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Britain has now entered into the ‘delay stage’ of the coronavirus prevention strategy, and that might mean more of us will be encouraged to work from home.

Over four million people in the country already work in this way, according to data from the Office of National Statistics. For them, this will mean business as usual.

For others however, adjustments will need to be made to ensure worklife can continue as seamlessly as possible.

Design an office space

In order to get into the work mentality, you need to create an efficient work environment. Be honest with yourself, where is the least distracting location in your home? You may have earmarked that sitting room armchair, but maybe the quiet corner in the kitchen would be more appropriate.

Think about ergonomics: make sure you use a comfortable chair which supports good posture, and a desk reaching an appropriate height to prevent you leaning down to your screen.

Set up good lighting, and if possible, find natural light too; as recent research by Harvard Business Review found, 47% of employees felt either tired or very tired from the lack of it.

Check your Internet speed

The Internet is a vital component of working from home, so it is imperative it works sufficiently. It’s likely you will experience loss of speed if multiple users rely on it on a daily basis, so ensure it can cope with demand.

A wise first step would be to check the average speed of your current package and how many users it allows at one time. You may find it needs upgrading.

Be mindful too, of the location of your router. Place it somewhere high, away from any metal objects – routers use radio signals and metal appliances may disrupt them – and somewhere not obstructed by thick walls or furniture. Basically, in the most central spot in your home, but not in the kitchen.

Other steps you may wish to take include buying a Wifi extender and booster, protecting your connection with a password (to prevent users from the outside tapping into it and further reducing speed), and on a more basic level, closing down apps on your computer as they too can slow down your work.

Use tech to stay in touch with the office

It's likely you will need to stay in close contact with colleagues – thankfully, the digital realm provides numerous solutions.

Slack is an instant messaging platform – a bit like a WhatsApp group for computers – which allows you to seamlessly message all, or individual, members of your team, while Trello is a cloud-based app which can assist with project management.

Skype enables you to make voice and video calls for free, with as many as 50 people, while Google Hangouts offers similar services and can be used for up to ten.

Through programmes such as WeTransfer and Dropbox you can send large files securely, while Evernote enables you to scan documents and send them direct from a smartphone.

Out of the regular office environment, you may also find your concentration lapses rather more often than usual. Stay focused by downloading SelfControl – a free Mac app which blocks access to distracting websites (like social media hubs) for periods of time set by you.

Stock up on chargers

The laptop charger that’s on its last legs, the smartphone one that ‘sometimes’ works – if this sounds familiar, it might be time to replace them.

With frequent use, batteries can run low quicker and it’s important your devices are powered up fully if they are to function at optimal level.

Not only that, but with a household full of people, you may find these vital devices have a tendency to go walkabout. Having a few spare to hand may help ease tensions during a lock down.

Move around regularly

Walking to the water cooler, popping down to the canteen for a coffee – these activities may not seem like much but they can help you stay active during the day.

Public Health England advise workers stand or do some light walking for at least two hours during office hours – make sure you move around enough at home by taking regular breaks to stretch your legs.

See the NHS website for further recommendations on how to keep moving.


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