Coronavirus and working from home
March 25, 2020
With the ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of us will begin to work from home. For some, that’s the norm – but for others, it can be a huge change and bring challenges that perhaps you didn’t think it would.
Here’s a few tips to help make your working day at home efficient, enjoyable and productive.
- Have a dedicated work space. If you don’t have a specific room to use as an office, use a desk, table etc that is then only used as your home working space. This means you can actually “go “to work and “leave” at the end of the day. Make sure it’s comfortable with your chair being at the right height etc. You might need to adjust with cushions and even improvise a footrest. If you’re going to be sat at your new desk every day for at least 3 weeks (based on the current Government guidance), you need to be comfortable – and not trigger back pain or other aches due to bad posture. And if you can position your workstation near a window, all the better. This will give you a change of view from your screen, allowing your eye muscles to stretch – as well as direct fresh air.
- Stick to a routine. If your move to working from home is as an employee, it is likely that you will need to work your normal office hours – and this will help. As far as you can, structure your work as you would normally do so if you were in the office. Take your lunch break and get some fresh air – even if this is only in your own back garden. When you finish for the day, make sure your desk is clear and ready for you to arrive the next morning.
- Dress. Some people find it easier to adopt “work mode” when working at home if they wear work clothes. Consider going with dress-down day work wear or even just wearing your work shoes. It doesn’t matter that you’re not in your usual environment and so not expecting to see people. Adopting your normal working style will help you to focus. When you finish for the day – change as you normally would if arriving home from the office so you mentally relax and work is put aside for the evening.
- Distractions. Working at home – alone (other than perhaps your family being around) – will be a very different experience for most. Set some ground rules with your family or other household members. This way everyone knows what’s happening and you can work without disturbance for set periods of time as well as having the time with family/children that you need. Think about putting your mobile phone out of the way and only checking it once every hour or so. Don’t have the TV on where you’re working- stick with the radio/music. As a bonus – you get to choose what you listen to!
- Take breaks. If you were in the office, no doubt you’d visit the coffee machine, staff kitchen or water cooler – and probably have a quick chat with whoever else happened to be there at the same time. So, allow yourself to talk to family members when you boil the kettle for your mid-morning cuppa or afternoon tea. Get 5 minutes of fresh air.
- Loneliness. This ties in with the point above. You might well feel lonely - after the novelty of day 1 has worn off – even if you’re not the only person in your house. Under normal circumstances, when you arrive in the office in the morning, you often talk about last night’s sport, tv or what’s being discussed on the radio that morning. As the working day continues, you’ll share work-related questions and issues – especially if you’re used to an open-plan office. That won’t happen in the same way when you’re at home. Although you’ll be connected digitally to your colleagues, face to face conversation is very different. Be aware feeling lonely – and when you need to – pick up the phone and talk to each other. You’re all in the same boat.
Working from home – the cyber risk
Working from home and social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but we all need to be aware of the cyber risks that we are exposed to when working remotely.
What makes matters worse is that cyber-criminals are using the coronavirus situation to create new phishing scams to target companies at an already vulnerable time.
This article from DynaRisk – cyber security experts – provides some really useful information and tips to protect your home network and your company from a cyber attack.
Home and Business Insurance Considerations
Most home insurance policies do provide cover for working from home. There are however, often details that you need to check in relation to your own situation. These include not having any business visitors and no cover for stock held at home. The key point here is to check your policy wording.
Many businesses have now closed their normal operating premises. It is therefore important that you check the unoccupancy terms of your business insurance policy as there may be restrictions on the cover whilst the office/building is empty.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your home or business insurance arrangements, do not hesitate to contact our team.