Coronavirus: Expert advice on how to boss homeworking in Hertfordshire

PUBLISHED: 11:00 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:57 20 March 2020

Many people are now having to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many people are now having to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Award-winning Hertfordshire businesswoman and entrepreneur Helen Froggett-Thomson offers 10 top tips to boss homeworking as more and more people stay at home in self-isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hertfordshire-based business trainer and entrepreneur Helen Froggett-Thomson gives advice on homeworkingHertfordshire-based business trainer and entrepreneur Helen Froggett-Thomson gives advice on homeworking

There’s no getting away from the fact that for most of us life has taken a swift and unexpected turn this last week.

Change can be as good as a rest and there’s real hope around the county with Facebook groups popping up for many towns, providing a pooled resource for helping others in all sorts of ways.

Check out Hitchin Helpers https://www.facebook.com/groups/2483725248557952/ for Royston vs Coronavirus https://www.facebook.com/groups/210680370297401/ for examples.

Many people are revealing their generous natures, freed from the pressures of a punishing schedule.

A cat sitting on home office desk, a scene familiar to many people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Images / iStockphoto/ Rafail AretakisA cat sitting on home office desk, a scene familiar to many people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Getty Images / iStockphoto/ Rafail Aretakis

While many overworked or socially anxious employees might have initially seen working from home as a slight relief, the reality of this being the norm for an indefinite period requires some careful thought and planning.

If you’re self-employed and been forced into ‘house arrest’ and are fit and able, with all income streams cancelled, it is a terrifying time.

But you are not alone, which is relevant. There’s safety in numbers with this situation.

It’s not just YOU unable to meet your obligations, it’s EVERYONE in the same boat, and already building societies and mortgage companies are offering payment holidays.

A woman working remotely at home. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoA woman working remotely at home. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

HMRC have announced a set of packages which they will be fleshing out this week, click here to keep up to date.

Let’s pray this is the first and only time we’ll be in this unique position of having more time on our hands than we are used to.

Other than the Christmas break! By January 2, you are almost looking forward to going back to ‘normality’.

Without a sense of purpose it’s very easy to sink into a sofa, binge watch Netflix and lose all sense of routine and forget where you keep your outdoor clothes.

Workers are getting out their office laptops at home. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoWorkers are getting out their office laptops at home. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Certainly, switching off for a few days is not going to harm anyone, but if it’s sustained there’s a massive knock-on effect for mental health and particularly in this instance, loneliness and isolation.

So what can we do?

• 1. Create a space to work, where you can keep your computer and stationery in one place all the time.

Try to separate it from your ‘leisure’ time space if possible.

• 2. Determine what you want to achieve per day or agree specific work flow objectives with your manager to keep you focussed.

• 3. Honestly assess your own levels of self discipline and make the relevant routine to suit. Be strict with yourself.

Consider setting alarms on your phone for things like scrolling, daytime TV (ideally only at lunchtime if you must), chatting with non work friends.

Click here for some tips on managing your time.

• 4. Get into a routine where you get dressed (and look presentable enough for a video call from your boss/client as the benchmark!) and start work at a regular time.

• 5. Turn off push notifications and social media alerts if you’re easily distracted (that’s most of us then!).

• 6. Plan to have daily online visual contact with a) colleagues, b) appoint a ‘buddy’ to make yourself accountable, and c) your manager.

• 7. Look after yourself. Take regular breaks, and not just to walk to the kettle!

Getting outside is very important and even if you are under tremendous work load stress, you will return with a clearer head after even 10 minutes.

Cook for yourself at regular intervals, try to use fresh ingredients and buy bananas, oranges and apples.

You’d be surprised how filling two boiled eggs can be!

• 8. Make sure you finish work and don’t carry on until you go to bed.

Apart from anything else it will make it very difficult for you to switch off and go to sleep. We all need some down time!

• 9. Consider mindfulness and meditation apps and take some time out. Here’s some tips.

• 10. Be more tolerant of yourself and others around you. In times of high stress, it’s really easy for something seemingly small to tip you over the edge.

Forgive outbursts and be more compassionate. We’re all in this together!

(This article is edited from an online article which you can read here in full.)

• Helen Froggett-Thomson is an entrepreneur and former Hertfordshire Businesswoman of the Year. Her down to earth approach and 30 years of coaching and creation of sales training and leadership strategies has transformed hundreds of small businesses and their teams. Visit www.thomsontraining.com for more.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times