Introduction\n\nRight now, Working From Home is something A LOT of people are getting very closely acquainted with due to matters outside of our immediate control. All over the world, people and businesses are adapting their processes and procedures to this way of completing work, and I think it'll take a bit of time before we get to the efficiency levels we had prior to this massive change in life as we know it. In the meantime, everyday is a school day as we learn what works and what shouldn't do in order to achieve productivity.\n\nPersonally, I've been Working From Home full time for two weeks straight, and despite having lots of prior experience, I still found it to have been quite the transition. I do miss seeing my colleagues face-to-face, being able to grab the impromptu tea with a teammate and have a cheeky chin-wag as the hot water pours. Being at my place almost full-time beavering away has also managed to teach me a lot more about the subject of Working From Home than I knew from my previous stints, and I wanted to pass them on just in case others find them useful. As my colleagues and I stay in regular contact and assist where required, I'll also gladly share some of the insights that they have provided me 😅.\n\nThis article has been prepared as a follow up to my previous article about Working from Home. If you haven't read it already, I recommend that you check it out!\n\nWorking From Home: Certain Actions in Uncertain Times\n\nGetting yourself dressed up for work\n\nDressing to Impress\n\nWhilst I already knew that a morning routine was important, what I didn't appreciate was how much of an effect the little things would have. Work readiness is DEFINITELY a thing, and I've found that wearing my company pass along with the suitable work clothing (not necessarily suits) does wonders for my mindset. I also managed to snag a couple of company branded polo shirts that I try and wear, which really helps put me at work when walking past a mirror. It also helped to take the time and properly comb my hair as if I'd be coming into the office, as well as spritz on a bit of cologne as if I was leaving the house. I'm still yet to "SUIT UP" though, as I haven't felt the need and I don't think I could take the grief from my colleagues 😅! I still get ripped my for my choice of socks...\n\nSince all of this began, I have made sure that in my head, I'm still going into my usual office and have geared my mornings for that. It definitely helps when we have online meetings, as I always feel ready to go without needing a quick dash to make myself look somewhat presentable! It also means I'm able to share my webcam video during meetings which I try to do now as much as I can (more on this in a bit) so that I get that work experience. My colleagues still bring the jokes though, which makes it all the more authentic 🤣! I don't think I'll ever escape that...\n\nSome of my colleagues like to take morning readiness a little further to help prepare mentally for work. This includes going for a walk/run in the morning to mimic the action of moving around before work, which is helped greatly if you have a dog to walk. Clearly this can only be done if you are able (and in certain cases allowed) to leave your place, but even if you aren't able to vacate where you live, you could still try walking around your premises. Other colleagues have added stretching, light exercise and even yoga to their morning routines to help them feel energised for the rest of the day. Clearly we need to find what works for us 😎.\n\nLadies starting their day Working From Home with Yoga\n\nMaximize Contact Time and Switch Off When Needed\n\nAs teams, we need to lift each each other up and collaborate electronically when Working From Home. On my current project, we have a short daily meeting in the morning to determine progress, understand the daily objectives, identify and remove any blockers and to ultimately set the team to work. We also use this opportunity to discuss our various personal and living situations to build that close relationship and camaraderie within our group, as well as share any tips and guidance to ensure everyone is well looked after. We've even set up a team instant messaging group where we share jokes, photos, memes and anything else we can to keep spirits high whilst we are all away from each other. It has worked wonders in bringing everyone together 💪.\n\nNow that Working From Home has separated us from the friendly faces of our colleagues, if you don't do so already, I thoroughly recommend defaulting to sharing your video during online meetings (if you have the bandwidth), or at the very least uploading a photo of yourself that people can see. There are so many nonverbal cues that are lost when using text/audio only chats, and seeing you could help your teammates understand your point of view. Remember, whilst Working From Home we aren't able to walk up and see our colleagues so every little helps. I now use video for all of my chats, and my teammates are starting to do the same. It's great to see everyone, even when my two-week beard is dwarfed by my colleague's one week masterpiece 🤣!\n\nFinally, at the end of the day don't forget to SWITCH OFF completely. Before, when we performed our roles at at our places of work and then came home, there was a very clear divide. Now that our duties are being carried out at home, it's easy to blur the lines and carry on thinking about our responsibilities even when we have finished and should be spending quality time with those closest to us. Try not to fall into this trap, power your computer down and DON'T TOUCH IT AGAIN until you start work the following day. Your emails can wait for you much like your loved ones have all day 😎.