Remote work, home office, flexible working - there are many different names for the changes that have occurred in our working life since spring 2020. What is clear is that home office is here to stay, and many companies have already switched to flexible working hours in some way or another. This is the case at PRfact, as Mira has already pointed out in her last article. Below are some tips and tricks to keep in mind besides the most important one, which is “trust your employees”. Each office, each team and culture will need to find what works most for them. These are tips, that grew organically at PRfact, sometimes also inspired by our clients, and that help us keep our work on track and our teams motivated.
Office space is equipped with the appropriate furniture: comfortable chairs, height-adjustable desks, computer peripherals and sometimes even several monitors. However, not everyone can have these options at home. Sitting on a kitchen or living room chair for a long time can quickly lead to pain and stiffness. Wherever possible you should try to recreate an ergonomic workstation . Prolonged periods of sitting should not produce any unpleasant side effects, and the height of your chair and table should be adjusted to allow comfortable working. There are also countless options for peripherals such as ergonomic mice and keyboards, but also hand rests or mice with a trackball to protect your joints and muscles. Those who don't want to work sitting down all day can also get creative: the ironing board or kitchen counter can be transformed into a DIY standing desk in no time. And don't forget to get up and move around every now and then!
Video calls have been part of our everyday life since the spring of 2020 whether for a team meeting, a weekly meeting or with our clients. Nothing is more annoying than a poor Internet connection with its blurred images, shaky sound or distortions. We have all been there "Can you hear me?". A stable connection is therefore indispensable when working from home. Especially if more than, one person is working in on the same router. WLAN amplifiers spread the signal and boost it even to the farthest corners of the house. Thanks to tools like this, you can test your connection and place your workstation where it is most convenient.
Extra tips: For the 10 o'clock meeting, do not connect at 09:59:59, it always takes a couple of minutes to connect. Video tools like Zoom also offer a lot of backgrounds and filters. Make the best use of them and be aware of your setting before the meeting. We all know the most bizarre zoom mishaps thanks to YouTube ;-)
Even if you don't sit together in the same room anymore, daily work structures should not suffer. Logging into meetings on time should be considered a must, even for internal meetings. Regular breaks and casual conversations are also part of the equation. The appropriate structure will help you keep motivation high throughout your week. Therefore workdays at home should resemble those in the office and need to be planned as well. Household chores like doing laundry, vacuuming or folding clothes should be done for example in the morning or after working.
Keep in touch
Internal communication tools help you maintain private and fun conversations that are extremely important. In "normal" office life, this takes place at the coffee machine, in the hallway, or across the desks. At PRfact we were lucky enough to introduce Slack shortly before the pandemic. On the one hand, the tool allows us to discuss work-specific tasks and keep the team on the right track; on the other hand, it also allows for more private conversations or fun exchanges. Nevertheless, these tools never replace personal exchange with employees in the office.
There's no question that flexible working is extremely practical, even for small household tasks in between. Quickly throwing laundry in the machine, accepting packages or even scheduling longer lunch breaks. No problem at all. If the team's arrangements are right and the employees are informed [These are not a problem as long as the team is notified and employees are aware of the arrangements.]
Fresh air and daylight.
In the “old normal”, we used to get to the agency on foot, by bike, by car or by public transport, which gave us some fresh air during the day. However, this is quite different while working from home. Walks over lunch or directly after work and short breaks in between are very important. Stuffy air has a negative impact on our performance . Therefore, it is important to ventilate regularly and, if possible, get some fresh air every now and then. For those who have a balcony or a garden: why not take your laptop outside?
Separation of work and leisure
At the end of the working day, we are already at home on our sofa when we turn off our computer. If possible, try to separate your workspace from your living space and make sure your laptop is turned off once your working day is over. If you live in a small space, make sure you store your laptop away from view and reclaim your living space.
At PRfact we try to stick to these tips that we have been implementing before and during the pandemic.. In a nutshell, we have noticed that the more similar work structure is at home, the more effectively you work will be within your own four walls.