Home Working: How to Maintain a Calm and Efficient Environment
Given the situation we find ourselves in, many companies are now operating remotely in order to protect their employees and curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Most staff find themselves facing new ways of working. But how can you work effectively and efficiently in your own home? Here are some good practices you can follow to maintain positive energy and ensure you have a fulfilling professional life at home during this exceptional period.
Equip yourself well
Firstly, to be able to work efficiently in a home office, you will need the basic equipment of a laptop, or tablet, and a phone. The key requirements are to be contactable, to be able to use your usual daily work software (such as spreadsheets, word processing, messaging, business tools, etc.) and to have access to the corporate network.
You can use a laptop specially configured by your employer or it may be possible to use your own personal equipment, if you are already using that at home.
Maintain professional relationships
Employees need to feel supported more than ever during this difficult and unprecedented crisis. Even though managers are often busy handling the crisis themselves, it is still vital that they maintain contact with their wider teams. It is therefore a good idea to set up a quick call or, ideally, a videoconference – using Skype or Zoom – on a daily basis. The goal is to maintain those professional bonds.
Taking this one step further, perhaps you could participate in a weekly informal team meeting – at the end of the day, for example, in order to devote time to social interaction and to keep the team united and motivated.
Keep to a regular work pattern
To remain effective, you must set a regular work schedule. It is a good idea to define time slots that suit you and to make sure that those timings are communicated to the wider team.
With this in mind, it is also essential to take regular breaks – ideally at fixed times. This helps to refresh your mind and to maintain creativity!
Create a dedicated place of work
It is so important to create a dedicated work space in the home. This space, designated as a work-only zone, enables you to be much more focused and productive.
As well as separating your work space from the rest of your home, it is also vital to clearly define the boundaries between your personal and professional life, when it comes to your time. This is more important than ever when you are in the same location all day.
And, even if we shouldn’t judge people by their appearance it is really not advisable to wear your pyjamas to work! What you wear is actually really important, particularly in the interests of separating your personal and professional life. Of course, you need to feel comfortable, but you also need to wear something you would consider appropriate for making professional video calls.
Be on time and avoid distractions
Attendance and participation in online meetings are essential when you’re working remotely.
Being on time for these meetings is both courteous and demonstrates that you have an organized work schedule.
In order to be punctual and diligent, you need to stay focused. This means avoiding any distractions such as TV, household chores etc. to make sure you can maintain productivity levels and meet your work commitments and deadlines.
Currently, remote working is compulsory rather than optional. But thanks to technology we can turn this situation into a real positive. Perhaps in the future we’ll see more of a permanent shift towards remote working, an approach that is already a popular trend in the US and across Europe. So let’s make it work for us all now.
Solent NHS launches UK's first sexual health self-service
Solent NHS Trust in the south of England has become the first in the UK to launch an integrated sexual health self-service system.
The national health service trust has launched a new Personal Health Record (PHR) that will enable patients to book and amend appointments online. This will allow clinicians to triage patients digitally, saving them time. If patients miss appointments then staff are alerted via simple push notifications.
Once it's fully implemented, Solent will be able to use the system for patients to easily access to repeat contraception, postal testing kits, results and prescriptions. PHR will also be used to anonymously notify partners who could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection.
The PHR has been designed by healthcare IT provider Inform Health. Solent hopes the system will alleviate pressure on clinics that are currently reliant on traditional methods of booking appointments via the telephone. It will also provide holistic visibility of patient data, and allow patients to self-manage their sexual health by registering on a secure website and creating their own patient record.
PHR will further support Solent’s Sexual Health Services through the creation of joined-up, electronic patient records – a key benefit according to Ynez Symonds, Solent’s Sexual Health Services’ Head of Quality and Professions: “Our patients are at the heart of everything we do, so making their lives easier and being able to drill down to see what’s happening with patients in our area, so we can effectively target services, is really important" she said.
"We previously used a system that required patients to input the same demographic information every time they needed to request a testing kit or access condoms online. We know from patient feedback that for some this was a barrier to accessing services.
"Additionally, our previous system didn’t integrate with our Inform EPR (electronic patient record), used in clinics. This meant there was no easy way to see what patients were requesting and when they were returning kits, so it was near enough impossible to obtain a clear picture, assess trends and effectively tailor our future provision."
Symonds adds that the PHR system will also help them to reduce the risks of COVID-19 infection. "Like all NHS providers, we’re focused on resetting our services. We need to continue to adapt to minimise the risks of COVID-19 transmission, so PHR remains a top priority for us. I see it marking a real turning point for how patients access services and take greater control of their sexual health and wellbeing. I also think PHR will play an integral role in helping us to better target health promotion through quality data delivered through system integration.”