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You would certainly be forgiven for feeling uneasy and anxious following the Coronavirus (COVID 19) outbreak which is currently and will continue to have a large impact on all of us over the coming weeks and months.

Every day we hear the numbers of cases in each country increasing and more and more measures being implemented to keep us all isolated.

While the situation presented to us will be challenging, we must remain as positive as we can and continue to find the motivation to perform our daily activities and our work to our highest ability even when confined to the walls of our home.

Below are our top tips for how best to stay motivated and continue to work effectively from home. But how can you go about offering flexible employment to your own employees, while also ensuring your business continues to run smoothly? Here are some tips for implementing flexible working in your business:

Structure your day
Most of us are creatures of habit. At work we tend to have a pretty rigid structure to our day, the tasks we are working on may change, but often we start, have lunch, take breaks and leave at similar times most days.

It is important that when you are working from home you to create a structure to ensure that your output remains the same. Get ready for work. This may sound obvious, but don’t roll out of bed at 8:45 am to start at 9 am in your PJs. By getting up earlier and getting dressed you will be in a more productive mindset. That doesn’t mean you have to wear your three-piece suit whilst sat at home. But take the time to freshen up and wake up properly, just as you would if going to work.

If you are someone who makes lists at work, then ensure you are doing the same while working at home, even write down when you will take your lunch break if that is more likely to make you stick to it. The best advice we can give is to replicate as much as your normal working day as you can.

The important thing here is to strike the right balance, you, of course, need to make sure you are getting things done, but you also need to make sure you are taking breaks and giving yourself time off. Just because you have a work laptop at home doesn’t mean you need to work until 11 pm each evening. Use structure to find a balance, in the same way you do when you are working in the office.

Have a designated space
Not everyone has a desk in their home but clearing a space to create a proper working environment can be key to being productive when working from home. It may be that if there are many of you in the house, you may have to get creative with these makeshift office spaces.

While firing up the laptop and staying in bed may be tempting, it may result in you not being as efficient as normal. Working from your bed is not only bad for your posture, but it can also negatively affect your sleep, as the mind begins to associate that room with working, making it harder to switch off when trying to fall asleep.

The most important thing is to create an environment that is comfortable to work in, but not so relaxed that all you want to do it turn on the tv, scroll through social media or read a book. It’s a tough balance, but if you can minimise distractions your productivity shouldn’t suffer.

Minimise distractions
Our home and daily lives are full of distractions. Cooking, cleaning, washing, watching tv, looking after children, feeding a pet, walking the dog, answering the front door, the list goes on and on. When working from home it can be tempting to do these activities throughout your working day, creating a disjointed feeling and reducing the amount you get done.

Ultimately it is about discipline. If you do not allow yourself to fall into the trap of letting these things distract you, you may find you can get more work done than normal. At least with distractions at home, you can have some control over allowing them to disrupt your working day. In the office, however, we all encounter distractions daily, people walking into your office, someone calling your phone, longer than necessary meetings, people talking in the office, again the list could go on.

If you need to get things done around the house, wake up earlier, do them in the evening or utilise your lunch break and your lack of a commute. If you are strict with yourself you can optimise the lack of office distractions rather than falling into the habit of everyday jobs around the home reducing productivity.

Communicate effectively

Many people consider the biggest challenge of working from home to be communication. Whether this is an unbearably slow internet signal or not being able to get hold of a colleague, communication can suffer considerably when you don’t have everyone in the same place.

The most important thing to do is to double up on your communication, even if this may seem over the top, it is better to have all members of a team clear on what they are doing and not two people completing the same task. A group chat or multiple group chats is often the best ways to deal with this. Whether that be through Slack, Google Hangouts or even on WhatsApp, a group chat for everyone to keep track of progress, ask questions and raise key issues, is vital for ensuring your business can operate as normal.

It’s also important to communicate to your boss or HR manager if you are having any issues whilst working at home. This could be anything from problems with technology, to childcare limiting your ability to meet deadlines. It’s far better to be open and honest about these things and you will often find many other colleagues are in the same boat.

It's not just you
As mentioned in the paragraph above, everyone is going through the same problems and everyone is having to adjust to this new way of working. On top of that, there’s fear around the coronavirus crisis, confusion about how long the current measures may last and the feeling of loneliness for a lot of people missing family and friends.

It’s ok to feel low at times, it’s normal. So don’t be too hard on yourself, it isn’t only you who may feel as though they are struggling to adapt. The important thing is that we all help each other, and while this article is about keeping productive, it’s just as important to take care of our mental wellbeing, especially during a time like this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Stay safe, stay productive and stay positive.