Tips for a pleasant, productive, home office environment

Tips for a pleasant, productive, home office environment

Working from home in times of corona. For some, this will go smoothly; for some, it may be an intricate puzzle to get things worked out. Now that many of us are working from home, we would like to share some tips with you to help you get up and running as smoothly as possible.

Tip 1: Keep yourself informed

Read the daily updates on the intranet and WUR.nl. There, you will find the latest news on the measures against the coronavirus and what effect they have on students, employees and partners of WUR. If you have any questions, check our FAQ or send an email to info.corona@wur.nl.

Tip 2: Use technology

Check IT support to find out which technologies and tools are at your disposal. Consider, for example, digital collaboration. Or visit the Smart Working group on the intranet. All essential information is summarised in the intranet message: Make most of the home working possibilities.

An important notice: stay alert for phishing emails. Many criminals take advantage of the unrest and insecurity to attempt to hack into WUR networks.

Tip 3: Create a healthy home office environment

We are unable to offer you the health and safety support we have at WUR in your home.  We ask you to be flexible, and, looking on the bright side: working amidst your laundry and with your cat on your lap makes a nice change.

The executive board has sent out a message providing tips on how to work from home safely and sustainably.

Tip 4: Create a routine and minimise distractions

Set your alarm clock and get up at the same time every day. Get dressed as if you are going to the office. Have repetitive tasks? Do them at a fixed time every day.

If possible, work in a separate room and create an enjoyable (or calm, if that works better for you) atmosphere. Make solid agreements with others that are also home, such as family members, to prevent constant interruptions. Posting a daily schedule on a visible location may help.

Tip 5: Create focus

What do you want to achieve today? Write down your goals, making your minimum daily tasks visible to yourself.

Since no-one can concentrate for a full eight hours, make sure you get sufficient exercise and fresh air. This helps you stay focused. Plan two-hour time-slots in which you can concentrate on your work, followed by a break in which you can get some fresh air on your balcony or in your garden, or do small chores such as feed your cat/dog/hamster, or load the washing machine. Take a walk or cycle during your lunch break if you can.

When working from home, you run the risk of not stopping on time. Make sure you do so that you can start the next day afresh. Don’t forget to keep moving or exercising. Although gyms are now closed, there are abundant options to exercise using apps. Your own sports centre may offer online classes. Many sports instructors are also posting videos online that help children stay in shape.

Tip 6: Stay in touch

Do you miss your daily interaction with colleagues? Set up a regular video call with a colleague or friend. Email or phone each other, make an intranet group for your team or department, use chat groups, Skype for Business, Whatsapp etc. Use the groups on the intranet and take (virtual) coffee breaks with each other. Keeping in touch is essential!

Are you curious about how colleagues outside of your normal working environment are handling working from home? Follow #WURKFROMHOME on Instagram. Resource and the WUR social media team gather pictures and selfies of students and employees working from home. Check out Resource for stories on how students, teachers and researchers experience these exceptional times. Find out how teacher Jessica Duncan keeps her students focussed on her online lecture (spoiler: a banana suit is involved).

Extra support

Do you need some extra help? Or do you feel a colleague might need some assistance? Contact him or her and involve your supervisor. Our company social worker and company doctor are also available to help. Reach out to bedrijfsmaatschappelijkwerk@wur.nl if you need support.

If you have questions, contact your supervisor or HR advisor.