tantalising aspect of working from home. But washing and getting dressed will not only improve your state of mind, it will psychologically prepare you to start work.
Whether you need to change into business attire depends on the type of person you are and the nature of the job you have. Some people find that dressing formally is helpful and useful if they need to dial into a video call.

2. Establish boundaries

If you’re employed by a company, you’ll probably have set hours of work, and it’s important to stick to these when you’re working from home. Be ready to start your day at the same time as you would normally arrive in your office or workplace and finish your day at the same time.
At the end of a working day, it’s best to switch off your computer and tidy away papers and other items. Space allowing, set aside a specific, separate area in your home where you can set yourself up – ideally with a properly adjusted desk and chair, similar to your workplace.
The NHS advice is that you should adjust your chair so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor.
If there are other people in the house, finding a space where you’re not likely to be disturbed is essential, as Prof Robert Kelly found out the hard way in 2017. He was being interviewed live by BBC News when his two children burst into the room, creating a now infamous video, which has been viewed more than 30 million times. We remember that well!

3. Get out and about (if you’re not self-isolating)

Working from home shouldn’t mean you stay cooped up indoors all day. While you might not miss your daily commute, it does guarantee that you leave the house at least once during the day.
So, get your shoes on, get outside and enjoy that fresh air. A different perspective will also help undo mental blocks and give you a fresh pair of eyes for any tasks you’re struggling with.

4. Pick up the phone

If you’re working from home, the chances are you’ll be alone, so you won’t get distracted by colleagues’ conversations and other office noise.
When you’re at work, you’re more likely to engage with colleagues but when you’re working from home, you could spend the whole day without speaking to anyone which can be isolating.
It’s easy to spend the day without speaking to anyone so it’s a good idea to call workmates or friends for a chat and if you are worried about anything, it is important to share those feelings with your manager.
Make some time to pick up the phone and have a real conversation, rather than relying on email and instant messaging.
Perhaps on a Friday afternoon and a Monday morning organise a 30 minute video conference on Zoom or Teams and maintain conversations.

5. Take regular breaks

It’s good to have a routine when you’re working from home, but work shouldn’t become monotonous.
And you shouldn’t stay glued to your screen all day. It’s important to take regular screen breaks and get up from your desk and move around just as you would in an office.
Many people recommend the Pomodoro Technique, where you take a five minute break every 25 minutes
Research has also found that short breaks throughout the day are more beneficial than less frequent, longer breaks.
Being cooped up without stopping for a break can mean your productivity levels drop, you become tired and less motivated so it’s important to stand up, stretch, move around and even go for a short walk to take a break from your work and your screen.

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