Five top tips on how to work from home most effectively

Charlotte Bate of MAD-HR (inset) on how to work from home effectively.

Charlotte Bate of MAD-HR (inset) on how to work from home effectively. - Credit: PA/Ross Dean Photography

The vast majority of Britain is back to working from home as the country battens down the hatches against a coronavirus surge. 

But unlike the first time the novelty - and the lessons - might have worn off. 

The emphasis on taking a break and managing work/life balance was tangible back in March but almost a year on bad habits for many home workers might have settled in. 

Charlotte Bate is the director of MAD-HR, a consultancy and support firm which works across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex. 

She reiterated the importance of practising the basics when it comes to working from home with these five key points. 


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1. Make sure you have a good work environment

"A lot of us will have stuffed the unused Christmas decorations and clutter back into our spare rooms or home offices over the break. We had a week off and many of us have opened the door and remembered what's actually in there. It's important to clear out the laundry, the boxes, whatever it might be, so you're not working around the clutter and have a clear work space," Ms Bate said. 

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2. Take a break

"The basics are still so important and I forget them myself. Often I'll work on a screen for seven hours and literally never see the light of day. Remember to walk around, have your lunch, get some fresh air if you can, make a cup of tea," she said. 

3. Be realistic with your expectations of yourself

"With the schools shut again many people will be back to teaching their children from home. It won't be realistic for many to work nine to five and teach your children as well. You can't help other people if you don't help yourself first so be mindful of how much you can really achieve," she advised. 

4. Communicate with your employer

"As well as potentially teaching a lot of people will have care responsibilities. Have a conversation early on with your employer to set out what you can and can't do. Perhaps you can't work solidly during business hours but you can work outside of that or for a couple of hours on weekends, but have that conversation to manage expectations," she said. 

5. Utilise your time effectively

"During the first lockdown I think a lot of people were booking in meetings for the sake of it. Businesses and employees alike need to be looking at their diaries and how they can use it most effectively," she said. 

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