How to work (well) from home

Organisations are doing their part to ‘flatten the curve’ and ease the burden on our health services.

As COVID-19 spreads, companies are setting up staff to reduce physical contact with others.

The aim is to slow the spread of the virus, easing the burden on healthcare services.

Giants like Telstra have sent a large percentage of their workforce home for the next month, while small businesses are adapting to delivery-driven operations.

But whether you’re a manager overseeing a remote working team or a staff member working remotely, keeping motivated and productive can be challenging when you’re removed from the usual work environment.

So how do you do maintain your, or your team’s, mojo during remote working periods?

Tips for Managers

Good communication is king

  • Set clear objectives from the outset. Clearly communicate strategic priorities, expected output, timing for completion and quality level.
  • Be clear on how you plan to keep connected with individuals and the team (i.e. daily check-ins, one-on-ones, weekly planning sessions).
  • Remind staff of policies and what to do if they are unwell.
  • Check in with your team regularly and provide feedback on team progress.
  • Address any issues/concerns early and before they escalate.
  • Be mindful of communication mode. People can misinterpret messaging in electronic communication. Important interactions should be reserved for video conferencing, or as a minimum a phone call.
  • Adapt your style and language to the individual.
  • Be kind. Everyone is feeling anxious about the current situation, be sensitive to this but don’t avoid difficult conversations.

Trust in your staff

Provide staff with the autonomy to get on and get the work done without keeping constantly tabs. A quick daily check in should be sufficient provided clear instruction has been given and staff understand what they need to achieve.

Hold weekly planning sessions. These keep staff informed of progress and developments. They also ensure teams remain on track and don’t lose sight of overall strategic objectives.

You can also use an online forum to keep people connected and engaged.

Tips for staff

Set up a work dedicated space that:

  • has comfortable seating;
  • good lighting;
  • is ergonomically set up;
  • is free from distraction; and
  • ideally is separate to the rest of your living space so you can disconnect at the end of the working day.

Touch base regularly

Check in daily with your co-workers and manager to prevent isolation, help you remain connected and to get support when needed. You may need to schedule a video/call conferencing each day.

Work to a plan

To limit the temptation to do non-work-related activities:

  • map out your day, including start and finish times, scheduled breaks and a list of critical tasks;
  • prioritise tasks and tick them off as you go;
  • have set time(s) during the day where you switch off emails to focus on jobs that require no distraction; and
  • work your day around your most productive periods. If, for instance, that’s mornings than schedule tasks accordingly by tackling those requiring most focus first up.

Maintain routine

Routine can help you stay stay on track.

  • Start and finish work at a set time each day.
  • Dress for the working day, don’t stay in your pyjamas as this can be demotivating (as tempting as it is).
  • Keep it interesting. Use a change of scenery to inject energy or try working outdoors or somewhere with a view.

Finally, it is important to review your arrangements on a regular basis to ensure they are working effectively. Some of what you learn may provide opportunities for your business going forward. Don’t be afraid to make changes as the situation develops.

For more head to  and download our OHS Working From Home Packet.

If you are a CCIWA member with questions or concerns about managing your workforce as a result of COVID-19 we encourage you to contact our Employee Relations Advice Centre team on 9365 7660 or email [email protected].


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