Snowbound Workers – 9 Top Tips
At the time of writing, it’s snowing across a fair proportion of the British isles right now. The north and east are usually first affected but now that the snowfall has reached the south of England, the possibility of disruption has become more widespread.
A number of business organisations have advised that the UK’s SMEs plan now for the disruption, but now the snow is upon us, here’s some practical advice for those working from home.
Assuming that you’re able to work remotely, we present a list of top tips for snowbound workers, working from home.
1. Treat the day as you would any Normal Working Day
Try and get up at the same time as you would for a regular work day. If you do have a long commute then maybe lying-in a little longer wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but we’re trying not to break your routine here. It may be warmer & cosier working form home but you still have to squeeze in 8 hours of productivity.
So get up, get washed and get dressed as you would any working day of the week. (Although you don’t have to wear a suit around the house if it’s not practical)
2. Substitute the Commute for Productivity
It might be wise to swap the time you’d normally use for travelling to work for something productive – either catching up on work, getting ahead on some projects or maybe "swotting up" on a book or document. Use this time wisely.
3. Active Commuter? Workout at Home
If you normally walk or cycle you might be missing out on your exercise routine. If the snow’s not too bad, then get a walk around the block to get your body working. If you’ve got a home gym, then have a work out, or jump on the Wii Fit and do a workout. Get your circulation going and fire up those synapses.
4. Keep in Contact
If you can’t make it in, inform the right people. Tell the boss. You do have their phone number, right?
If you are the boss and you can’t make it in, then you’ll either have to have someone deputise or you’ll have to inform your staff. Don’t rely on sending email to staff who won’t receive it until they turn up at work. Make sure that if staff won’t be able to get in the premises that you don’t waste their time – there’s nothing worse than battling through the snow to find the works premises are shut.
Keep in touch with the appropriate people throughout the day – the only thing that has changed is your location, other than that, this should be treated a s regular work day.
Make sure you have your home phone, mobile phone and/or work mobile handy, have access to your email plus Skype or other VoIP/IM/teleconferencing software.
5. Have a Dedicated Work Space
If you’re not used to working from home then make sure you set up a dedicated workspace. Whether it’s a spare room, the dining room, the study, make this place your workplace for as long as is necessary. Make sure you don’t totally dominate the place if you’re going to be using it for other purposes i.e. Make sure you vacate the dining table for the family dinner later.
If you have certain rooms in the house that are dedicated to being peaceful work-free areas, don’t upset the balance by hogging them with your work gear. Make sure they remain relaxing spaces so that the other residents of your home can enjoy the space too.
6. Start on Time
Why break the routine? Just start at the time you normally would, no later. You can start earlier if that suits you – you’ll get a lot more done and that will be a really satisfying work day.
Take breaks as you would on a regular working day. Try not to be tempted to have too many more cups of tea than usual or eat more than you would just because you can. This is your opportunity to be more productive than you might be in the office, so take the chance to get ahead.
8. Daytime TV = NO
Whatever you do, steer clear of the temptation to switch on the TV. It’s a distraction and the daytime target audience isn’t the successful entrepreneur or productive boss.
9. Finish on Time
When you’ve successfully completed a day of working from home then try and finish as you normally would. There is a temptation to get ahead and chip in to tomorrow’s workload, whether that’s destined for home or the office, make your choice wisely. Don’t let work eat into your family and social life, and draw a line under your work and relax for the rest of the evening. With any luck you’ve probably had a thoroughly productive day, inspired by having had a change of scenery.
Oh, and one last thing – if you’re working from home make sure your friends and relatives are aware of the fact that you’re working. Just because you’re in the house doesn’t mean they can have protracted phone chats or come round for extra-long chinwags over a cup of tea or ten. You’re working, you’re being paid to do so, so make sure they understand that, whilst you appreciate the social aspect, it’s OK as long as it doesn’t affect your work.
Have a relaxing and productive day!
© 2010 Paul Mackenzie Ross