17th March 2020
As an agile organisation working across the UK, our staff are familiar with remote working and the challenges it can bring. To support anybody struggling to adjust, here are some ways we work from home to make sure we’re still maintaining contact, familiarity, and routine.
Despite not being face-to-face, communication is always key. Although we are being asked to maintain physical distance, we still need to keep social contact and support one another.
If you are the founder or business owner of your social venture, make sure you organise regular company-wide virtual/phone meetings so that employees still feel connected to the overall organisational purpose and objectives.
Make sure staff are regularly kept up to date of any changes and feel supported in this challenging climate. For example, a 10-minute call at the start and end of each day helps you stay focused and remain connected with your work colleagues.
At UnLtd, we are constantly using virtual platforms to stay connected from Edinburgh to Dundee. Great free tools to enable this include Microsoft Teams (some functions limited), Google Hangouts, and Jitsi (no account needed).
As you merge your working and personal space together, it can sometimes be hard to switch off. If you find it hard to disconnect your personal and working time because of the shared physical space, make plans before and after work. These can be as simple as having a coffee before you turn on your computer, or making plans such as going for a walk or calling a friend immediately after work.
Not having a well-equipped office can cause a decrease in motivation and productivity. As recommended by Alex Phillips, our award manager based in Staffordshire, designate a space within your home which is solely for working. This could be the spare room with a desk and chair, or as simple as moving a bedside table into the corner of your room so you have fewer distractions.
Periodically, put the radio on: music makes you feel good and a mix of music and quiet chat in the background can block out the isolation. To also encourage regular breaks, you can turn up the volume and sing along to your favourite songs.
Negative headlines, worrying about elderly relatives, or resisting the urge to panic buy toilet paper can leave you feeling scared about the ever-changing situation. Working from home is a great way to combat the spread of Covid-19, but working alone for extended periods can negatively affect our mental well-being. The more effort you make to communicate regularly with colleagues and friends, the less likely you will start to feel isolated.
At UnLtd, we have monthly ‘Random Coffee Trials’, where staff are randomly paired up for a virtual/in person coffee to talk informally – this could be about work, hobbies, current events, or weekend plans. It’s a great way to strengthen staff connections to people you don’t directly work with.
While working from home way feel physically isolating, it may help to remember that we are all facing this period of uncertainty together - you are not alone. Do not be afraid to reach out to colleagues even for casual conversations, just like you would do in the office. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a work colleague, reach out to friends or family instead, and see if your organisation has an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to get support from. Acknowledging the problem can be helpful in finding a solution to it.
It’s safe to say that working from home will mean most of us will spend all day indoors. As easy as it will be to fall into the trap of sitting in front of the television at the end of the day, there is research linking Vitamin D deficiency with Depression. If Covid-19 conditions permit, get outdoors instead. This can be as simple as using your lunch break to take a walk around the block. If you are worried about coming into contact with others, use your garden as your escape zone for some much-needed Vitamin D or join a YouTube exercise class to encourage endorphins.
The health and safety of our staff and social entrepreneurs is our priority as we move through this pandemic. Please follow us on Twitter @UnLtd where we will keep you updated on event cancellations and any changes to support we will need to make.
While we can’t predict when offices will be safe to reopen, we want to reassure all of our social entrepreneurs and supporters that our support will remain as consistent as possible through this unsettling and unprecedented situation. Your contacts at UnLtd will all be reachable via email and phone, and any other queries please contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org.