Remote working
Abby Howe

BY ABIGAIL HOWE – OWORX SUPPORT & OPERATIONS MANAGER

When the pandemic situation escalated earlier this year I – and lots of other people – very quickly had to adapt to changing circumstances and although I reacted quickly, getting the most out of my new WFH workspace took some extra discipline and considerations.

I quickly found that there were some great benefits to working from home (no commute!) but equally having the lack of structure that I had when based in the office was leading to a dip in my productivity and overall wellbeing. The answer for me was to develop a homeworking routine that set up my working day and more importantly having a routine that suited me.

A top priority was having a dedicated work environment and having that separation between “home space” and “workspace.” I set up an area that was specifically for work and I try to think of it as stepping ‘into’ my workspace every day so that I can make that mental shift. Every morning I make sure to have the equipment I need within easy reach of my workspace (including coffee!) so I am not wasting time trying to find things and can get started on my to-do list first thing.

Setting a work schedule and being flexible when possible within that schedule is important.

Having an idea of when you will start and finish and roughly take breaks during the day is a good place to start. On the subject of taking breaks, please take them and when possible try and go outside and get some fresh air. I fell into the trap early in my WFH transition in that I did not feel I had “earned” a break because I was only sitting on the computer at home. This is an easy mistake to make but equally, an easy one to avoid, you need to step away from your computer or phone and mentally reset throughout the day – try not to feel guilty, being burnt out isn’t helpful for anyone.

The loss of human interaction was probably the hardest thing for me when moving to work from home, you can very quickly feel removed from your colleagues and the work you are doing. It was vital for me to embrace online collaboration tools like Zoom, MS Teams, Slack, etc, so I could continue to share ideas and work with my colleagues and customers. I have weekly team meetings that are of course focused on work but set aside the first few minutes to catch-up and check-in with my colleagues on a personal level to keep building those relationships. Also, I find jumping on face-to-face calls much more engaging than talking over messenger so when possible, I will always push for that level of interaction.

It took some time to get used to my work from home environment and although there have been challenges, I have embraced the change and found a routine that works for me.

I hope sharing my approach can help in some way. Comment below with your thoughts and top tips, I’d love to hear them.