Setting yourself up to work remotely

In March 2020, as the world was in the grips of a spreading COVID pandemic, we successfully moved almost 90% of our people to work 100% remotely, all within a matter of only a few days. This included people with roles considered as almost impossible to do remotely, such as magazine editors and producers, call centre staff and even radio presenters.

But working from home isn't without its challenges. So we’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to set yourself up to work remotely.

Get set up

To work remotely you need to ensure you have the right technology and equipment. Discuss your requirements with your line-managers and get equipped accordingly.

Tip: If you haven't ever worked from home before, do a test run to ensure you have everything you need and the technology works for you. If you can, create a calm, distraction-free workspace where you can be comfortable and focussed. Where possible, keep your work and personal devices separate. Not only is this important for information security, it’s an essential way to allow you to switch off when it's personal time, and switch on when it’s work time.

Make a plan with your team

The biggest challenge for office-based teams is how to continue to work effectively when no one is in the same room. It is critical to establish new virtual ways of working right from the start, and make sure that everybody is clear and on-board with them. Here are some aspects to consider:

  • Will you allocate work projects and work independently from one another? Or will you need to work together collaboratively in real time? Or perhaps a mixture of both?
  • How will you best stay connected? How will you update each other regularly so you have all the information and input you need?
  • How will you make sure you have the time you need to focus on your work?
  • Do you need to schedule a short daily team meeting at the start or end of each day, to stay up-to-date?
  • Will you all work exactly the same hours? What flexibility does each team member have around working hours (for example if they also need to care for dependents)?
  • What contingency plans do you have in place in the event that somebody is off ill or unable to work?

Tip: Choose and test the tools that best meet your requirements. Remember to be flexible and adjust your ways of working if you need to – you will undoubtedly find improvements to make along the way.

Choose your tools wisely

When working remotely, the quick chats and discussions across desks or in corridors are no longer possible. Instead, people have to resort to email, instant messaging and video conferencing for every interaction. This inevitably increases the volume of emails and messages, and the time spent in calls and video meetings, can become overwhelming and get in the way of doing your job.

Tip: Be mindful of people’s time (and your own), and agree what will be the most productive and efficient way for you and your team to communicate and work remotely together. Setting clear etiquette and agendas for meetings is important. When everybody is working remotely, meetings can quickly get side-tracked by the multitude of updates people have been saving up because of not seeing each other in the office.

  • Video conferencing – being able to see your colleagues is the next best thing to meeting in person and is good for team morale (check out our top tips in the accordeon below). As technology ramps up to meet demand, you may find videoconferencing tools are a little "glitchy". If this is the case, try switching your cameras off.
  • Screen sharing – sharing your computer screen during a video or voice call is a great way to share a presentation or to make sure you are all on the same page when discussing a document or working collaboratively.
  • Live collaboration – our staff uses tools like OneDrive or MS Teams that enable people to work on the same document in real time. Try it out!
  • Instant messaging – this is a good alternative to email, for quick communication and document sharing between two people or a larger group.
  • Calendar – think of this more as your daily planner and your new best working-from-home friend! We use it to schedule quick informal catch-ups, more formal meetings, and block out time to focus on work.
  • Document sharing – create a common space for team documents to be stored, so all your team members or internal stakeholders have access to up-to-date materials.
  • Topic-specific chat rooms – tools such as MS Teams or Slack allow for topic-specific groups or channels to be created. This is a much better alternative to email as a way to manage discussions and updates on a specific topic, as all relevant information is kept in one place.

Set a new routine

For those used to going into work every day, having to work from home can still be a big adjustment. Set yourself a new routine with a start time and an end time, and make sure you stick to it as best you can. Small things like dressing for work can make a big difference to productivity. When working from home, the lines between personal time and work time can start to blur – therefore we recommend to remind yourself to be mindful of your work-life balance.

Tip: Schedule your day to ensure you are realistic about what you expect to achieve. Remember to include breaks for lunch and time throughout the day to take a rest from work. If you are saving time on commuting, think of it as an opportunity to use the freed-up time to focus on your wellbeing, exercise, relax, spend time with your loved ones or do an activity you enjoy.

Be mindful of cyber security and data protection

People working remotely are more vulnerable to cyber-attacks. It's more than recommendable to make sure you are up-to-speed on how to protect your devices and systems. If you are bringing data home, ensure you comply with data protection regulations.


  • Keep filing and documentation in a secure cupboard or drawer, locked if possible, when they are not being used
  • Ensure that family members and visitors cannot see documents or information
  • Set up and use a unique password for the computer
  • Ensure that the computer and other equipment provided by the Company for your use, is used only for work-related purposes and not used by any other member of the family or third party at any time or for any purpose.

Stay connected

Working from home has many benefits but it can at times feel isolating. It is also easy to miss out on the personal connections we have with colleagues. We regularly remind our people to make sure they speak to team members every day and let them know if individuals are starting to feel isolated.

Tip: Ask colleagues how they are, tell them how your day is going, and take the time to have the personal discussions you would normally have if you saw them in the office. You could even plan to have an informal lunch or coffee break over a video call!