Make staying connected to your workplace a priority

Psychological research reveals that connecting with others is hugely beneficial to our health. At this time of uncertainty, connecting with others can be reassuring. Being reminded of how we are all affected by COVID-19 can bring some comfort.

During this outbreak, we should safely stay connected to workplace and colleagues. Here are some tips on how to do that while working from home.

Have a morning routine

Once you start working from home you no longer have a morning commute. As such, creating a morning routine is essential.

Preparing for work means dressing for work. Create a morning routine of breakfast, spending time with family and even leaving the house for a short walk to then re-enter prior to starting work. Logging in to work 20 minutes earlier than scheduled start-time also helps to plan and get ahead of the day.

Maintaining a normal working routine will make it more likely you stay in contact with others.

Work “face-to-face” in virtual meetings

If you "dress for work" you are more likely to use video in virtual meetings. In addition, if you know that you will be meeting colleagues via video, you’ll be more motivated to maintain that daily routine before logging on for work. This will lead to improved social bonds between you and your co-workers.

Managers - hold daily video calls with your teams

This can be either on a group chat or with each person individually. It’s much easier to feel connected with people when you can physically see them.

Being able to see and react to a person’s nonverbal cues is also critically important to conversations, with most experts saying 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal.

On a psychological level, engaging with people though video can help decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness that can stem from a sudden move to a remote working environment.

Go to your working spot

Working from a living room, bed or couch is not ideal — no matter how attractive a spot of ‘bedmin’ (admin tasks completed in bed) is. Inevitably you end up feeling lethargic.

Have a dedicated place for work. This allows you to create a working environment free of distractions. A workstation also helps you to sit comfortably and more confidently to focus on work. This way you will be more productive and have more time to check in with colleagues.

Downtime

Planning breaks in the day – just like the ones in the office, like water-cooler or lunch breaks – is essential. These breaks help to keep fatigue in check.

These breaks also allow you chances to check in with work colleagues, household chores or with family members.

Use digital tools

Working from home does not mean you are disconnected from your team. There are many digital tools to connect with each other and they can be used effectively during social distancing.

These tools provide opportunities for team huddles/meetings and allow colleagues to connect digitally, share ideas or resolve any challenges they may be facing.

But don’t just keep these tools for work related meetings. Why not organise a virtual pub meet up, a quiz or a bingo session.

Communicate, communicate and communicate

When in the remote mode, your voice and online communication becomes your personality. It is important to communicate effectively and clearly with your colleagues, clients and family members.

This can be hard initially as you are not in front of your colleagues or clients. Many people are reluctant to use the video camera when connected via an online meeting. However, video-conferencing in all meetings will massively improve your sense of connection with others.

Priority list

Having a priority list helps to clear those areas which are time-sensitive and important. While at home there can be many more distractions and having a priority list is helpful to ensure that you get the work done and make time to connect with others.

Maintain clear work hours

Working from home offers additional time on hand as there is no commuting. Maintaining professional log-in and log-off times is the key to create a balance.

Set alarms on your phone or set your computer to log off at specific times. When the time comes, leave the house for a short period and then come back in to mark the end of the day. This way you will balance professional and personal time appropriately - and ensure you have time to connect with others.

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Last updated Monday 1 June 2020