Iona on BBC Worklife: coronavirus & remote working

I was on Worklife, the BBC’s flagship business programme, at the beginning of the week as the coronavirus was fast turning into a public health crisis.

I spoke about the possibility of white collar workers being asked to adopt social distancing as the coronavirus intesifies and how the modern workforce will have to adapt to remote working. It is a big adjustment to make if you’re used to noisy, busy offices but the mass adoption of more enlightened and (dare I say?) productive ways of working could could be one of the few long-term upsides to the outbreak.

You can watch our full discussion at the 11 min mark here. Meanwhile, here are some tips to manage the transition to remote working – as a long-term freelancer, I can testify that the following things make a big difference.

1. Yes, I put on proper clothes and but usually even some make-up too!

Just doing this routine makes you feel more confident and sets you up for the day. Sure, I occasionally work in my jim jams but only when it’s late at night or very early.

2. I moved from a laptop to a proper large monitor and keyboard recently.

Being hunched over a laptop is a recipe for back pain. It’s fine on the train or for small periods of time but I strongly believe in trying to emulate a proper office set-up as much as possible. So that means a proper-sized monitor, comfortable chair at the right height and separate mouse.

3. I manage tech distractions as best I can.

I am not immune to digital procrastination but I have taken active measures to reduce it. I turned off all notifications on my phone and I now log out of social media when I need to get ‘deep work’ done.

4. I walk around when taking telephone calls.

It just makes me think more clearly. I also put them on loud speaker if possible.

5. I take a walk every day at least once…

Even if it’s just to the end of the road and back, and I try to exercise more formally a few times a week. Right now, I’m doing yoga at home and still trying to swim whenever I can.

6. I take regular breaks to tidy up and do housework.

It resets my head and keeps my environment controlled. But I try to guard against it as a distraction technique!

7. I try to stay positive and realise how lucky I am to have a home, a job I enjoy and relative comfort/safety.

Nuff said. 🙂

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