The government is recommending all businesses capable of enforcing a home working policy to ensure staff safety and help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus.

Here, we bring you the latest advice on ensuring your business transitions to home working and keeping your staff healthy throughout this period.

This page will be updated as new information is announced.


Create a workspace

Those new to working from home might be tempted to pitch up on the sofa. If possible, workers should try to set up a dedicated workspace where you can work relatively undistracted - this could be in a spare room or on the kitchen table. Even if you have to tidy up and clear your workspace away at the end of the day, having a dedicated space will help to keep you focused.

Keep in touch

Even if you didn't hold a daily meeting in the office, a daily video call with the team is a great way for everyone to keep up-to-date with what they're working on. And bear in mind that working from home can sometimes be very lonely at the best of times with all the freedoms of social activities outside of work. During the Coronavirus outbreak, be mindful that some of your team may be living alone or in self-isolation. Spending some time seeing and speaking to the people they normally spend 40 hours a week with can go a long way in maintaining their mental health.

Stick to your hours

It should be made clear to workers what is expected of them in terms of working hours. If you need them to stick to their usual office hours, let them know. But a lot of employers are very flexible when it comes to working from home. If you are being flexible, encourage workers to set a time to switch off. It gives everyone something to work by and avoid any before/after-hours calls. Some home workers often report feeling pressured to always 'be on', especially when it comes to short breaks and lunch breaks. But encourage your team to take breaks regularly and take a full lunch break away from their computer and away from their dedicated workspace.

Get dressed

Encourage your teams to get dressed for the day. It doesn't have to be any usual formal uniform or workwear, but getting out of your pyjamas helps to put you in a more productive, working mindset.

Minimise distractions

Having TV or Netflix on in the background is a big no-no, social media too. Radio is a great way of adding some entertainment while keeping you productive.

If you're sick, you're sick

You should encourage workers to take sick days if they are genuinely unwell. There's no sense in members of your team forcing themselves to get to the laptop if they aren't up to it. There shouldn't be any pressure to carry on just because they're working from home.

Exercise

Compared with the daily commute, walking around the office, leaving the office for lunch, working from home can be a very sedentary life. So you should encourage your team to take regular breaks away from their workspaces, particularly to stretch their legs. They can fit in a home workout during lunch, or, until a time when the government enforces a total lockdown, they could go for a walk.

Be open

This is an extremely challenging time for everyone and as a manager or businesses owner, you should keep yourself open to talk about any problems your team faces working from you. Anxiety levels may spike, stress levels may spike particularly for those with young children at home. Make sure your team knows you are available to talk if they need it, and be flexible in your approach to home working if they need it.