Working from Home… a Blog

Read the thoughts of Public Affairs and Communications Officer Glenn Dives about working from home during the current crisis.

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So last week was the first full week that I had worked from home. Like many other people, I was obliged to work from home due to the impacts of Coronavirus outbreak. The BPA, following Government advice has done the sensible thing of asking all staff to work from home to help reduce the spread of the virus. In this challenging time, I thought I would relate my own experience, provide a little bit of advice, and suggest some positives that could come out of this rather unique but equally shared experience.

For me and I’m sure for many others the initial thought was… Oh I can do what I want!!! No boss checking up on me. I can even work in my pyjamas in bed!!  But very quickly reality kicks in. I am an adult responsible for my own work and there is no reason this should be treated like any other work day, week, or month. So with this in mind here are some things I did/do;

  • I built myself a workspace at home which is for work and work only.
  • I developed a schedule allocating specific time to do certain work
  • Left the TV off (obvious right… play music instead if you need to).
  • I gave myself space to think (more of that later)
  • I stay in contact with colleagues (again more of that later)
  • At the end of the day I leave my workspace and don’t touch it again until the next.

I would recommend anyone and everyone working from home at the present time should set their own rules and be disciplined but most importantly, stay positive, stay busy, and try not to get distracted.

Space to Think

As Forbes magazine states there are a range of benefits from working from home, including reduced stress, comfort and increased productivity (during normal times). There is an additional benefit however, that I alluded to above and which I don’t think gets enough attention which is the space to think, reflect and plan ahead. There are literally limitless ways we can do our jobs and I think it is too easy to just do things as we have always done them. So give yourself some space to think who knows what you can come up.  Working from home presents an opportunity to consider better and smarter ways of working and there are a range of apps and software available that can help us do that, here are some examples:

Staying Healthy

It’s important to ensure we all look after our physical and mental health by taking exercise and regular breaks. Staying in contact with your colleagues is also very important not only to make sure things are going according to plan, but also for our mental health and wellbeing.

Of course there is always the option of picking up the phone and calling someone to catch up, discuss work and even let off some steam. It is important to state that for those who live alone this is probably the most important advice I can give.  Social isolation - where there is no or limited contact with other people - has the potential to significantly affect our mental health. According to Mind, the mental health charity “loneliness is not a mental health problem itself but it has links to others, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, sleep problems and increased stress”. And that’s without a global pandemic to think about. It is certainly something I have been more aware of and I have taken the opportunity to call colleagues during work hours to discuss actions even if that could be carried out by email or a messenger system.

So for now I think I will leave things there. I plan to blog more about my experience of working from home throughout the crisis, as well as share thoughts about what other content the BPA is producing to advise and guide members.

As a final thought, I’d like to wish everyone good health and please, don’t be a stranger to anyone and let’s try and get through this together by being sensible and thinking of others.