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Advice and guidance on how to prepare for working from home

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke)

Working from home is becoming an essential choice for many businesses – and an overnight requirement for some. If you are a business that’s facing home working for the first time or an employee that hasn’t worked from home before, it can be a daunting transition to make, but following a few simple tips will help keep the process smooth and as stress-free as possible.

Our team has already embraced working from home and with our specialist knowledge of IT software solutions, we were in a strong position to make the switch. However, many businesses may never have considered the option of remote working before and so they have needed to ensure their technology infrastructure is working effectively and that employees are well-equipped to work from home. Putting the most effective IT systems in place is the first step of preparing to work remotely.

Large companies may find it easier to transition to working from home, building on pre-existing IT infrastructure. However, many companies of all sizes will have Office 365 and will be utilising VPN access and the Internet. Although, there may be a lot of companies that have the ability to use solutions such as Microsoft Teams, but are not aware that they can. Tools like Microsoft Teams create a group hub and give team members an excellent platform to instant message, video call, securely edit files and collaborate effectively together from multiple locations. It’s also a convenient way to communicate with wider colleagues and clients in an easy and personal way.

When it comes to working from home, communication is key, so investigating a platform that works for your company is an important step towards effective remote working. To make this even easier in response to Covid-19, Microsoft, Google, Zoom and many others have already made their cloud-based subscriptions free or widened their offering to help companies embrace working from home.

It goes without saying that it’s important companies are set up to carry out their business from home but it’s also about getting the balance right and supporting team members. Companies need to consider how to help their staff deliver what they can effectively from home and keep them informed. Working from home alone can be quite isolating so daily team catch-ups on video and voice chats are a useful way to keep everyone involved in what’s going on within the business and help keep up the social aspect of work.

As well as changes to IT and communication, there’s no doubt that working from home will also be a cultural shift for many team members. So here are some top tips on how to stay productive and motivated while working from home:

· Prepare the working day as if you are getting ready for work – resist the need to stay in your PJs all day as this could set you up for an unproductive day

· Set a schedule for your day and stick to it – if you have lunch at a certain time at the office, carry that on

· Try and set up a dedicated workspace with good connectivity, light and a comfortable position that aids good posture

· Communicate with your colleagues – let them know what you are working on or when you’ve reached the end of a project or if you are on conference calls or virtual meetings

· Take breaks away from your screen – make yourself a cup of coffee or get some fresh air just like you would during your office working day

· Avoid distractions like housework or preparing dinner and make clear rules with anyone at home that you are not to be disturbed outside of breaks

· Try and avoid the biscuit tin and opt for healthy food in the fridge instead of convenience

Richard Austin is New Business Director at KFA Connect