How to make a success of homeworking

Under Government instructions, more of us are homeworking now than ever before. For many, it is a novelty, being able to work in pyjamas. Personally, I have been homeworking for years, not in pyjamas I hasten to add.

As with all things, homeworking has its pluses and its minuses. This blog shares some tips on how to make it work for you and your team.


Homeworking Space

It is very easy for home and work to overlap. I’m fortunate, I use a little room at the end of my landing. I can shut the door at the end of the working day. I don’t have to keep looking at my work space. On the odd occasion, I go in there after hours, I always find myself doing a little work. I know that’s not good for me.

If you can, set up your homeworking space behind a closed door. If you can’t, pack your work away properly at the end of the day. A piece of paper left on a table will shout for your attention. If your computer is shut down and your papers are in a drawer, you can focus on relaxing.


When you work from home, it is easy to be distracted. Putting the dishwasher on, hanging out the washing, changing a light bulb. If you’ve got kids at home, you are still mum or dad, they still want your attention.

If you can, close the door. Set blocks of time to work. Shorter, focused bursts will be more productive – until the doorbell rings, obviously.

Working Hours

Many of us are used to working fixed hours and will continue to do so. For others it may be more challenging. Schools are shut but lessons continue. Parents of small children in particular may need more flexibility. Peppa Pig can only do so much babysitting.  Reasonable tasks and deadlines may be more appropriate than set working hours.

If your team is working to set hours, make sure you respect these. If you had a non-urgent query, you wouldn’t call your employee after they had left the office, why would you call them now?

Health and Safety

While your employees are homeworking, you are still responsible for their health and safety. Use the HSE checklist to help them assess their workstations. You should also remind them that they must work safely and contact you if they have any concerns in this regard.

Mental health is important too at this challenging time. For some great free resources to help your team, see MHFA England.

Data Protection

Over the last couple of years, we have all become much more aware of cyber security and the need to protect data. Those responsibilities do not stop because you and your team are working from home. If your employees are using their own equipment, work with your IT provider to make sure your data is safe.

As always, make sure that you have control over your systems. If something happened and your employee was no longer available, can you access or take back control of your data?

If your employees have access to personal data at home, they must keep this secure from anyone else in the household.

For data protection advice during the Coronavirus, please click here.

Keeping in Touch

One of the most difficult things about homeworking is communicating effectively. When we communicate with people face to face, our message is portrayed:

Keeping in Touch Pie Chart

Think of the word “yes”, try saying it in different tones. One seemingly straightforward word can mean so many different things.

We are used to seeing people every day in the office. The longer that does not happen, the more we start to interpret things differently. People can feel left out of key decisions.

Instead of emailing people, call them. Better still, video chat with them. Seeing a friendly face makes such a difference, especially to someone who is isolating alone. Facetime, Google Hangouts, Zoom – the technology is simple and usually free, even I can use it.

Throughout this, I will continue to be working as usual so please do keep in touch with me too. I wish you, your families and your businesses, all the very best.

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