How can homeworking be productive, cost effective and successful for you, your employees and your business?

Coronavirus has left many businesses with the task of telling their employees to work from home. For many, working from home is a new and unknown entity. But with a structured plan put into place, regular communication between you, your team, your customers and suppliers, you can ensure that your business will continue with success. A united joint effort to get through the current situation is paramount for your business to succeed in these unprecedented times.

The Government announcing that the majority of the UK workforce should now work from home is going to be a daunting thought for many business owners. Will my team effectively be able to work from home? Can I rely on their continued support? How do I keep up the morale of my staff? Can I trust my team to help me keep the business flowing? These are possibly some of the questions you are now asking yourself.

Trusting in your employees is key to home-working being successful for your business. Try to avoid seeing this as a negative. One of the benefits for you and your employees is the time saved in travelling to and from the workplace, this can be up to two hours each day and can be a stressful start to the day. The benefit of not having the daily commute gives the employee more time to prepare themselves for their day ahead, making them feel more relaxed and ready to start their day with a positive working attitude.

You will also often find that within a working day up to two hours are inadvertently wasted through non-work related activity, ie: general talking amongst co-workers, coffee and tea breaks, regular toilet trips. It has been found that home working can increase productivity, reduce stress and improve the motivation of employees because they enjoy the independence and the trust invested in them.

So here are some suggestions you can share with your employees on how to make working from home work!

Start the day like you would any other working day

Keep to your usual morning routine. If you used to go to the gym each morning, set aside time for a workout. Don’t skip your morning shower or work in your bathrobe. Get dressed in something comfortable that isn’t your pyjamas. Try to keep your new routine as familiar as possible.

Create a productive working space

Create a space in your home and dedicate it as your place of work. If you don’t have a proper desk, use your kitchen table. Try to re-create your working environment as best you can to your usual business space. Avoid working from your bed unless you are feeling unwell.

Remember you’re still at work

If you’re working from home, your boss isn’t likely to be looking over your shoulder. It can be a temptation to do a little internet browsing or panic-reading of the latest news reports than you normally might at the office. Don’t. Remind yourself that you are at work! If you’re too easily distracted, grab your mobile phone and set the timer for a reasonable amount of time (eg: 10 minutes, once a day) to get your fill and then move on.

Decide what you’ll have for breakfast, lunch, and snacks for during the day the evening before so you don’t waste work time wondering what you’ll eat. Remember to take your agreed break for lunch, this is essential as you could easily forget and burn yourself out. Walk away from your designated working space, sit in the garden or relax on the sofa while you eat.

Make a to-do list to get things done

To stay on track during the day, create a work-related to-do list at the start of your day and keep it at your side. Speak to your co-workers to find out if they need anything done by you too and add to your list. Having a list of tasks at the ready will help you remain focused and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks. It also helps you maintain your regular working hours, rather than accidentally working into the evening.

Do not disturb

If you live with roommates or family members, let them know that you need a reasonable amount of peace and quiet when working remotely. Ask not to be disturbed during certain hours or only for very important matters, and define what those matters are. If you have a dog, consider taking an extra-long morning walk, now that you’re not commuting, to burn off some of their energy, this is not only good for the dog it is also good for you.

Keep in touch with your co-workers and your customers

Make sure you regularly reach out to your co-workers to find out how they’re coping and what’s working for them, share hints and tips to improve productivity. Ensure you send updates on your working progress to your line manager, keep everyone informed constantly to avoid anything being missed. Contact your suppliers for regular updates to ensure your business needs can be met. Communication is vital.

Keep your business in front of your customers, utilise all marketing and advertising opportunities. As the usual avenues for promoting your business are closing down, the high street, sales rep out on the road, staff within the business premises being limited to just what is necessary, now is the time to look at alternative ways to get your business seen by your target audience.

This is where trade publications, email marketing, web exposure and social media are now vital assets. Make sure your business website is up to date, advertise in relevant magazines and on their websites, use social media to keep your name out there, you have a captive audience after all!

This is where we can help! Why not get in touch and see how we can assist you. Please contact Colin Gallimore for your advertising requirements and Jane Soones for editorial opportunities.

TEN Magazine – Hill Media Ltd

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