The world is your office

The world is your office


There’s not a shortage of articles about home working. But their advice differs, and some of them are very, very (very) long. So, we took a read of the top twenty, and then (at home, obviously) picked out the very best bits. We originally published this internally within Harvey Nash Group as part of our wellbeing newsletter, but it got so much good feedback we thought it might be useful for the wider world. If you have any home working suggestions or comments do post them to this article.

  1. ‘Go’ to work. The temptation might be to roll out of bed and log on, but all the research says that that’s not a good idea. You need to ‘warm up’ for work; just like a physical commute would do. Make sure you are showered, dressed, and if you can, go around the block to grab fresh air and a coffee.
  2. Get away from your desk every hour. Humans weren’t really designed to sit on a chair for hours on end (there are no ancient cave paintings of humans in front of PCs for instance 😊). Make sure every hour you get up to stretch your legs and back. It will make a massive difference to how you feel. We searched for some example stretches, and these ones are pretty good!
  3. Make work a dedicated space. If you can, dedicate a room or part of a room as your work area, and make it clear to all other people in the house (and pets too, although they rarely pay attention) that this is your work area. Make sure it’s tidy. Wires, phones, headsets can make your desktop look like spaghetti. Tidy it up, otherwise your mind might feel like spaghetti too.
  4. Maintain regular hours. Start and stop work at an agreed time. And we do mean stop. Home working can sometimes blur the line between those two words: home and work.
  5. Switch on the camera. So much (about half) of communication is non-verbal and video significantly improves the quality of engagement. Without your camera on you are missing out. Don’t worry if you don’t look like a Hollywood actor/actress when you’re on camera (after all, who does? OK, Brad Pitt does, but seriously, who else??)
  6. Use a headset. We’ve all been there, you start a conference call and the feedback makes it sound like a howling dog / whirlwind / techno club. Firstly make sure you know how to mute your mic. Secondly try and use a headset. Your voice will sound so much clearer, much better than a howling dog.
  7. Reduce use of email. Instead of using email to communicate within your team, use a collaboration tool like Teams. It significantly improves engagement, and saves email for more formal communications. Also consider using emojis and animated gifs in your comms (especially on collaboration tools). They are cheesy yes, but they also add personality to messages, and can avoid people interpreting your message as too harsh or formal, and that would be bad 😊.
  8. Over communicate. Whilst the virtual world has fantastic opportunities for collaboration it doesn’t have those ‘water cooler’ moments or chance encounters of the office. So make sure you are at the virtual water cooler by staying in constant contact. Use every opportunity to video call / call people. Before you email someone ask, could I call them? Also take part in collaboration chats.
  9. If you are feeling down. Tell your boss or your HR contact. Working from home is great, but occasionally it might feel isolating. Don’t let it last, speak to someone who can give some advice and support.
  10. Use your commute for something else. In the old world (i.e. 3 weeks ago) you may have spent up to 2 hours a day sitting on train or in a car. You are released from this! Exercise, read, learn a new skill!

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