It's all over the news and it should be clear to everyone at latest after the German Chancellor addressed the public on 18.03: the situation is serious and everyone has to provide their contribution to slow down the proliferation of the Covid 19 virus. In order to protect those at risk, citizens should stay home and avoid social contacts. We at adesso insurance solutions have drawn our conclusions and taken our own measures. If possible, our employees are now working from their home offices to keep the proliferation risk low and to ensure the continuity of productivity and quality. Many employees are not used to working at home on a regular basis and have to get used to it first. So what do you need for a successful home office?
Every person has their own work rhythm – whether at home or in the office. Just as different and diverse as people are, so different and diverse are their work styles. The daily work routine is broken up and the usual working environment is left when you have to work at home. A place where you otherwise spent your free time should all of a sudden be a place to work. There is no right or wrong regarding a home office. Everybody works at home according to their own needs and preferences. Certain measures - both by the company and the employee - can make the work easier.
1. The right infrastructure for working at a home office
Within the company, it should be determined what infrastructure is needed for the home office. Computers, cell phones and internet access are available in every private household these days, however, everyone does not have privately licenses to the required programs. That is why it should be cleared up in advance if it is possible to take company laptops and other hardware home, to assign licenses for personal computers or to set up VPN for access to the company network.
In addition to the technical infrastructure, transparency and clear communication about expectations of the employees help. Some tasks can be done successfully at home, while it may be wiser to put other tasks off until later. Employees should know at all times what they have to do and who they can contact with any questions. Core work times can be defined to guarantee availability. Particularly now, the employees profit from safety, honesty and understanding. Telephone and video conferences, as well as group chats, are ideal for promoting discussions between colleagues. Tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or Skype Business can be used for this. This offers employees the possibility to share experiences and concerns with each other going beyond everyday business. This creates a sense of togetherness and increases motivation. Working remotely does not necessarily mean that everyone is sitting isolated in a quiet chamber.
2. Don't pressure yourself!
Home office, particularly now, means a big change for many employees. You may no longer have to travel to work and you can save time, but staying inside, worrying about loved ones as well as the uncertainty of the future are all very physically and mentally straining. That is why employees maybe cannot work as well particularly right when they start working at home. Their performance may be further reduced if they have to care for dependents or children. Nevertheless, try to keep a positive attitude and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and use these for your work. This also ensures that you have a healthy amount of discipline at home.
Be conscious with your media consumption and rely on trustworthy sources of information such as the websites from the ministries, the WHO or the Robert-Koch-Institute . You should avoid scaremongers in the media and on social networks. Panic does not help and it is also distracting.
3. Create an optimal working environment!
Before you get started, create the right work environment. Avoid working on the couch or in bed. Set up your workspace so that it satisfies your needs and you feel comfortable there. The right workplace helps you to mentally prepare for your work and to separate work from free time. Factors for a good workplace include the right temperature, enough oxygen through regular ventilation and sufficient light. A workplace by the window also has the advantage of allowing you to always look into the distance. Constantly looking at things at short distances will damage your eyes over time.
Quietness plays a crucial role for your concentration. Coordinate your time with your roommates or your family if you do not live alone. Children, in particular, may find it difficult to understand their parents' needs. Tell your child why you are at home, but still have to work. Now of all times, children need a structured daily routine that gives them security: include your child in your work routine . If your child has digital lessons, it may make sense to tell them that you both have to work now and you can spend free time with each other afterwards.
The fact that you don't have to go to work causes you not to really wake up in the morning, because you don't have the fresh air, movement and sunlight. The light inside is often insufficient, your inner clock isn't working right and you stay tired. A regular get-up rhythm can help you counter this: get up on time and give yourself time to wake up. Have a good breakfast and even if you don't eat breakfast in the morning, don't go directly from bed to your workplace in your pajamas. Give yourself time to mentally prepare for the work. At the same time, you should not push back the time when you start working, because people can concentrate particularly well in the morning. Resist the temptation to take care of small household tasks before you start working . Furthermore, a daylight lamp can help if you have insufficient lighting.
4. Define a daily work routine!
In addition to the right work environment, you should also establish your own fixed daily work routine! Plan your time purposefully by determining tasks, defining goals and setting your own deadlines . And reward yourself if you achieve a goal. Remember to take breaks regularly to promote your concentration. Use the breaks to get up and move around. Your back will thank you! Do things that are good for you during your breaks and don't be tempted to do chores. A short walk is also a good idea, because the fresh air while walking will stimulate your circulation and free your mind. But always remember to maintain the current minimum distance between yourself and others.
We all only have a certain amount of strength, which is why it is important to free your mind and tank up on energy. Your nights should be designed with purpose: leave your workplace first, even if you may come back to it later for private pleasure to go online or play computer games. If you consciously signal to your body that you are done working, free time and work can be separated from each other more clearly and it is in turn easier for you to work the next day.
5. But most importantly: take care of yourself and stay healthy!