The pandemic, Covid-19, has caused the biggest ever change to the workplace and how we work. Since our last blog, the UK did see ‘some’ return to normality, but now here we are in November and find ourselves back into full lockdown.
Finder.com reports that at the height of the last lockdown, 60% of the UK’s adult population were working from home and 26% of those say they will continue to even when this lockdown is over.
No one can predict what will happen in the future but according to a report by The Guardian, COVID-19 has changed working patterns for good with employees at all levels (from trainee to executives) hoping to split their time between home and the office in the future.
According to a survey by The British Council for Offices (which has around 3,500 members including large office occupiers, architects, engineers and big property firms including Land Securities and British Land) sixty-two percent of senior executives and 58% of entry-level workers want to alternate between remote working and being in the office.
Productivity wise, Finder reported the following:
- 65% of workers said they would be more productive in a home office than a normal office.
- 75% of workers say they will be more productive due to reduced distractions.
- 83% of employees feel they do not need an office to be productive.
- Two-thirds of employers report increased productivity for remote workers compared to in-office workers.
Other positives from remote working that have been noted are less travel time, money saved in travel and less pollution.
Of course, not everyone is in the same boat, some may not have suitable spaces to be able to work from home and this must be taken into account. Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of BCO says that ‘younger employees, who often work from cramped shared houses, are missing out on training and guidance which they would normally receive from more experienced colleagues. The anchor of having an office, a place where they can work comfortably, where they can socialise, safely of course, where they can talk to people not via a screen and can have coffee and lunch, is absolutely crucial for their mental wellbeing and their development’
Other drawbacks include; people finding themselves working longer hours, loneliness and more distractions around the house.
It seems, that hopefully some happy medium can be found once the pandemic is over, for now though, here are our tips for staying productive, healthy and powered while working from home:
Set your alarm for the normal time and stick to a routine
On weekdays it is important to try and stay in a routine, not only for your work life but to combat things like anxiety which a lot of people are dealing with at the moment. Studies say that if you leave your phone alone and get out of bed within a few minutes of waking up you are on the right track to a productive day. You may not need to be as smart as you normally would in the office, but getting dressed, making sure you are warm and comfortable, drinking water and eating a healthy breakfast are all positive ways to start your day.
Make a daily and weekly plan
When working from home, you are your own personal manager. To make sure you stay on schedule segment what you need to do and when you need to do it over the day / week. Use Outlook or Google Calendar can help you stay on top of things. Even the old-fashioned way of a list that you can tick off will help you to focus.
It can also help to talk to your colleagues or clients, find out what their focus is for the week and what their goals are – this can help you build your plan.
Work in a clutter free, warm and light space
This could be easier said than done depending on your living situation so it may require you to have a bit of a move around. Important things to remember for your workspace are:
- It is important to have a “work area” somewhere you only associate with work – try not to use a leisure space such as the lounge or bedroom
- Have your desk in a space with lots of natural light. This can be tricky during this time of year so a daylight table lamp can be a good idea to combat darkness. You can find these at places like John Lewis
- Ensure you are comfortable - The NHS advice is that you should adjust your chair so you can use the keyboard with your wrists and forearms straight and level with the floor
- Make sure you have the correct power outlets and chargers for all of your devices within a distance that is easy to reach, and you don’t need to keep getting up to look for things – keep scrolling for our guide to keeping you powered while working from home
- Try to keep your desk tidy and organised
- Invest in some noise cancelling headphones if noise distracts you
- If you work better in a noisy environment, you can even download apps that play the sounds of traffic / trains / chatter in coffee shops!
Have meetings with clients and colleagues
Just because everyone at home, doesn’t mean that meetings have to stop. With Skype, Zoom, and Facetime meetings can be scheduled with colleagues all over the world. Scheduling a week’s worth of meetings also is great for helping you be productive.
Saying this, it is also important not to overcompensate while working from home - "Many people tend to over communicate when working from home - either wanting to 'be seen or overcompensating to ensure people know what they are up to. That's fine - but don't go over the top. You know if you're on task and being productive - keep yourself in check." (Ross Robinson)
Enjoy fresh air at lunchtime
A brisk walk or a run at lunchtime lowers anxiety, reduces stress and increases productivity and happiness – what’s not to love!
Even if the weather is bad, moving away from your desk and limiting screen time during your lunchbreak will also help with afternoon productivity.
Stick to timings
It’s impossible to keep your day exactly the same, but where you can, try to stick to timings like you would in the office. The home is full of distractions but if you compartmentalise your day it can really help with productivity. You wouldn’t spend 8 hours chained to your desk, so get up, make coffee, go for your daily exercise at lunch time – getting fresh air and exercise increases brain activity and gives you thinking space for creativity.
Many home workers recommend the Pomodoro Technique, a method of time management which breaks your working day into 25-minute chunks. Each chunk is followed by a five-minute break.
Making sure you finish on time is important. Once you have finished get away from your computer and limit screen time to relax and switch off.
Stay informed, not overwhelmed
In this digital era, it can be hard to escape the news and sometimes (while experiencing a global pandemic) this can be upsetting and anxiety inducing. If you don’t feel like you need to see the news you can download apps that block certain categories, so your alerts do not keep going off while you are trying to work.
Be realistic, and not hard on yourself
Try not to give yourself a hard time and have added stress. What we are experiencing at the moment has never been experienced before and life is bound to change. Anxiety rates are high, and it is important to look after yourself as well as being productive at work.
Keeping you powered at home…
Fast, convenient and effective power solutions are of course important, but what about power that looks great too? Here is our power guide for working at home, using our products which are all made in the UK…
Use individually fused sockets
Do not power more than 6 sockets from one 13A wall socket
Power mobile devices via USB to lower the risk of overload (find out about our TUF 25W fast charge USB)
Keep your workstation tidy and free from messy cables
PixelTUF charge a laptop at the same time as charging your mobile phone and tablet!
PIP has been designed to provide convenient power and USB ‘fast-charging’ in its purest and simplest form - a single mains AC or USB charging socket in a wide choice of decorative bezels, with style, colour and finish option to perfectly complement your interior design theme
ARC-H or ARC 80 – fast, wireless desk top charging at it’s very best and compatible with Apple and Samsung products
PLUTO-8 is a smart desktop unit with 3 outlets for a combination of power sockets and/or USB charging. Configured to your specification and available in a range of colours or a custom design to suit your space
The award-winning PLY with its innovative use of birch plywood and laminate, takes the traditional desk top power module in an exciting new design direction, with your choice of a mix of AC power and USB this will power your computer while keeping your phone and tablet charged
PULSE 'floats' above the desk releasing the desktop and takes its design influence from modern life - clean, simple lines with no- nonsense understated function and uncompromising style, providing power and / or USB charging. Also available in the OE 8 colours!
PANDA is a compact and distinctive design with various options for configuration for power and USB charging and fixings; along with decorative socket frames and end caps.
PHASE is an exciting new concept in power modules that is ideal for providing convenient but discreet power and data in offices.
POD has been designed to offer full desk top power data and AV connectivity in a compact yet robust aluminium extrusion-based enclosure, ideal for both office and educational applications.
PEARL desk top power and data unit with its white body, end caps and socket fascia’s, perfectly complements the contemporary minimalist office.