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17 May

A WFH Guide from Forward Ladies

It’s safe to say, we are living in unprecedented times. We have been asked to isolate ourselves and maintain a social distance from others to curb the spread of the coronavirus.  

It is safe to say that anxiety levels are at an all-time high as we worry about our health, that of our vulnerable loved ones and the impact the disruption will have on our businesses.  In response, businesses have asked their staff to work from home and banned all forms of business travel. So, we have teamed up with Forward Ladies and pulled together a guide to help you make the most of this time.  

Conveniently, today is National Work from Home day and what better timing to give you the ultimate WFH guide.

START YOUR DAY RIGHT

When you work from home, italmost too easy to roll out of bed, turn your laptop on and start working. This approach is not recommended. Start your day as you would if you were commuting to the office. Starting your day right means that you stick to the same morning routine.  

Some reports do not recommend that you visit public gyms, so if your morning routine involves going to the gym, then exercising along to videos from YouTube will help you keep to that routine. This early morning burst of endorphins will also help you stay productive and energised throughout the day. Go ahead and have your morning shower and breakfast and get dressed and ready to head over to your “office” prepared for a productive day. 

SET UP A WORK SPACE

When working from home, it is tempting to work from anywhere at any time, but that can cause some challenges with family members who need to understand how, where and when you are working, so they can respect your boundaries. We recommend that you invest in setting up a workspace so that moving to and away from that space, will signal the start and end of your working day. Invest in a suitable desk and chair, to provide adequate support while you work. We also recommend good lighting to avoid strain on your eyes.

If you already have a home office setup and are already equipped to work from home, then you don’t have to do anything else. If this is all new to you, then take the opportunity to be more disciplined in using the space. Position your workspace somewhere with adequate natural light, window and fresh air, as this makes a difference if you are going to be spending hours in this space. 

TURN NOTIFICATIONS OFF

While working from home, we encourage you to stay connected and to keep communications channels open. Still, we also recommend that you disconnect from all social media and turn their notifications off, because these will only disrupt your flow and increase your anxiety if the networks you are scaremongering.  

TURN OFF THE TV AND RADIO

 Do not be tempted to keep the TV on in the background. The constant reporting on the spread of the virus will keep you in a state of anxiety and panic. So turn the TV and news channels off and only turn it back on when you’re taking a tea break or your lunch break—playing positive, soothing music in the background does you no harm if you are used to working with music.  

STAY AWAY FROM ON-DEMAND SHOWS

It is also tempting to tune into your favourite shows, thinking you will only watch one episode and get back to work, but knowing full well how addictive these shows really are. It will be better to save it for the end of the working day. Binge-watching Netflix shows are a real threat, but a great reward for a hard day’s work!  

STAY HEALTHY AND HYDRATED

We also encourage you to stick to the necessary breaks after every 90mins to 2 hours of work, to help you keep focused and stay on track.  

GET UNPLUGGED

There is a tendency to keep working and stay connected on our gadgets, but this is also not great for your mental health and anxiety levels. If you were at work in an office, you would take a break and perhaps go out for some fresh air so do the same even when working from home.  

GRAB A HEALTHY LUNCH

Your kitchen is just around the corner. Make yourself a healthy lunch and take a proper break. The opportunity to make a healthy lunch and make full use of yout lunch break is one of the perks of working from home.   

COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR TEAM & GIVE UPDATES

Communication is now more critical than ever, as more people begin to work remotely. Check-in daily and let your team know when your working day starts and when it ends. Have regular video calls so everyone can still feel connected. 

BE VISIBLE

You need to provide strong visible leadership for your direct reports by checking in with them daily or several times a week. You also to let your management team know that you’re okay and give them the peace of mind that the necessary work and actions are getting done, so they have nothing to worry about this. Your visibility will keep everyone’s anxiety or and worries of team members slacking off in check.   

HAVE SOME RULES AROUND EMAILS

Maintain a few rules around when you check your emails, and so you are not continually checking them. If your team uses any kind of internal communication tools such as Yama or slack then do log on and use them to communicate with people so that you’re not checking your emails now and again.  

STAY AWAY FROM THE FRIDGE

It is very tempting to keep making trips to the fridge for snacks. For those already susceptible to it, there is also a real risk of comfort eating as our anxiety levels rise. So, you need to be self-aware and plan your food for the day. You may need to snack, so replace the sodas and coffees with water, and the biscuits and cakes with fruits and health bars.    

TIME TO LOG OFF

Make sure to clock out when your working day is over. One of the challenges of working from home is the risk of burn out for those that enjoy their work. It would be best if you stopped working at a reasonable time, so you can avoid burnout.  

TAKE THE TIME TO CALL PEOPLE

Maintaining physical distance does not mean not speaking to people. Take the time to get back in touch with people and reconnect.  

ALLOCATE TIME TO SOCIAL NETWORKING

There is no need to completely cut ourselves off from the world, just because we are working from home and advise to maintain social distance from others. Use the opportunity to update your social networking profiles and stay in touch with your network. Make an effort to reach out to people within your network to see how they are doing and to see what support and advice you can offer to them at this time. They will appreciate the gesture.  

GET ORGANISED AND READY

Make the most of the time and get on top of any admin that you have been avoiding. Once the travel ban is lifted and business resumes as usual, it will be hectic, as we all try to make up for the lost time and to achieve targets. So, use the opportunity to catch up on your workload and get your things in order.  

STAY SAFE ONLINE

Most companies have policies around how to keep their data safe while working from home. Please familiarise yourself with these and also be vigilant about sharing your information online.  

FIND AN ONLINE WORK BUDDY

You can find someone to check-in in with and work alongside with, even if its remotely. This person will provide the motivation and accountability you need to get up and dressed ready to put in a full day’s work.  

GET ORGANISED AND READY

Make the most of the time and get on top of any admin that you have been avoiding. Once the travel ban is lifted and business resumes as usual, it will be hectic, as we all try to make up for the lost time and to achieve targets. So, use the opportunity to catch up on your workload and get your things in order.  

JOURNAL IT

Its a time of increased uncertainty, anxiety and stress for everyone, we think it is vital that you have some tools to help you cope. Keeping a journal of your day and emotions will help you offload some of that stress. This practice of journaling will help you make sense of some of the way you are feeling and will also help you cope better.  

ASK FOR HELP

There is nothing like being able to talk to people and to put a face to the voice.  Do not hesitate in asking to speak to someone one, whether informally or professionally, if you need help to deal with the uncertainty of the current climate. Strong people know when to ask for help, so don’t hesitate to ask if it’s needed.  

I hope this guide gives you a solid foundation for working from home.  

You can also visit the Forward Ladies Community Page and find a power circle to connect with other women for motivation and advice on how to stay productive and well, whilst working from home.   
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