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Coronavirus… pondering remote working – Part 1

01 May 2020 Myra Knoesen

The coronavirus is starting to affect some things in our day-to-day lives. “Local supermarkets have run out of toilet rolls, paracetamol and pasta. Events are being cancelled. News media is running live blogs to report on the latest panic buying, infection rates and occasional deaths. Stock markets are in the red, with the virus seemingly the catalyst we have all been waiting for to tip global economies in an overdue recession,” said Martin Bamford, CEO of Bamford Media.

There is still a great deal unknown about the novel coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19.

“What seems likely to me is that human behaviour will change in the wake of Covid-19, with implications for the way we do things. Already we see some reluctance from clients to meet face-to-face. I also anticipate Covid-19 catalysing to change how we consume information and ideas. Multiple large conferences have been cancelled in recent days to avoid the risk of widespread infection among their delegates,” continued Bamford.

“Within financial planning businesses, I expect Covid-19 will accelerate a shift towards more flexible methods of working. The technology is already there, it is just as valuable and engaging as the real thing, and far more efficient in terms of time and money spent,” added Bamford.

The possibility of remote working

As coronavirus dominates the news agenda and many companies mull asking staff to stay away from the office, long time home worker Richard Allum, Managing Director at The Paraplanners, shared some remote working best practice tips.

“With the current news cycle, you may be discussing the possibility of remote working, or it could be a model you are interested in exploring for the future of your business,” said Allum. 

The Paraplanners team, according to Allum, work remotely. “My team are home-based and geographically spread around the country with 422 miles the furthest distance between two team members.”

Work well remotely

The following tips, according to Allum, could be useful if you, or your team, are working from home. 

  • If possible, have a dedicated space to work in. Somewhere you can pack up or close the door on at the end of the day. It will draw a line between work and home - allowing you to switch into and out of work mode. It should also help make it clear to others when you are working and reduce interruptions.
  • Stay connected. You can feel isolated and miss regularly seeing people. While less casual interruptions can be great, sometimes you miss the office conversation. Make sure you speak regularly with your colleagues, get out during the day or perhaps join a local club to see and speak to people. You'll benefit from that interaction and it's an opportunity to switch off from the working day.
  • Structure your day as if you are going to work. Have a time you aim to begin your day, for lunch and a time you want to finish. Be strict about taking regular short breaks and get up and move. Don't worry about doing the washing up during that break. You don't need to be glued to your desk to prove you're putting the hours in. This is the perfect opportunity to break any long-held and damaging presenteeism habits.
  • While a blessing for many, the silence of working from home can be oppressive for some. Don't push through the silence if it doesn't work for you. Perhaps you need some music or the background lull of voices in a local cafe

In part 2 of the article we take a look at the ways in which you can help your team to work remotely.

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