Does this apply to you? Many of us at Trowbridge Town Council have been doing so since our offices went into lockdown, so we thought you might be interested in how we’ve been continuing to keep the wheels turning: over the past few weeks we’ve also come up with some tips to make home working life a little more manageable . . . We hope that you might find some of them useful, if your laptop has taken over the dining table . . .

Karl, Facilities Manager, says . . .
Get dressed! For some of us, the idea of working in our pyjamas is quite appealing.  However, most people find they are more motivated and able to get their mind focused on the working day when they put  a simple routine in place. Something as easy as getting dressed, making a cup of coffee and opening their laptop to work makes all the difference to their productivity and motivation . . .

(Now, you may be thinking ‘what’s a Facilities Manager doing now all the buildings are closed? Well, the buildings still need to be managed, even when they aren’t open. He is also responsible for IT and supporting everyone with their remote working. He is also supporting Information Services with call handling, providing advice and support to vulnerable members of the community and ensuring that our phone lines are re-routed to the right people.)

Aby, Customer Service Manager
Since the building closed, Aby has been busier than ever. As well as her usual workload, she has been the reassuring voice at the end of the phone for over 500 residents of Trowbridge who have needed help collecting prescriptions and shopping.  As well as this, Aby has also continued to manage the Information Services Team and ensuring they are supported whilst they work at home. (Did we also mention she has undertaken the task of home schooling as well? We told you she’s been busy . . .)

Aby’s Advice . . .
Communication is key when remote working. Keep in contact with your colleagues. There are so many apps available out there, it’s easy to ‘see’ each other without being near each other. There are also some great apps for group messaging. However, don’t forget to look at your organisation’s GDPR policies before using these!

Aaron, Commercial Development Officer, Active Trowbridge
As well as his usual work load, Aaron has been co-ordinating the teams who have been collecting and delivering prescriptions and food to the community (a full time job we can assure you!).  Aaron has also been working with other members of the team to ensure Active Trowbridge is still providing assistance and help where needed.

Aaron’s Top Tip
Take a break often: believe it or not, you’ll maintain your productivity levels for longer. Make sure you don’t get stuck on ‘quicksand’ chores during your break, though. Make a cup of tea, walk around the garden or have a quick flick through a magazine.

Paul, Civic Centre Manager
Paul has had his hands full since the building closed. He has been issuing refunds for all cancelled events as well as compiling a new and exciting programme for when the building reopens and all restrictions on socialising are lifted. As well as this, Paul and the Civic Team have been supporting the NHS by servicing their Blood Donors, enabling them to continue this much needed service, even more important at the moment.

Paul says . . .
The key to any successful working day, whether at home or in the office, is diary management. There are lots of great apps out there that can assist you with having a productive day but a simple ‘to-do’ list is often just as effective!  Let’s not underestimate the great satisfaction that comes from seeing a tick by a task!

Juliet, Head of Resources
Juliet has been just as busy at home as she has in the office. Not only has she continued with her usual busy workload, she has also been supporting her team at the end of the financial year (it didn’t stop just because the rest of the world slowed down!), reassuring all staff and keeping us updated during this uncertain time as well as introducing new ways of working from home.

Here’s a tip from Juliet
Consider when to use your allocated exercise. In the morning it can energise you. Halfway through the day it can re-focus your mind. At the end of the day it can help you unwind. Find out which works for you and build it into your schedule.

Mike, Customer Service Adviser
Working from home for me means continuing to update the Town Council’s website, so we can keep you in touch with what we’re doing as your town council during lockdown, along with features on staying safe. I’m also continually looking for material and features for our e-newsletters (are you on the mailing list?), and will shortly be starting work on the June edition. You’ll very often find me on the end of the ‘phone as well – I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. The coffee’s not bad, either . . .

Mike’s Top Tip
Make sure that you have a designated space to work. This will help you be productive during working hours and will make a great difference to keeping your home & work life separate from each other.

The Team at Trowbridge Museum
What have the Museum Team been up to at home? As you may know, Trowbridge Museum is still being refurbished. The team have been working hard with the contractors to ensure that the work continues! They have been busy creating online content to share with people at home, and continuing with their usual workloads.

The Team’s tip . . .
Create a schedule and stick to it. Since you don’t need to commute, you can end up clocking more hours than you think. Being strict with your working hours will save your sanity!