The ultimate A-Z of home working

Sarah Harvey gives us a full A-Z of getting the best out of home working.

Whether you’re working from home for the first time or you’re a seasoned homeworker, the chances are that the current COVID-19 pandemic has made you review how you work from home as effectively as possible.

Every business that’s been able to continue operating by getting their workforces to adopt home working practices is doing so.

But even before the current lockdown measures, many of us had started to demand more flexible working arrangements. We want to achieve a greater work-life balance with less commuting during rush hour and more quality time with family and friends.

We no longer expect a job for life and staff are more willing to switch jobs to find organisations that match their personal values. Organisations that don’t offer home working may be missing out on a large pool of talent, many of whom now value home working more than they value a bonus.

Will organisations see this as an opportunity to further modernise and diversify their business? 

This global pandemic has really forced businesses to embrace change at unprecedented speed in order to survive. In the majority of cases, it seems that home working has been a great success. It has presented challenges of course, especially to those businesses previously convinced they couldn’t embrace home working, as they believed they needed staff to be office-based in order to be productive.

It’s still too early to say how long lasting the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns will be. Will businesses continue to operate with more of staff working from home in future? Will organisations see this as an opportunity to further modernise and diversify their business?

And will home working now become the norm for many people across the world? Whatever the answers to these questions, it seems certain that home working in some form or another is here to stay for many.

The technological and organisational pace of change we’ve seen and will continue to see was already unprecedented and this has now been supercharged by the different ways of working that have been necessary to cope with current challenges.

Home working is easy for some and yet extremely challenging for others. It can work really well for both businesses and individuals and can bring about some positive changes. But it does require some focused effort to set things up in the best way for your business and your people, and it needs focused effort to sustain productive and positive home working in the longer term.

When done well, it can bring individuals and organisations far greater levels of flexibility by opening up opportunities for people to access work, stay in work and balance work and caring responsibilities. The often elusive work-life balance can certainly be better achieved without a daily commute.

In her new book, ‘The Ultimate A-Z of Home Working’, Sarah Harvey identifies the key areas to consider in order to make home working work well for you. Which of these most resonate with you?


A = Adapt
Adapt your usual working style, how you communicate, how you get your best work done from home.

B = Breaks
How to break up your day to avoid burnout.

C = Conversational culture
Making sure you have the right conversation, in the right way, at the right time with others in the organisation, customers or suppliers.

D = Daily structure
Implementing a structure that works for you.

E = Energy
Tapping into the relational energy we get from being with others, whilst being at a distance.

F = Flexible working
Remembering that homeworking and flexible working are not necessarily the same thing.

G = Get support
Remote working doesn’t have to feel remote. Get the support you need to do your job well.

H = Human connection
Allowing for a deeper level of connection and engagement.

I = Imposter syndrome
Recognising that homeworkers are at increased risk and what we can do about this.

J = Jump up!
Sitting is bad for us – how to make sure you move more when home working.

K = Keeping in touch
How and why regular check-ins support our emotional wellbeing.

L = Listen
Perhaps surprisingly, listening is one of the most important skills for home workers to develop.

M = Managing homeworkers
The challenges, how to set expectations and avoid micro managing.

N = Netflix … and other distractions
Overcoming procrastination and avoiding distractions at home.

O = Organise
Time management, the Pareto principle, why you should Eat that Frog!

P = Parents and carers
Managing home and work-life when others are at home too. 

Q = Quality over quantity
Focusing on outputs and outcomes rather than the number of hours worked.

R = Relationships
Building trust with co-workers, consciously and deliberately.

S = Self-care
Physically and mentally looking after your wellbeing so that you thrive at home working.

T = Technology
The technology that will keep you safe and efficient online.

U = Unite your team 
Creating a team with empathy for one another when you’re not actually co-located.

V = Virtual meetings
Phone and video call essentials and etiquette.

W = What to wear
Pyjamas or suited and booted – you decide!

X = X marks the spot
Your home office space essentials.

Y = Your own way
Listen to the experts and experienced homeworkers then do it your way.

Z = Zzzzz’s
The importance of sleep, rest and relaxation.


About the author

Sarah Harvey is the author of The Ultimate A-Z of Home Working, available now as an e-book from


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