SOCITM (Society of Information Technology Management)
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How to maximise the working from home experience (and some ideas for when the children are at home from school)

Socitm Advisory prides itself on the relationships we foster with our customers, our partners and importantly, our people. We are facing some challenging times, times which change on an almost hourly basis, moving at incredible pace.

Increasingly we are going to have to take steps to deliver on our programme objectives through remote working, relying upon collaboration tools, predominantly through O365. We have created this guidance document, including top tips and best practices from both personal and industry experiences that will help and support you and your families whilst working from home (including a time when the schools may be shut).

Some guidance is practical, and some is aimed at maintaining a good family equilibrium by getting the kids involved – which we are sure you will love.

So here goes:

Getting Organised:

Set up a separate office area to schooling space:

  • It may be useful to set up spaces and communicate to family where and when working and learning / play time takes place.

Create a schedule or gardening calendar:

  • If possible, work with partner to stagger shift patterns of working.  Maybe one person can work 7.30 – 13.30 and the other 13.30 to 18.30 (or 2 hours work patterns and switch over).
  • Set timetable and calendar for children’s activities and fit work/programme tasks around this.
  • Confirm and check with colleagues / clients if regular meetings can be changed to suit remote working and be mindful of others impacted – reschedule accordingly.
  • Pre-plan meals and timings.

Manage your availability:

  • Make best use of out of office hours – including utilising the first and last time of the day when you may have time (and Wi-Fi) to yourself.
  • Create some consistency with core times in the day/evenings allocated to work / family (life balance is critical).
  • When setting Automatic Replies (out of office) select ‘Only send during this time range’ so out of office messages turn off automatically. You can set a different automated message for external contacts if you wish.
  • For periods in a day where you know you won’t be available, block out those times and ensure they are marked as Busy. For example, for school work and dinner time.

Batch tasks

if you have a two-hour window, use that to focus just one topic e.g. report writing – try not to jump around as this encourages downtime.

Buddy up on projects:

  • Deliver efficiently on tasks by sharing the focus and workload.
  • This has the added benefit of provided support, motivation and encouragement to your colleagues.

What about the Kids?

Explore activities to keep children engaged and interested whilst at home.

Clearly communicate with your kids

Explain the new scenario and ask for ideas on how to make it work. Get them involved in the solution.

Create mini work-related tasks that the children can support on:

  • Is there a spin off task they can complete relative to your work so you can work together?
  • Does their school project work have a relevance to your tasks that can lead to joint working?

Create time for your work schedule:

  • Utilise podcasts, audiobooks and TED talks as a constructive way to create time for work agenda and learning.
  • Structure their day, like the school calendar, so children have tasks to complete autonomously.

Offer incentives, this could be anything from:

  • A sticker chart for completing schoolwork and good behaviour.
  • Completing schoolwork and work agenda with pizza, movie, baking or a FIFA match as a trea.t

Agree signals for when it’s ok to talk: (eg. when on calls)

A colleague previously used a coat hanger on the door as a sign not to be disturbed (unless in an emergency of course).

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