Blog

How to stay focused, productive and resilient while working from home

Elissa Dennis
1st April 2020
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Top tips based on our own experience

As an organisation born in the digital age, Appraisd has fully embraced the benefits offered by new technology. Every employee, at one time or another, has worked from home when the need has arisen. The company was created in the garden shed of our founder, Roly, so home working has been part of our DNA from the very beginning.

Of course, the current situation with everyone working from home who possibly can, is very different. Home working has gone from a “nice to have” perk to an essential, everyday activity. Many of the benefits associated with home working like freedom, flexibility and a better work/life balance no longer apply, as people are told to stay inside as much as they possibly can.

This enforced confinement is something we all need to adjust too. One of the main things that employees enjoy about their work is feeling part of community and building friendships. It’s important that these social connections aren’t lost, as feeling isolated and alone can be incredibly damaging to both mental and physical health. It’s also important to set goals to work towards that provide a sense of purpose.

Below are tips from some of our employees, based on their own experiences of working from home about how to survive it successfully and stay as healthy and positive as possible.

Richard

  • Regularly communicate, via messaging or calls, with colleagues to stay connected.
  • However, don't have long calls just for the sake of it. It is easy to waste time and become distracted from the job in hand.
  • Trust others to do their best and deliver what they need to do. If you don't micromanage people when you work in the office, don't do it when you work remotely.
  • Have regular check-ins with your line manager or direct reports to ensure you know what your objectives are and to provide progress updates.
  • To keep focused during this period, set short-term objectives that you can achieve while working remotely. These may be different to your previous objectives, but it will help make your time at home feel valuable and productive.

Drew

  • Get the right equipment if you can, for example, a monitor, headphones and a proper desk. Having a mouse makes ALL the difference to efficient work.
  • Get up and shower. Rolling out of bed straight to your desk sets you up terribly for the day.
  • Get outside if you can before you start work, getting fresh air in the lungs helps you prepare for the day ahead.
  • Check-in with your manager and the wider team. Even if it's just to say hi.... Here at Appraisd we are having afternoon tea via Slack video call at 4.30pm every day
  • Exercise is vital. Living and working in the same environment can feel stressful and claustrophobic. Exercise is the key to keeping your physical and mental health intact.
  • Listen to music or podcasts that help you to focus or inspire. Try and avoid constant news coverage as this is only likely make you feel down.
  • Shut up shop when your working day is over. Put your laptop away and do something away from a screen. Do your best to separate your work time from your down time.

Roly

  • Be explicit about the work you're doing. It's easy for people to not know what you've been working on. Share, share, share so there is no confusion.
  • Put your hand up if you're not busy. Someone else maybe struggling to get their work done, particularly if they have children at home to look after too. Offering your services can really help to lighten their load.

Tasnia

  • A big thing for me personally is waking up and getting ready as if I am going into the office - it triggers my brain into 'work mode'
  • It also means I can make a clear distinction at the end of my workday, by switching back into my comfy home clothes and slippers!

Elissa

  • If possible, set up a dedicated space for work, in a separate room if you can or carve out an area on table that is your workplace.
  • Think about what working hours will fit best to your personal circumstances. For some, particularly with small children at home, early morning starts or working into the evening might be best.
  • Whatever you do, keep a log of your hours to ensure you’re not doing vast amounts of overtime.
  • Looking after your physical health is crucial, pay attention to your posture and try to sit at a desk, not slumped on a sofa. Get up and walk around at least once hour to help your circulation.
  • Take regular breaks from your screen to rest your eyes.
  • Planning is important and especially planning your day, try to punctuate it with different tasks so you build in variety.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”

The next few months will be hard and testing. The important thing to remember is that everyone is going through the same experience and it will come to an end at some point. Keep sharing ideas and tips as much as you can; staying united and pulling together will make all the difference.