\n\nLady relaxing after a busy day Working From Home\n\nTake Good Care of Yourself\n\nAt work, organisations assess the working environment to ensure that you are comfortable from a Health and Safety point of view. It is unlikely that you personally have assessed your home working space, which likely because your place of work is where you intended to carry out your role. This means that you run the risk of very real issues, especially with your posture if you sitting down all day on say a dining/living room chair. I found my back was starting to ache from sitting on my dining room chair, which clearly hasn't been designed for such prolonged usage. To combat this, I began to schedule regular break intervals (set a timer if you must) and got up to walk around. BEEP BEEP? Time to make a cup of tea or brew a coffee!\n\nFor my back, I've also taken it one step further because I'm currently on hiatus from the gym for the foreseeable future. I try and start the day with a few stretches and then work standing up for the vast majority of my day. This actually enables me to be really productive, whilst at the same time stretching and moving my limbs to prevent them from getting stiff. I even have all my video calls standing, which keeps me alert! I thoroughly recommend giving it a try and seeing if it works for you 😅. I manage to use a ledge at my place, but you could also try a bookshelf or work surface. If it's too low, my friend props his laptop up with boxes. Since switching to standing, my backache has disappeared and I'm far less stiff should I choose to go for a run in the evening.\n\nTake the time to prepare and cook yourself good meals especially during times where going out can be difficult. Give yourself and those with you something to look forward to after a hard day's graft from your home working space. This will enable you to perform at your optimum during the set time you are performing your duties. Also, ensure that you clean up your spaces and don't leave dirty dishes, cutlery, pots etc lying around. Like when at work you shouldn't leave breakout rooms in a messy state, exercise the same discipline in your home space. I also extend this discipline to my desk 🤣! Try to keep on top of things so you can always find what you're looking for.\n\nSimon Ramzi's standing work selfie!\n\nOther Home Office "Quirks"\n\nWhen working from your home space, try to be as paperless as humanly possible. Remote collaboration already has its own unique set of challenges, without you adding paper-based work, notes etc. into the situation! Yes you could take pictures/scans of your offline scribbles, but collaborating with others on updates will fast become a nightmare which is silly as all of this can be easily avoided.\n\nNote Taking: Mature tools like OneNote and Evernote exist which allow you to create and collaborate on digital-first notes easily and share these with others should you need to. If you have a touch machine (like an iPad, Surface Pro/Book etc), these are also compatible with a stylus if you still want to write. You can even use a Rocketbook where you can write as normal in a special paper notebook and have these notes digitally sync. Paper should be a thing of the past!\n\nDocuments: There are a wealth of tools that allow you to electronically collaborate on documents. Office 365 has this feature built in as long as you have a Microsoft SharePoint and/or OneDrive setup. You could use DropBox or other cloud file sharing capabilities to work on files together. If your organisation has internal network folders and have provided you with VPN access, you can use those. Avoid storing files locally and emailing them around or reuploading them with "creative" filenames (e.g. document.doc, document-sarah.doc, document-ian-1.doc, document-DRAFT_FINAL.doc, document-FINAL-1.doc etc). The overhead required to merge all the changes back into a single document will cost you your sanity 🤯! Finally, make use of the digital signature available in document packages such as Word, Excel PDFs etc to ensure that completed final documents can be trusted once issued.\n\nCollaborative Spaces: Try to avoid point-to-point email and use dedicated collaboration tools. These include, Slack, Microsoft Teams and Atlassian Confluence. The added benefit of such tools is that you build up detailed project documentation the more you use them, which can be accessed by anyone atv any point regardless of when they join.\n\nLady amazed at what she can accomplish when digital collaboration is set up correctly\n\nWhen Working From Home, especially for long stretches, it is imperative that you monitor 👀 the computer equipment you have been issued and raise any significant issues to IT as early as you possibly can. As you are no longer at your usual base, any fixes needed will have to be planned for more than usual, so IT will need more time to sort this for you. Don't wait until your things are gasping for their last breath before asking for help, as you'll likely only receive support after everything has packed up 🙉! That will definitely not enable you to remain productive 😬. Raise your issue(s) via your approved company channels as soon as you can so that you allow IT to support you as best as they can.\n\nContinuously Learning 🎓\n\nDespite my prior experience of Working From Home, doing it solidly these last couple of weeks has taught me quite a bit more. It is important that we continue to observe the challenges that we face as they arise and formulate solutions TOGETHER to ensure that we remain productive in all situations. Collaboration is key, and as we learn and improve, it is also vital that we share these lessons to lift each other up through difficult times. This way we all stand to benefit grow as a collective 😀.\n\nTake care and all the best, Si.