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20th April 2020

The ‘How to’ of Remote Working

Since new measures of social distancing have been imposed by the government with the purpose of curbing the spread of COVID-19, countless articles and blogs are out there indicating how we can ‘survive’ remote working. However, this can make it challenging to distinguish what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

We have integrated the information out there into a short yet informative blog – so that you don’t have to! We pride ourselves on being evidence-based and so we have backed the guidance up with scientific research and voila, here is the ultimate guide to remote working:

Create your daily routine. Research(1) has found that a healthy dose of repetitive behaviour reduces anxiety. It also provides us with a sense of structure and familiarity. Set your alarm clock at least an hour earlier than you start work, so that you can use your usual commute time to exercise and eat a healthy breakfast. Later on don’t forget to take your lunch break. Interesting fact: prolonged sitting can increase the risk of cardiometabolic diseases and premature mortality(2), so please take regular breaks and walk around when talking on the phone.

Speaking of structure, ensure you organise your day. Start by defining your work hours and how they will be distributed into different categories such as project work, emails, team communications etc. You can also specify daily activities and how they will be managed. A little planning ahead goes a long way so set the documentation, communication, and collaboration tools that you need to get work done before actually delving into tasks.

Define your priorities. Most of us are acquainted with goal setting; the key to achieving our goals is to sort out our tasks by level of importance. Every morning you can designate 1-3 priorities for your day and work towards completing them. Knowing you have achieved the most important goals of each day will boost your motivation.

Keep your office space neat and tidy. Often mess equates to stress; not only is it unpleasant to look at, but you may find it impossible to find what you are looking for. A study at the University of Minnesota(3) found that a tidy desk produces healthy choices, generosity, and conventionality.

Finally, switch-off. Working from home can be invasive into your personal life and ultimately your wellbeing. You might be thinking that it is ok working longer hours or checking and responding to emails at night and weekends. Did you know that a CIPD study(4) found that 32% of staff felt that working remotely meant they could not switch off in their personal time? Please try to stick to your work hours, shut down your laptop and set your work app to “away,” when work time is over.

How can Impact, Psychology for Business help:

  • We are developing some 1-hour webinars that will support your wellbeing and these will be provided FREE. Subscribe to our mailing list and receive all the latest updates.
  • We are offering FREE telephone support of 30-minute coaching sessions for our clients and followers who feel anxious or need some practical support about how to manage their teams and build resilience in a virtual environment during the crisis. To book or if we can help in any other way, please contact [email protected]
  • We are continuously updating our social media channels, so make sure you follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for our latest news and views.

References

1.David Eilam, Rony Izhar, Joel Mort. (2011). Threat detection: Behavioral practices in animals and humans. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 35 (4): 999
2.Buckley JP, Hedge A, Yates T, et al. (2015). The sedentary office: an expert statement on the growing case for change towards better health and productivity. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 49, 1357-1362.
3.Vohs, K. D., Redden, J. P., & Rahinel, R. (2013). Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity. Psychological Science, 24(9), 1860–1867
4.CIPD. (2017). Logged on but can’t turn off? A third of UK employees say remote access to work means they can’t switch off. Retrieved from