Amidst the current coronavirus pandemic, many people are switching to working from home. For some this is nothing new, for others it is an adjustment. The following links outline some key tips when working from home to ensure you have establish a healthy working environment and offer suggestions on how to remain connected with your colleagues.
- Remote working survival toolkit
- The Metro have gathered tips from those who have experience of working from home. For example creating a WhatsApp groups to enable office chat, the importance of taking exercise breaks and maintaining a routine.
- This blog by Alice Goldfuss (2020) outlines how you can take care of your mental health whilst adjusting to working from home. Alice suggests that it is “ok to feel bad” particularly if you’re someone who enjoys having others around you. The blog acknowledged that you may experience anxiety or low mood and offers advice on how to improve your wellbeing. Importantly, working from home in the face of COVID-19 is likely to have been a rushed or makeshift set-up, which is not a reflection of “real-remote setups”.
- This Business Insider post talks about how remote work has obvious benefits, yet acknowledges that it’s not all fun and games. In reality, working remotely requires discipline and can come with its share of loneliness. Remote workers are more likely than their in-office counterparts to report feeling overly stressed at work, and to struggle with maintaining a healthy work-life balance
- The Independent offers a different perspective about productivity, being realistic about what you can achieve.
Which communication system should I use?
The following is a helpful article written by a clinical psychologist, offering considerations of selecting specific telecommunications to deliver support.
I am 100% NOT an expert on any of this, but lots of people seem to be asking about the pros and cons of different video/teleconference solutions. Here’s my layperson summary based on a bit of googling;
Whatsapp – Allows unlimited video calling for up to four people at a time. End to end encryption is in place, so it should be secure enough for our purposes. It requires an app download on a smartphone. You can type/send messages on a computer/laptop using whatsapp web, but you can only video call using a smartphone. Advantage: Many people use it already. The downside to this is that unless you have a work phone, you would be sharing your mobile number with the recipient.
Zoom – Video calling from computer or smartphone; you register for a free account, then send a link out so that people can connect into the call. I’ve had a bit of a play and I like the simplicity. It’s also handy that it doesn’t require your mobile number – just an email address. The free version supports up to 100 people on the same call, though there is a 40 minute limit. The paid version (starting at £11.99 per month) has no restrictions on meeting length. Zoom gets good feedback in terms of reliability/quality. Security/GDPR info seems robust (see https://zoom.us/docs/doc/Zoom-Security-White-Paper.pdf and https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/360000126326-Official-Statement-EU-GDPR-Compliance).
Microsoft Teams – If your organisation has Office 365, Microsoft Teams supports desktop/mobile video calls and meetings. Teams has lots of added functionality including the ability to share files and work collaboratively on documents – so it’s probably a bit overkill if you just want to make video calls.
Skype – I’m not sure about the GDPR elements as it was hard to find concrete info on how recordings/transcripts are stored and processed. However all parties need to register for a skype account before they can use it, so it may not be suitable for many clients. Skype For Business is much more robust/secure and better quality, but there is a cost to it.
This guidance document issued by the NHS in the UK concludes that given the current situation all forms of online communication are acceptable: