As the threat of the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus continues to sweep across the world, many workplaces are advising staff who are able to work from home to do so. The idea is that remote working will reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and fuelling the outbreak by spreading it to others.
High profile companies that have already asked staff to work from home include Apple, where the chief executive, Tim Cook, told staff, "Feel free to work remotely if your job allows". Amazon and Google have similar policies in place.
Here is some advice on how to perform your work duties effectively from home.
Keep in touch
Communicating with colleagues is crucial, which is why remote meeting services are in high demand.
Some technology companies which produce software used by remote workers, including Zoom and Slack, have received a bump in share prices in recent days.
Experts have also advised remote workers to call coworkers or employees whenever they can, particularly if you are a manager, to check in on their mental wellbeing.
Have a space to work in
Having a space to work in is crucial for your state of mind, and not just in terms of being in a "working" mindset but also so you're able to turn off when the working day is over.
If you have children then you will need to realise that you cannot both parent and work at the same time. Working from home is not a cheap alternative to getting a babysitter, you simply won't manage to get any work done.
If you need access to your company's intranet, figure out how to access it securely. External connections without security precautions could mean that hackers go unnoticed, too.
Set your working day
The working day for anyone in an office has commutes either side of it, but these aren't there if you're working from home. In order to avoid the time between when you’re on shift and off merging into one another, set a time to clock in and clock out.
Whatever kind of communications system you're using to keep in touch with your team, turn it on when you start working and turn it off when you stop.
Don’t neglect your well being
If you aren’t in quarantine, try not to spend all day cooped up indoors. Experts advise to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it's just to go to the shops.
Make sure to take proper breaks. Anna Codrea-Rado, the founder of the Professional Freelancer told the Guardian, “One of the joys of working from home is that you can cook a proper meal. If you’re worried that people will think you’re slacking, tell your coworkers that you’re logging off for lunch, to avoid being disturbed.”
Remember to work
Although you really shouldn't put yourself under ridiculous pressures, you are still working.
Working from home isn't an opportunity for friends to come round. You don't have the time to run errands during the day that you wouldn't be able to do normally.
Some experts suggest working in short bursts in order to maintain your sanity. This means regular breaks, but it requires working too.