What I've learnt during the lockdown in the UK is that there are many who have thrived in the environment of remote working.
I have seen colleagues work on a more intense and productive level than within the walls of our office. However, for some, working remotely can be a very difficult and lonely experience.
Personally, I have sat between these two camps. There have been days over the course of the last 3 months that I have been able to complete multiple tasks that would have otherwise taken weeks to get round to. Nevertheless, after the first couple of weeks of working from home, I did find myself staring at my kitchen walls or at the same email for 15 minutes at times.
This style of working is not going to be short-term. As social distancing continues in the UK and across the world, remote working will be our safest way of containing the virus when ‘going to work’.
Additionally, as workers have been given the opportunity to work from home more regularly, the demand for this will ultimately rise in employment requests. As a recruiter, I have already seen a huge rise in this demand even after the pandemic comes to a close.
I spoke with industry leaders within the Machine Learning & AI space about what advice they would give to get the most out of working from home. So whether you love working from home or despise it here's what they said...
Senior-level Data Scientist - UK based Medical Research Organization
- Create a daily working routine at home: start your day with planning the tasks and deliverables for the day and try to maintain your working day organised and structured (including lunch/coffee breaks).
- Remain in contact with colleagues via Zoom/Microsoft Teams, even outside of scheduled calls. It can help to reduce the feeling of being isolated.
- Exercise every day: sitting at home working all day long can be frustrating and stressful, even from the comfort of your home. Get your daily endorphin boost to avoid those negative side effects.
Leading Computer Vision Scientist
- Try E-lunches (on video) with different colleagues including people you don't normally have lunch with.
- Enjoy short sessions of playing computer games with colleagues like skibbl.io.
- Try to reduce meeting durations by 25%.
Reena Singh HR & Recruitment Manager - iProov
- Communication is key - tell your manager or HR that you are struggling with the transition. Together they can look at what exactly it is that you're struggling with and what support measures can be put in place.
- Book in a daily break in your diary for the same time every day and be sure to step away from your laptop/computer.
- Most importantly, remember, it's OK if you're not OK. We're all going through a very unusual time that none of us has experienced before. There will naturally be a lot of anxiety, struggles working from home, strains on the relationships at home - all these feelings are normal and it's OK to feel like this. This is a very small fraction of our life in comparison to the rest of it; things will get better.
Founder of a leading start-up organization in London
- Switch-off somehow with an activity. (I cook) After that activity, absolutely no more working.
- Use the flexibility to make your life easier than it was before (go do the groceries at 10 am if it makes your life easier).
Charles Ball, COO at Chronomics
Charles has been working remotely during the pandemic and is keen on keeping the team communication levels up. Chronomics organizes regular quizzes in order to keep social interactions consistent.
He also explained that there should be an emphasis on employers looking towards the future, rather than solely at the situation right now. He has been actively reviewing where his company is going to be in a year’s time and then discussing that with his current team. These conversations are helping to soothe anxieties about the pandemic, with an honest and open approach to staff.
He has also been hosting regular Webinars about producing tests for employers to use on its staff to relieve the pressures of working back in an office, especially in areas such as central London where public transport is more frequently used.
Here are a few links where employers can look at options produced by Chronomics for testing and risk assessments:
If your company is interested in Coronavirus testing please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
His top his are as follows:
- Test your company to instil employee confidence.
- Provide regular communication to staff, no excuses.
- Exercise – do not work without leaving your desk, even if it’s a walk to grab a coffee.
For more working from home tips check out these blogs:
I would say, all in all, it is really important to separate your working life from your home life. So if you are not a seasoned professional in remote working, it can be a very new and tough challenge. However, what the professionals I interviewed all had in common are the following points:
Exercise or just walking in breaks
Communicating with colleagues
Creating a structured routine that you stick to
This ‘new normal’ will undoubtedly cause anxieties and feelings of uncertainty for many, however, it is important to reap the benefits of working from your home as well. For example, you might have a shorter commute or more flexible working hours. Or it could be simply saving a bit more cash than you typically would be able to. There is a light at the end of the tunnel with remote working and I hope these tips will help you cope in the meantime!
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