Essential Working From Home Tips
Here we share our top four tips for working from home. These are unprecedented times, with dramatic shifts in how we live, work and play. Working from home during the coronavirus period means the absence of office commutes, 9:00am office coffees or go-to lunch spots, which are unfamiliar to most. Post-work surfs, local touch rugby competitions and dinners out with co-workers and friends are dearly missed. It is important to regularly check government websites to see what you can and can’t do under the new rules. See the NSW rules here.
Split Work and Home
It is easy to feel like you’re in a time warp when spending much of the day at home. It is crucial to stick to a routine as if it is any other day, with regular work start, breaks and finish times. After finishing work, close the laptop, refrain from checking emails and get changed out of your work clothes. This ensures that work does not intrude on usual home life. Time for a post-work jog, golf or game of tennis (with social distancing restrictions) before spending time at home watching Netflix or playing a board game (yes, they still exist!).
It is also important to designate one area of your living space for work. Working from a dining or sleeping area may associate that area with work rather than general living. This could negatively impact eating and sleeping patterns.
Keep Up Physical Activity
Whilst there are restrictions, it is still legal to exercise in many ways. The health benefits of regular exercise are well-known but particularly important to remember during this period. Plus it’s a way to stay connected with friends and family! Working from home, especially during the coronavirus shutdown, can and should involve a regular exercise schedule. The NSW coronavirus rules have banned the following:
- Indoor recreation facilities (squash courts, indoor swimming pools, gyms, table tennis centres, health studios, bowling alleys and ice rinks)
- Indoor sporting events
- Local sporting competitions
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Outside gym equipment in public places
- Public swimming pools
- Skate parks
Exercise must follow other key social distancing measures, such as public gatherings limits of two people and at least 4sqm of space for each person. For example, a game of Doubles (4 participants) is not allowed, but you can still hire a tennis court and play a game of Singles (2 participants) or have one-on-one personal training sessions. These sporting restrictions are clearly not an excuse to begin an unhealthy lifestyle!
Get Familiar with Virtual Meeting and Conferencing Services
It is critical to understand the various virtual meeting and conferencing products available to effectively WFH and connect with friends and family. Without the usual office encounters, it is important to actively organise regular work meetings to maintain positive relationships. This improves productivity and communication.
Some of the most popular service providers include:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Hangouts
As expected, all service providers have benefited from significant user growth. Zoom has experienced the greatest increase in users because it is very easy to set up, use and manage, with a single platform for all meetings, phone calls, webinars and chat- perfect for working from home! The popularity of the google search term, “Zoom”, has increased 20X over the past 90 days (shown below)!
However, it’s important to thoroughly research your provider before making a decision. For example, Zoom has some security flaws that have allowed “Zoom-bombers” to intrude on personal calls. The company recently acknowledged that it has failed to protect users’ privacy and security and is working to fix the issues.
Some people may not be familiar with virtual meeting and conferencing services. Take time to help your work colleagues, friends and family learn about different technologies so that they can remain connected rather than isolated- technology is key to staying connected and social during these times, which in turn is essential for everyone’s mental health.
When working from home during Covid-19, remember to take all necessary precautions- wash your hands and keep the most vulnerable of our community protected.
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