As the UK prepares to work from home this week, many people might be feeling a little anxious and overwhelmed by the sudden thought of working remotely. Although working from home is a common practice for most of us within the TEL team, we are aware that this isn’t the case for everyone. Working remotely can provide benefits but it can also pose challenges. The TEL team have been working hard to develop an eLearning Tools Site which features useful resources and information on working from home, particularly teaching remotely for staff at the University of Portsmouth. Throughout the weeks we will be reflecting on the benefits and challenges that we experience through working from home, the tools we have used, and how those tools may have helped or hindered us!
Here are some tips for the week ahead. I hope you find them useful for working from home.
Create a dedicated work space
Some of us are fortunate enough to have a spare room that we can easily transform into quiet office space. For those of us who don’t (myself included!) it’s important to find an area that can be used for working. For me, it’s the dining room table, where I have my desktop set up and space for books, notepads etc.
Use to-do lists
It’s useful to have to-do lists – things you want to get done every day. This keeps you focused and on track. However, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get everything completed: tomorrow is another day and some days can be more productive than others. I always have a list of to-dos on the go, whether it’s on my phone, on a note pad or on post-it notes. This way I feel a sense of achievement when I can tick off the items.
Learn to deal with distractions
It’s easy to get distracted at home and, for some of us during the covid-19 outbreak, it will be even harder while our families are at home too. Allow yourself to surf the internet for 5 minutes – it might provide some inspiration and fuel you to return to your work – but don’t binge-watch box sets on Netflix!
Take regular breaks!
Make sure to take regular breaks from the screen: sit in the garden for 5 minutes and get some fresh air, or go and make a cup of tea. If you can, go for a little walk: it’s so important to move and exercise – you’ll feel so much better for doing so!
Don’t lose touch with your work colleagues
As a ‘veteran’ of working from home, Slack has been brilliant in connecting me with my work colleagues. You can set up channels for different discussion topics and receive notifications as a when people post. There are other apps you can use, such as Zoom and House Party (which is great to use with friends and family whilst social distancing). Working from home can often feel isolating so staying in touch is essential for your wellbeing.
Make sure to drink and eat
It’s so important to look after yourself and ensure you make time to stop for lunch and drink enough water. This is something that I need to personally work on in the coming weeks, as I often skip lunch, snack and don’t drink enough water! It can be difficult to consciously stop when you are engrossed with work.
Make working comfortable
Do what you can to make your workspace at home as comfortable and functional as possible. Working an eight-hour day in a bad chair is uncomfortable for your body and your mind!
Deal with being disconnected
All technologies can be glitchy at times. Remember: if you do lose your connections, maybe in a video conference, don’t worry – everyone is in the same boat and we’ll muddle through together!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
We’ve all found ourselves in a new situation, even for those that regularly work from home. It’s going to be challenging for all of us in lots of different ways, so it’s important to not be too hard on ourselves. We may find some days are more productive than others. We all need to adapt to a new routine, a new way of working and living.
and finally . . .
Please continue to follow us on Tel Tales, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram where we will be sharing more tips and information. If you would like to share your experiences of working remotely on Tel Tales then please get in touch with me at email@example.com