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Supporting home working during COVID-19

Emma Dodd
Shift to Online

Many colleagues in our community have found themselves in a situation where they now need to work from home. This can take some adjustment from thinking about where you can work, where you can take a break, and how can I cope with not seeing colleagues face to face?

Many of us at Talis already worked remotely from home as part of our normal routine, but for some this has been a change. Internally, we shared some of our tips as the team was adjusting to the new situation, and we felt it may be useful to share with you also.

Tips from those used to remote working

  • Try to have a routine, for example, having a coffee around the same time as you plan your day and review emails to start the day 
  • Make sure you take a lunch break around a similar time if possible and get some fresh air
  • Don’t feel guilty about taking a break from your desk and getting out for fresh air, perhaps in your garden. This can still count towards your productivity as you can use it for thinking time
  • Not every day goes to plan, so noting down what you actually do means when you reflect at the end of the day, you will feel you have achieved things
  • When you tick off or finish a big task or long call give yourself ‘rewards’, sometimes mine is the washing up break!
  • See if working to music helps you
  • Use this time to catch up with webinars and CPD tasks you wanted to make time for, make sure you grab yourself a cuppa first. 
  • Try and find a space. If working from home isn’t part of your routine it’s unlikely you have a dedicated office. However, working from the sofa, (or even your bed, as tempting as it is) is probably not the most productive space. Try and find a spot in your home where you can set up and work from every day, and then ‘leave behind’ when you log off


One of our colleagues, Automation Lead Nadeem Shabir is new to working at home, we asked him how this change has been: 

“As someone who isn’t used to working from home the last few weeks haven’t been easy. The tips and advice that my colleagues have been sharing have been hugely helpful, in particular:

  • Taking regular breaks, particularly after completing tasks and before moving onto the next one
  • Joining a team group chat, having the whole team on a video call all day makes it feel like we’re all together” 


Video calls 

We are all used to talking on the phone to each other and attending webinars but the world of video calls can be daunting, sitting talking to your computer may seem strange but there are lots of things you can do to make this process easier.

  • Give yourself time –  log on 10/15 minutes before a scheduled meeting to ensure you have access to the video software being used. This will give you a chance to check audio levels and amend your settings. Each software is different so it’s worth checking it out before the call.
  • Turn on the video – seeing the video can add a lot to a call. The key reason is that you get to see the faces of the people you’re talking to and you can recreate some of the face-to-face interaction you might be used to. It does feel strange at first but you do get so much more from doing this.
  • Mute – when you’re not talking. Background noise can pop up from all sorts of places, especially if you are also multi-tasking having children (or dogs!) at home.  So a good tip is to keep your microphone muted but remember to unmute when you do want to speak, otherwise, you will be talking to yourself!
  • Use the chat feature – Most video-conferencing tools have a chat feature that you can use during the call, however, this can be tricky if you are not working dual screen but this is a great way to interact with the team on a topic being presented without interrupting the presenter. There are add-on tools such as ‘Nod‘ which allow you to ‘raise your hand’ to speak, or just share a thumbs up.

This document from Martin Fowler helped support our tips on video calls. 


A handful of the Talis team in their home working environments


What are your tips?

We would love to hear from you what your tips and experience has been of homeworking and making the adjustment. Please do share in the comments below or tweet us at @talis.

We’re uploading a series on useful information during this time, you can check it out here.

We hope this helps, and we’d like to reassure you Talis continues to provide our service as normal during this unprecedented time. Talis are continuing to plan our community and product update webinars which we will advertise and keep up to date on our events page. As always, these will be recorded and shared if you are unable to attend them live for you to refer back to. 


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