How To Make Working From Home A Success…
It is thought that currently, 51% of non-furloughed workers are now working from home, this in stark contrast to the 6% recorded by the ONS pre-lockdown. Working from home is now our new normal and is set to be the norm for the foreseeable future. So what’s the most effective way to get used to this new regime? We have pulled together a few pointers that will hopefully point you in the right direction and show you how to make working from home a success…
Good broadband makes life easier:
Even if your home broadband was satisfactory prior to lockdown, it may not be now. Video calls, file downloads, always-on Spotify, plus a dose of Netflix in your lunchbreak all put extra pressure on your data requirements, especially if there are other people home in the same position or homeschooling. So firstly, check your present broadband speed with a cost-free tool similar to this one from Ofcom. If your test results return anything upwards of 25Mbps, you should be OK to work properly from home, even with numerous other members of your family doing the same. But, if your results come back at 10Mbps or much less, you will possibly need to change to a quicker broadband solution.
Create an “office”:
It is essential to carve out space in your home that’s dedicated to your workday. There’s no need for a whole room but choose somewhere with enough space for you to sit upright at a table/worktop with sufficient lighting and the least amount of background noise.
Structure your day:
Deal with working days as if you were going into the office. Set your alarm clock, take a shower, get some breakfast and then “show up” for work at your expected time. Take regular breaks away from your desk, including your lunch break. Finish your day at your normal time and then close the laptop! Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you are on call.
Creating and keeping personal connections at work is not just beneficial to your mental health and wellness but possibly your job too. Even if at the moment keeping up these interactions need to be virtual, try and make the effort. Whether it is a 5 minute on Microsoft Teams while you and a colleague have a coffee break, or joining in on the office Zoom quiz night, give it a go.
Cover your expenses:
You might incur additional expenses by working from home such as business telephone calls, or additional utilities. From April 2020, you have been able to claim up to ₤6 a week (or ₤26 a month) in tax relief for your company to cover these costs, you won’t even need to keep any records. You can figure out if you are eligible at HMRC’s website.
While working from home unavoidably throws up some challenges, there are also many advantages – so, make the most of them! Such as, being able to fit in an online fitness class during a break, being home for deliveries, even having time to plan and prepare a meal to enjoy when the workday is done. You may also have additionally found yourself saving a few pounds, due to reduced travel and other daily costs (lunches, coffees, etc). On the other hand, however, if you have days where you feel isolated or anxious or simply a little bit down, try to remember that, if you can contend with what this last year has thrown at you and you still have a job to do from home, you are among the very fortunate ones in this pandemic.