Maintain your well-being when working from home

Working remotely brings new challenges to occupational well-being, time management, ergonomics and can affect the sense of community among employees. This tip offers ideas and tools for supporting remote working.

Stick to a regular work schedule and plan your tasks:

  • Breaks: Besides keeping track of appointments and meetings, you can utilise your electronic calendar to schedule breaks to your workday. If you are so busy that you keep forgetting to take breaks or eat lunch, mark them in your calendar so you will automatically receive a reminder and to alert people that you are unavailable during these times. Instructions for managing calendar reminders
  • Uninterrupted work time: It is important to draw a clear boundary between work and personal life and set aside uninterrupted work time in your work schedule. Use the status settings in Teams to show others when you are busy or unavailable. The coloured dot in your Teams profile shows whether you are available or not. By changing your status, you can also mute the notifications sent by Teams. Instructions for changing your status in Teams
  • To-do lists:  When you use digital tools to manage your work time, it helps you gain an overview of your workload. You can use OneNote, which is part of the O365 suite, to manage your weekly pans and to-do lists. Add your OneNote to your bookmarks, so you can easily find it. Use the different icons to group your tasks into categories. Read this tip for using OneNote.
  • Calendar features: Have you noticed that Outlook includes a Tasks section in addition to email and a calendar? You can use your Tasks folder to keep track of things that you need to do but it works best alongside your email and calendar, as described in this tip. Read more about Tasks.
  • Manage your email: You can not only move emails to different folders and flag them but also assign them to different colour categories. Read more.
  • Professional development: Could you fit in a weekly Onine Wistec session in your calendar? Wistec Online is an e-learning portal that offers learning materials and brief video tutorials. Could you set aside a regular time in your calendar for learning? Read more about Wistec Online on the intranet. Or maybe you could pick one tip a week from the Digital Toolkit to learn more about the digital tools and services?

Pay attention to ergonomics and the number of steps you take a day:   

  • Midday workout: Working remotely can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle. How about starting your day with a walk instead of commuting? Maybe you could take a walk around the block at the end of your workday to signify the switch to leisure?  What exercise equipment do you have around the house? Could you attend a webinar while sitting and stretching on an exercise ball? You could also squeeze in a short workout in between meetings. Tampere University offers the BREAK PRO workout app for staff and students.
  • Walking meetings: Could you agree with your team to occasionally hold walking meetings? The participants of a walking meeting know in advance that they can attend the meeting via a mobile device and will not have to share their screen or take notes during the meeting. For example, brainstorming sessions and virtual coffee breaks can be arranged in this format.

Peer support and building a sense of community

  • Discussions: Use the chat in Teams to maintain contact with your colleagues.  Besides collaborative workspaces, Teams includes a chat feature that facilitates collaboration with one or more persons. When you start a new chat with a person or group, you can not only send messages but also share files, make video calls and use many of the O365 tools. Your chat history is stored in the Chat section in Teams, so you can pick up where you left off. Read this tip to learn more.
  • Meeting procedures: Do you often find yourself attending a string of meetings back to back? Rethinking meeting procedures is worthwhile, so at least ensure the meetings you organise are well prepared, have a clear goal, are attended by the right people and do not overrun the allocated time. Read this tip to learn more.
  • Workday pick-me-ups When we work from home, we cannot meet our peers over a cup of coffee in person, but virtual coffee breaks can bring your colleagues or fellow students into your home. You can schedule a virtual coffee break to recur, for example, at the same time every day or once a week. This way the link to the virtual meeting room will stay the same. Once the meeting has been launched, you can see it in the Chat section. Any messages sent during the virtual coffee break will be stored in the chat window. You will also see the people currently present in the virtual meeting room in the Chat section. You can also use the chat outside meeting times to share tips, training news or funny stories with your colleagues.
  • Team progress:  You can add the O365 Planner tab to your team channel. Planner offers a visual way to organise teamwork, manage tasks and projects and keep track of progress. Read this tip to learn more.
  • Share good practices: Employees often share helpful tips and insights with colleagues when they happen to bump into each other in the workplace. We can keep sharing these tips while working remotely. Tips can be shared via Teams and other discussion forums, but also through Flinga. Share your top tips anonymously and like the tips offered by others. Instructions for creating a Flinga Wall for tips. You can also send your tips to the Digital Toolkit.
  • Fostering a sense of community among students: Staff members can help build a sense of community among students, for example, by setting aside some time for informal discussion during virtual classes. You can instruct your students to join a virtual meeting 15 minutes before the class to have a chat or encourage them to continue talking after the teacher leaves the virtual class. How about scheduling a virtual lunch break for your group of students? You can also use breakout rooms, because students may find it easier to talk in small groups. Students have access to the chat feature in Teams, so they can also collaborate and converse without the teacher setting up a dedicated space for this purpose.
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