Remote working: Top tips to stay connected, productive and healthy

One in five people around the world (circa 1.5 billion) are currently having to adjust to life and work under lockdown. With no certainty of how long it will last, Lee Collinson offers some practical advice to help keep you connected, focused and active.

Speaking at a recent Downing Street daily virus update, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said that the government cannot tell the public when lockdown will end because they don’t know themselves.

Looking out my window, the streets are noticeably quieter, with few cars and even fewer people.

The government-enforced social distancing, self-isolation and shielding means that the vast majority of us are now only leaving our homes for a handful of limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, one form of physical exercise a day, any medical needs, and to travel for work purposes (but only if absolutely necessary).

It’s an unforeseen situation that has the potential to affect our mental health as much, if not more, than our physical wellbeing. And that’s what I want to discuss, the importance of mental health and techniques to help keep you resilient.


Staying connected

By now, the reality of working remotely and being isolated from family and friends will have sunk in. It is understandable that many of you will be experiencing boredom, frustration, a sense of loneliness, and increased anxiety about your own health and those close to you.

At times such as these, human connections are more important than ever.

Rather than emailing a colleague or texting a family member, why not phone them? Better yet, use a video call when and where possible. Compared to purely verbal conversations, face to face interactions help create a stronger feeling of connection and a deeper level of communication.

Also, if there’s a colleague or friend you regularly have lunch or coffee with, these activities can still be conducted virtually thanks to webcams, phone cameras and various social apps.

Working remotely doesn’t mean you have to remain distant.


Staying focused

One of the challenges of working from home is getting into the mindset that you are ‘at work’.

One way of achieving this is by setting yourself a positive routine, i.e. waking up and getting dressed as if you were going to work, starting and ending your working day at your usual times, and checking in with your teams at the start of each day and regularly throughout.

To-do lists are another effective way of managing your time and prioritising what needs to be done and when. There are many digital tools to help you create and keep track of your tasks, but sometimes you can’t beat a pen and some post-it notes.

Another important consideration is your workspace. If possible, try to set up a work area separate from where you sleep and away from other members of your household. You need a space that allows you to set up your equipment in an ergonomic manner, one that balances good posture with comfort.

Remaining focused leads to better productivity and a sense of achievement.


Staying active

A quarter of workers (26%) already sit down for more than nine hours a day, and two-thirds (65%) often spend more than 60 minutes continuously sitting down. These are worrying figures, and there are concerns that working from home could exacerbate the issue.

Exercise is vital for a healthy body and mind and is a great way to maintain your energy levels and focus. Take regular screen breaks, move around and try and use your lunchtime to enjoy some peace and quiet.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please connect with me on LinkedIn.


Lee Collinson is National Head of Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics at Barclays

*Images courtesy of Depositphotos