Hays UK jobs and employment blog


Winter remote working survival guide – make working from home, work for you  

By Carmena Wood, Managing Director, North West region

Across the UK, strict Covid-19 related social restrictions are in place and people are once again being asked to work from home. But there’s something different about this latest round of restrictions, whether it’s due to the shortening days, colder weather or just a case of ‘lockdown fatigue’, it’s weighing more heavily on many of us.

It’s critical that during this time of social distancing we are aware of how this can impact our wellbeing and that we stay connected. Whether you’re an employer managing a remote team, a remote worker or a furloughed professional, we wanted to share our advice for how to get through the latest lockdown.

5 tips for employers leading a team

  1. Secure wellbeing support and training
    Wellbeing took a major hit in the first lockdown, particularly for more outgoing, social individuals who thrive in a social environment. Make sure formal wellbeing support is actively available for your staff to take up whenever they need it. We’re now offering free wellbeing training for exactly this purpose.
  2. Optimising digital processes – improve weak points from last time
    Many employers turned to remote working virtually overnight during the first lockdown, so naturally cracks appeared. You should apply some of the lessons learned when your workforce moved fully online the first time. What worked, what didn’t? Are the systems you’re using up to scratch? Make the effort early in lockdown to iron out some of your remote working processes and lend help to people who struggled to adapt last time. Our range of remote working staff training courses could help you improve efficiency this time around.
  3. Check in with your teams
    Communication is going to be key to make sure your teams feel supported throughout the new lockdown. Whether structured check-ins or casual chats, make sure you’re asking your employees how they’re doing and try to bring some of the office culture into their virtual conversations. – remember to keep your webcams on for better face-to-face interaction.
  4. Help staff develop
    It’s the perfect time to think about what skills your organisation is likely to need in the future and recommend development paths and training to your teams, this will allow you to react faster to new change and transformation projects after lockdown and into the new year. You can use our training platform to build custom training packages tailored by our experts around your team’s requirements. Find out more here
  5. Don’t neglect yourself
    It’s tempting as a leader to put your team first, and while this is admirable, you’re no good to anyone if you’ve burned out. Make sure you’re leading by example, downing tools at a reasonable hour, getting plenty of exercise and looking out for your own wellbeing.

5 tips for remote workers or furloughed professionals

  1. Stay occupied – try training
    If the volume of work has fallen or you’ve been furloughed, you may find yourself with more time than you know what to do with. Keep the juices flowing by taking the opportunity to develop some key skills with training. We’ve got a range of free microlearning options that you can pick up in no-time – it may help you grow your career once lockdown is over.
  2. Be aware of wellbeing
    Watch out for your wellbeing at this time, as it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the whole experience of lockdown. Talk to your employer about wellbeing support through training, and visit our employee hub for more insights and advice around ensuring your wellbeing.
  3. Take time for yourself
    If you’re stuck indoors or working remotely, it’s going to be easy to lose track of time. Keeping a schedule can help. Make sure you’re observing working hours and not sneaking a look at your emails in the middle of the night. Make the most of your leisure time, spend time with family and get out and about (weather permitting).
  4. Talk to each other – lean on your network

    Stay in touch with co-workers and make sure to lean on your network. Your wellbeing depends on having a good support network so be sure to create a supportive environment where you and your colleagues can share thoughts and experiences.

  5. Stay active & exercise
    Exercise is wonderful for your wellbeing, even as the cold starts rolling in. Make sure once a day you head out for a brisk walk at the least, you’ll find it makes the world of difference.

As the days get shorter and lockdown continues, you may feel overwhelmed, or develop anxiety about the future. It’s important in these occasions to reach out, to family, co-workers, employers or your GP. We’re all in it together. Hopefully the tips we’ve laid out above will help support you through this lockdown.

Don’t forget to visit My Learning for the latest training packages designed to help forward your career during this lockdown. If you’re an employer looking to share wellbeing training and more for your team, check out Hays Thrive today.

About this author

Carmena joined Hays in 1986 working for the Accountancy and Finance team in Manchester. After eighteen months she seized the opportunity to open the Altrincham office and her career in leadership began. Following increasingly broader management roles across the North West region, Carmena was promoted to Regional Director in 1994 for the Greater Manchester area before changing direction to become a channel lead across the North to support and build the new Office Support business. In 2011 she was appointed to the role of multi specialism Director for Merseyside and Cheshire. Carmena was appointed to the UKI Board in October 2017 and promoted to Managing Director for the North West Region in June 2018.


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