This week we kicked off our first digital all Company Plus X meeting and our Co-CEO started with a key question – how are you? How are we all navigating this strange new world, working in different ways and new locations? How are we coping with our kids’ home schooling and digital socialising. We all had very different responses!
Some of us have now made the transition to work from home and this is where we focused the core of our peer to peer support. We circled around how to keep positive and productive during this time of social distancing and we shared tips, advice and funny stories. Plus X is a business that specialises in supporting business owners and teams in all shapes and sizes. So we thought we should share our wfh tips with you. We hope they help!
Create a good working environment
Set yourself up well. By this we mean – give yourself a good working environment at home. Our Plus X Brighton MD shared how she opens all the windows to let the good fresh air circulate at the start of her day. Anneza, who runs our Accelerator programme at the Central Research Laboratory recommends sticking to the same work routine you had before – perhaps just with virtual coffee breaks instead. Alex from Plus X Brighton says it’s important to get dressed as though for work – don’t get too comfy!
First things first: productivity. Let’s be real, to be positive when working from home, you’ve got to keep on top of your work. Nobody likes a long list of things they need to do hanging over them and we think this can be avoided by creating a routine work planner and sticking to it. Plus, the more you get done, the more motivated you are! Keep your momentum going by celebrating your successes, no matter how small they are!
Productive hours: It’s important to remember that people are productive at different times of the day, so take advantage of this whilst you can! Working from home enables you to get your work done during your most focused times, whenever they may be. Let your colleagues know your working from home hours so they are aware when it’s best to contact you and when they can expect your replies. Enhance your productivity by only checking emails and calling people at certain times. It is important to manage your own time efficiently, making sure you get what you need done whilst always having access to the fridge and the TV. A great example of this is setting yourself power-hours where you turn off your internet connection to focus on getting the task in hand completed.
Keep fit or at least active
Universally all our team shared their tips on keeping active – from online Pilates to sharing their online kids PE lessons courtesy of Joe Wicks – our favourite new PE teacher. Our Finance Director also helpfully demonstrated some useful stretching exercise including lunges. That gave us all a giggle.
Pay attention to nutrition
We know that the food we eat affects productivity and motivation. It’s harder to stay on top of good nutrition when you’re sat closer to the fridge than ever before and can hear your favourite snacks calling your name! But try to stick to your ‘normal’ meal times as closely as possible so you don’t throw yourself off kilter.
Research shows that eating certain foods can increase productivity by 20%, so why not start the day with eggs; these are packed full with vitamin B which increases your memory capabilities and speeds up your brain’s reactor sensors! You could also include salmon, rich in omega 3, known for lowering blood pressure and keeping your brain healthy, too. Whatever you choose to eat, make sure that you’re washing it down with plenty of water to keep your body hydrated throughout the day. This will really help you focus, as during the day your water stores naturally deplete. Why not download an app to remind you to drink water to prevent you from getting dehydrated?
We’re all getting more digital which is an exciting, futuristic change but let’s be honest, there is nothing worse than having to ask someone to repeat over and over again due to a poor connection! If you are struggling with connection our friends at WiredScore have put together a few tips to help. We recommend that you check everything is working well before you start an important online-call! Most virtual calling apps, like Zoom, offer a test call option which you can make the most out of to avoid unnecessary and awkward lagging. Also try, wherever possible, to set up a professional looking background for your video calls. This is a great opportunity to decide on a space where you can work well and be able to leave at the end of the day and feel as if you’ve left the office.
Top technology tip: keep your mic muted when you’re not speaking on virtual calls, this gets rid of that crackly white noise (and the sounds of you eating your lunch). Your colleagues will be grateful for it.
Take a break
Once you’ve gotten off your virtual call, it’s always worth taking a 5 minute break, grabbing a glass of water and going outside for some fresh air! It can feel like it’s not worth the effort opening a window or going for a walk around the block but nothing can beat a warm ray of sunshine accompanied by the sound of nature. Remember that if you’re not usually sat at a laptop all day and your meetings are normally done face-to-face then you will really benefit from time away from your screen. Why not spend some time dreaming about flying to space, somewhere away from reality? Your imagination will do you wonders!
Mat our Co-CEO talked about the digital overwhelm and recommends talking to people real time as an antidote to that.
Try something new
Many of our team members recommended this tip! You’ve been at home, working all day behind that desk which is actually your kitchen table, it’s now 6pm and you want to wind down for the day but you’re fed up of looking at screens and your brain is too tired for a book, perhaps it’s raining outside so a walk isn’t on the cards. Well, we’ve all been there. This is when it’s time for you to try something new. Why not get creative? Learning something new, specifically knitting or crocheting, reduces anxiety because of how your brain works when doing these tasks with your hands. It makes you focus on that specific skill, meaning that you aren’t thinking about worries for yourself of the rest of the world. What have you wanted to learn but just haven’t had time for? This is the perfect opportunity to do it and involve members of your family who you live with / your partner / your housemates, too (if you want to!). You could learn a new card game or instrument, paint or draw or try some new recipes. Our HR Director shared her new digital pub quiz idea – kicking off with her friends this weekend. She really is making the most out of her time at home.
Keep in touch with us through our social platforms for more tips and check out our new Plus X stretch and mindful work out – launching next week!