Our top tips for working from home

  30 SEPTEMBER, 2020      INDUSTRY INSIGHTS , COMPANY UPDATES
working at home by window with laptop

Here are our top tips to help remain healthy, happy, and productive whilst you are working from home.


Like many businesses across the UK (and indeed globally), Novus closed their offices on Monday 23rd March in an effort to help halt the spread of coronavirus.

Since then, working from home has become a new normal for many office-based colleagues up and down the country.

For some who had previously worked this way on a regular basis, the situation was almost "business as usual" but for many, this proved somewhat unchartered waters that took a period of adjustment.

Increasing infection rate

With increasing coronavirus infection rates observed throughout September 2020, the Government once again recommended that people should work from home where possible.

To help stay healthy, happy, and productive whilst working from home, we have compiled some top tips for colleagues and management.


1. Maintain regular hours of work

Creating a healthy work life balance whilst working remotely can sometimes be hard, as there is the danger of the days becoming (at least to begin with) a little unstructured; starting earlier and finishing later due to getting caught up in work tasks.

However, it is important to still that you structure your day like you would in an office, give yourself a start time, lunch time, and finishing time. And, make sure you stick to them!

2. Schedule breaks

Again, structure and routine are important when working from home.

It is very easy to get caught up in your work, extending your working times, not taking any breaks, and even working through your lunch.

Regular breaks are an ideal way of keeping your mind fresh and maintaining productivity levels.

Therefore, we suggest you schedule breaks in the same way that you would when working in the office.

Get up and make yourself a cup of tea/coffee every so often and do ensure that you take a proper lunch break - eat, re-hydrate, and stay away from your emails!

Maybe you could sit in the garden (weather permitting) for half an hour for a change of scenery?

3. Have a dedicated workspace

No, you don't have to sit at a chair and a desk, it could just be your kitchen table!

But just because you aren't in the office doesn’t mean you can't bring the office to your home, just set up camp somewhere you feel comfortable, won't get too distracted and (preferably) a place with a decent amount of sunlight.

Dedicating a specific space adds familiarity, structure, and a sense of routine to a potentially unfamiliar situation. Why not tweet us a picture of your working from home space? @_NovusSolutions

4. Plan your work list

Take 15 minutes at the end of each day to plan what you will be working on the following day.

We've found that this will helps us to prioritise your job list, hit the ground running, and really focus on your work tasks. 

5. Stay connected

Whilst working from home can initially help you focus on work in the short term, it can become quite lonely in the long term, with one of the main complaints from remote workers being the feeling of social isolation.

For the benefit of your own mental health and the quality of your work output, it is important to stay connected with your colleagues.

Make use of technologies that enable video conferencing and instant messaging to stay in touch with your peers and always remember that you are part of a team contributing to a bigger picture.


Managing a remote team: top tips for managers

Along with the change in 'normal' office working comes a change in the way that we manage colleagues remotely.

6. Schedule monthly one-to-one meetings with each team member

Staying connected with your team is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship with them.

Host meetings from a distraction-free environment and minimise background noise where you can.

Here is the opportunity to discuss colleague concerns, reinforce team wins and successes, and generally just have a chat - never underestimate the power of asking someone "how are you?"

Be sure to focus your discussions on colleague welfare, setting SMART objectives that benefit not the only the business objectives but personal development.

7. Recognise that everyone is different

Some colleagues may be perfectly happy working from home but for others, nothing could be further from the truth.

Take the time to understand your team member's views and individual circumstances.

8. Trust your team

You must trust that your team will work diligently towards their objectives without you controlling every aspect of how they carry out their work.

We have seen over lockdown that performance has been as consistent as it was when we were all working in the office.

Trusting your team to work conscientiously when you cannot see them is fundamental to the success or otherwise of flexible working in your team.

Focus on the objectives you have set your team and if they are achieving them, and how you can support if not.

9. Watch for signs of burnout

Research has shown that flexible and remote working carries a potential risk of colleagues working too many hours, resulting in early burnout and harm to a colleague’s wellbeing.

Burnout often causes people to feel drained and tired, lacking the energy and motivation to complete their work. Burnout may also present physical symptons such as headaches or even stomach aches.

A prolonged drop in normal performance levels should raise a red flag and warrant a conversation around colleague burnout.

10. Look after yourself!

Make sure you look after yourself and the people around you by understanding and complying with all health and safety information.

Things are changing all the time and it’s really important to keep up to date with Government COVID-19 guidelines.


Claim tax back for working from home

Not really a top tip but worth knowing, you can claim tax back while working from home. 

Head to this page on the Government website to find out more.

Have some working from home tips of your own?

We hope you have found these tips useful and thank you for your support during this time. If you would like to contribute your own ideas to these tips, please share them via our social media channels. We can be found on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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