As a contractor, the chances are that you’ve found the last few months difficult.
Whether you have been working or have been furloughed by your client, everyone has been affected by the pandemic, having to make significant changes to the way they live in order to stay safe.
If you’re returning to work in the coming weeks or you’re already back at work, you might want to consider remote working to reduce your contact with colleagues.
This week, we thought we’d put together some top tips for contractors working from home – read our guide and you’ll soon be more productive and engaged as you adapt to a new way of working…
Working from home requires the right equipment
Whether you work in IT or construction, having the right equipment you need to work from home is vital.
See whether your current client will supply you with a laptop and necessary software, and if not, remember that you can claim some expenses as a contractor.
You’ll need a laptop, a decent mouse, and a desk where you can work comfortably throughout the day.
You’ll also need access to your company’s intranet or files system, so ask for support.
You’ll need to set aside some free space
One of the biggest challenges contractors are facing during the crisis is finding a decent space to work.
Ideally, you should have a dedicated room in your house where you can buy a desk and ‘cut off’ from the rest of your family – but that’s easier said than done.
If it’s not possible to convert a spare bedroom or garage into an office, set aside clear working hours where your family must give you some distance, turn on the radio, open a window, and get into work mode.
Don’t work in your pyjamas and don’t work in front of the TV; you need to create a space that you can set aside for working hours and then “come home” on a night.
Make sure you stay in touch with your client
As a contractor, it’s essential that you keep in contact with your clients and let them know what you’re doing.
During this period of huge uncertainty, you should work to demonstrate to your employer that you’re valuable and needed within the organisation. If you don’t, you might be one of the first to go when they make budget cuts in the coming months.
Sign up to a service like Slack so you can stay in regular contact with your manager, set up regular Zoom calls, and be proactive. It may even lead to a longer-term contract if you’re successful.
Routines make working from home easier
You might not be braving the morning rush hour to get to the office or construction site, but you should still try to work to a usual routine.
Not only will it ensure you stay productive and available during working hours, but it’s good for your mental health, too.
Get up early, take a shower, and be at your desk for 9 am or whatever time you usually arrive at work.
Have your usual lunch break, take a walk if you need some fresh air, and finish by 5 or 6 pm.
It can be tempting to work longer, but you need to draw a line/have time to switch off on an evening.
Remove unwanted distractions like TVs
Finally, be sure to identify any obvious distractions and remove them from your daily routine.
As tempting as it may be to have the news or This Morning on in the background, or looking through Twitter and Facebook every ten minutes, you’ll struggle to perform at your usual best, so get into work mode and avoid such distractions.
The easiest way to do this is to turn off your personal phone and computer and pretend you’re still in the office.
Schedule some time during the day to focus on the kids, perhaps going for a walk during your lunch hour, and don’t be afraid to be selfish; you’re at work, and your family should be respectful of that.
Do you have any tips for working from home during the coronavirus crisis? Let us know on LinkedIn and check back for more tips and tricks from the team at Evolve Contract Services.