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COVID-19: Working from home

31st March 2020

In recent weeks, social distancing has seen millions of workers set up office in their own homes.

With the digital technology and tools available to us today, many people will already be competent with remote working. However, in the wake of COVID-19 it is has pushed many off us into the deep end, forcing a change in processes for companies across the whole of the UK, as well as introducing steep learning curves for employees as they become familiar with their new working methods.

As well as the operational challenges that come with a shift from office to home working, there are also concerns about personal well-being that need to be addressed by businesses. Self-solation can be lonely, and motivation can be hard to come by for some, which is why it’s important to find engaging ways to stay in touch with your peers.

Here’s some advice on home working from us here at 8020.

Staying connected

Internet – An obvious one. A good, stable internet connection is essential. As the infrastructure across the country is gradually being upgraded to FTTC & FTTP, many people will have at least satisfactory broadband speeds to enable them to complete their work.

An alternative to fixed broadband is a mobile router or dongle with a sim card running on one of the UK’s main networks such as O2, Vodafone or EE, which can often be the superior solution in rural locations.

Telephony – ideally a separate phone you can switch off at the end of the working day. Most telephone systems will have a compatible app, turning your business mobile into an extension of your office telephone system. Meaning calls can ring the same as they would in the office and you can transfer calls easily between colleagues, just like you’re used to.

If your set up is simpler than that then your usual landline can easily be diverted to a mobile.

Microsoft O365 – Microsoft O365 has all the tools you need to work anytime, anywhere, on any device. It has the Office apps you are used to using like Word, Excel, Outlook, plus all the benefits of the cloud. Allowing you to seamlessly replicate your office setup on multiple devices, like a laptop at home.

Staying in touch

Microsoft Teams – This app is designed to keep teams connected while they work apart. Teams allows you to chat via instant messenger, meet via video calls, make voice calls, and collaborate on projects, all in one place. Allowing you the diversity to easily stay in touch with your colleagues and business contacts, regardless of your preferred method of contact.

Staying secure

Antivirus – It’s important to have Antivirus/Antimalware software in place to detect and destroy threats like viruses, malware, ransomware & spyware.

VPN – Using the web on an unsecured Wi-Fi network means you could be exposing your private information and browsing habits. A VPN creates a safe environment for sending and receiving data while connected to a shared or private network. So when using your home broadband, your device can remain anonymous, your location masked and your web traffic encrypted.

Two-factor authentication – Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible as well as secure passwords to confirm your identity when logging into accounts. It provides an extra layer of security designed to ensure the safety of online accounts beyond just a username and password. The second layer could be a security code being text to your mobile that you need to input to complete a login.

Staying sane

Stick to a routine – Simple things like getting up, getting showered, having breakfast and heading out for a walk before starting your working day can boost morale and energy levels.

Take proper breaks – By default, when you’ve made your lunch you might head back to your PC to eat it, continuing to work as you do so. You may even feel concerned about what your boss might think if you are seen as inactive online for a while and so take shorter breaks. However, it’s important you take structured breaks away from your work environment to avoid burnout and to allow your mind to rest and reset. You should find you are more productive by doing so.

Stay social – Last but certainly not least, stay in touch with your colleagues. You may be physically isolating but don’t mentally isolate yourself too. Use instant messaging platforms like Microsoft Teams for social conversations as well as business, or use it for video calls. Video conferencing will bring back a bit of the lost personal interactions from face-to-face meetings. 

Above all, stay safe.

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