With COVID-19 at large, a sizable portion of the global workforce have taken a “better safe than sorry” approach. The nationwide lockdown in the UK and many European countries have forced businesses to fully embrace work from home (WFH).
Over the last month, companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon have asked all employees who can work remotely to stay at home. The impulse towards telecommuting has been so significant, some are calling it the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment.
The good news is our SAP community have been working remotely long before the current situation unfolded. The bluewaveSELECT team have also joined the WFH movement, and we already have a bunch of tips and observations to share. Hopefully, they’ll make your stay at home a touch more interesting.
So, without further ado…
6 Common-Sense Tips for Working From Home
1. Work While You Work, Play While You Play
Making another pit stop at the fridge to fish for some snacks? Dirty dishes calling you from the sink? If you’re constantly breaking away from work to tend to more “important” stuff, you’re not alone. It happens to everybody once in a while (us too!).
Here’s the thing. Work from home encourages procrastination. Especially when you’re new to it and haven’t built up the right habits and resistance to dillydallying. According to Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report, distractions at home are the 4th most common obstacle for remote workers.
The key is to know when it’s time for work and when it’s time for play. The best way to keep procrastination in check is to set a rigid schedule and stick to it. A *degree* of flexibility is a good thing, but you don’t want to go overboard with it.
2. Don’t Go Into “Hermit” Mode (Just Yet)
While social distancing is essential for keeping the current situation under control, it doesn’t have to equal total radio silence. It also doesn’t mean you have to go into hermit mode and completely shut yourself out from the world.
Fell like you need some human-to-human contact? Why not throw a Zoom video party or jump on a Skype call and see how your colleagues are doing? Share pictures of your home office setup, tell some insider jokes and communicate as often as possible.
At bluewave we like to set up virtual coffee and cake meetings. It’s the second-best thing to watercooler chit-chat. And the coffee+cake combo tastes even better when you’re in good company.
3. Work SMART With Kids at Home
Even before COVID-19 was the thing, work from home was an option for all parents who needed some extra time with their kids. But now, with schools closed and children at home, the fam is always in.
For many, this is a completely new situation that will likely require some brainwork to figure out the optimal work-life balance. But you can pull it off.
Plan out family activities in advance so you can schedule blocks of uninterrupted time to focus on your work. If your partner also works from home, see if you can split parental duties 50/50 so one can work while the other’s looking after the gang.
And don’t forget to take regular breaks for some toddler fun. It’ll make your workday a tad more cheerful and give you something to look forward to. Office etiquette doesn’t apply.
Be sure to check out this Guardian article for more tips.
4. Don’t Let the “Black Dog” Get You
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, chances are you’ve followed media outlets for COVID-19 updates. While it’s perfectly ok to pay “moderate” attention to the news, letting too much of the negativity in may not be the best idea.
It’s no secret that social media and the news just love adding fuel to the fire. With “catchy” headlines and “shocking” news, they’re very effective at making the situation even more depressing. But there’s no reason to feed the black dog even more.
Keep your news consumption down to a minimum. Allow a trickle of trusted, unbiased sources to know how the situation’s developing. And if you feel that you really need some peace of mind, don’t be afraid to unplug and take a “day off” from the buzz.
5. Get Some Sleep
This will probably come as a surprise to many, but sleep is important. In fact, research shows that lack of sleep can significantly curb your body’s immune system and leave openings for infections.
When you work from home, it’s increasingly tempting to do “a couple more things” or work “a few more hours.” After all, your work laptop is always at hand. Why not stay up late and clear the backlog that’s been haunting you for months?
But this seems like the worst time to trade zzz’s for work commitments. Instead, you should try to use this temporary flexibility to recharge your batteries. The SleepCouncil recommends 7-9 hours each night to get all the perks that come from a good night’s sleep.
6. Don’t Be a Couch Potato!
Staying isolated at home doesn’t mean you have to spend all days slouched in your office chair and staring at the computer screen. If your regular commuting routine involves taking a walk or cycling to the office, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be moving those muscles while at home!
At bluewave, we run a weekly Zoom video conference where the whole team can jump (pun not intended) on 40-minute bodyweight exercises. So, if your neighbourhood gym always seems “out of the way”, this is the best time to get moving.
Trust us, it’s fun.
Useful Resources for UK Businesses and Contractors
If you’re new to work from home or want to support your employees during the transition, SAP has shared a number of tools you can use:
- Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse is now free and publicly available. If you’re a business owner, the app will let you gather feedback from your remote employees and see how they’re doing in these new circumstances. (click)
- SAP Litmos is a learning management system that currently offers free access to Remote Readiness & Productivity Academy. The course comes with advice on remote work, mental wellness and best WFH practices. (click)
Considering the spreading misinformation concerning the coronavirus outbreak, we’ve also compiled a list of credible resources that will help you navigate the current situation: