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Working from home? Advice from a remote working expert

Working from home? Advice from a remote working expert

MiNDFOOD talks to a remote working expert to find out the dos and don'ts of working from home.

Working from home? Advice from a remote working expert

Amidst the coronavirus crisis, workers from around the globe are now being urged to work from home if they can.

Remote working isn’t new, but for many employees, this presents a new challenge – with the lines between family and work-life blurred, regular routine trickier to maintain, and colleagues needing to adapt the way they communicate.

We asked Tim Bentley a Professor of Work and Wellbeing for his advice for navigating this new working landscape.

 

Creating a workspace from home is key

One of the first things you should do is create an ‘office’ space. “It is important that individuals who have switched to working from home quickly establish a suitable place within the house where they can accomplish their work without disturbance,” explains Bentley.

While not everyone has the luxury of a spare office room in the home, try do the best with what you’ve got. Set up a desk at the corner of your bedroom, or living area. You might even find a suitable space in the garage.

 

Get comfortable – and remember to stretch

For those used to ergonomic office chairs, you might find it difficult with the furniture you’ve got from home. Ask your workplace if you can take your chair home, or if not, try get the most comfortable chair that’s good for posture – as tempting as it may seem, slouching in bed while working is not great for your posture or productivity.

It’s also important to remember to stretch. “Follow a working pattern that allows for the adoption of a range of postures and frequent stretching and moving around, rather than sitting for prolonged periods with poor static posture,” recommends Bentley.

 

Set out clear boundaries

Working from home presents a unique set of challenges, especially if both partners are doing it, or kids are around.

Openly communicate with your family about these challenges and try to establish some boundaries. “Clear boundaries will need to be set in both time and space,” says Bentley. “It takes time for other family members to get used to someone working from home the first time.”

This will mean putting in a bit more effort to be patient and respectful with everyone in the family. “All family members need to respect the fact that the worker needs a quiet and uninterrupted opportunity to work, and their presence in the home does not mean they can be called on to carry out domestic chores during their worktime.”

 

Increase communication with your colleagues

When you’re out of the office, communication is essential to making sure things run as smooth as possible. You can no longer tap your colleague on the shoulder if you’ve got a question.

This will require more effort to communicate – share with your team what you’re working on, schedule regular team meetings and be clear when asking someone a question.

Maintaining close virtual contact, Bentley explains, will also “help overcome concerns around social isolation and fear that the individual is missing out on anything related to their role and future careers.”

 

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