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Making the most of home working during coronavirus crisis

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These are testing times for us all as we try and adapt quickly to the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on our day-to-day lives.

One isolating consequence of the outbreak has been the enforcement of social distancing measures in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.

At the time of writing, the nation finds itself in a state of ‘lockdown’, with the government telling people to stay at home and to only go outside for one form of exercise a day.

As the three million people working at the coalface of coaching – not to mention the 13 million people each year who benefit from their support – try to confront the physical, social, emotional, psychological and economic side-effects of the crisis, so too the team behind this team – the policy makers and system builders, workforce managers and development managers, deployers and employers, tutors and coach developers – are also busy adapting.

Our sector is one small part of the largest mass exercise in remote working in corporate history.

UK Coaching’s Head of Coaching Nick Levett is an established aficionado at working from home and the delights of virtual meetings!

He has been busy sharing advice on home working with UK Coaching members of staff.

Here are some of his best tips for maximising productivity, so that we can all continue ‘virtually’ business as usual as we work to devise and implement innovative measures for using coaching as a vehicle for mitigating the risk to people’s health and well-being during this time of uncertainty and upheaval.

Top Tech Tips

  1. Don’t take shortcuts! Do not assume that because you are doing something virtually that you can slack off in the planning. It still needs to be done – but may be looked at differently.
  2. Quite often the Development Directorate at UK Coaching would prepare for meetings when travelling to the meeting in the car (in our heads) or on the train. That planning time is no longer there, so you have to factor this in before the meeting when working from home. Take a walk, think about it, plan the detail, then go for it. We can all make the mistake of not planning or thinking enough because of the ease of virtual meetings.
  3. Consider what technology to use beforehand, as what works best for you may not be something the other people in the virtual meeting are comfortable with or used to. Make sure you are up to speed with different platforms: WhatsApp conference calls; Microsoft Teams; Google Hangout; Zoom; WebEx; Facetime; Skype. Practice with the tech prior to the meeting so you know about muting sound or video; understand how to share your screen etc. And make sure it all works!
  4. Manage distractions to ensure you’re engaged. For example, keep your phone on mute, turned upside down or out of the room. It’s very easy to start doing e-mails or messaging if your laptop’s webcam isn’t activated or you are out of the screen. You need to be present in order to listen so give the attention to people that you would like them to give to you.
  5. Linked to that, plan breaks in the meeting as you would do normally and give people time to stretch their legs, get a brew or some fresh air. Define how the meeting will work with an agenda, structure and outcomes, as you would do normally! It is very easy to take this for granted when meeting online.
  6. If you need to send some priming information before the meeting, make sure you give people time to read this.
  7. Try not to eat or drink with your video on. I do this all the time. It’s pretty annoying so something I am not going to do anymore!
  8. Plan the location. We have people try and hold serious conversations or 1-2-1 coaching feedback sessions when they are in a coffee shop (although under current coronavirus restrictions that will not be possible). We appreciate that it isn’t always easy for people to find a quiet space at home, or the broadband connection might be poor, but screaming kids dashing about and people spilling coffee isn’t that easy to contest with either. Headphones can help manage the external noise.
  9. We have been discussing holding bigger group events online, so we are going to have different people playing different roles – someone to host, register and welcome people; someone that leads the learning tasks; someone to manage the chat box etc. Try and mix up the voices and faces they see. If you want to get people to do some different tasks, pair them off and get them to chat away from the call before coming back and sharing their feedback to all. The key is to plan the tech and how this will work beforehand. In the real world, it is easy to say “you three go together and discuss x” but in the virtual world it may need an alternative tech platform for them to do that.

The good news is that, according to Owl Labs 2019 State of Remote Work report, remote workers are a happier bunch than their office-based counterparts, with research suggesting they are 13% more likely to stay at their current job for the next five years than the latter.

“Working from home has its ups and downs,” says Nick (who, by the way, is not the man in the Shutterstock photo above!). “On the one hand there is never a fire alarm test to worry about, but on the other the ‘cakes in the kitchen for my birthday’ never get delivered across the country.”

Further reading:

Top 10 tips for effective video conferencing

Bite-sized videos and some work-at-home exercises for anyone wanting to improve their presentation and communication skills

And for a bit of fun in these testing times, here are 38 Things Only People Who Work From Home Will Understand

Please share your own tips for working from home in the box below

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Comments (1)


UK Coaching have launched the Curious Coaches Club and Monday's opening session (from 2-3pm) is a conversation with experts all about the topic of REMOTE COACHING.

Each week the Curious Coaching Club will be holding a conversation about a particular coaching topic that is important to coaches and one that many would like to learn more about.

In ‘Coaching from Your Home to their Garden’, UK Coaching's Mark Bateman and Andrew Bradshaw will look to share best practice and explore some of the essentials of working from home and discuss how you will be able to support the people you coach during this challenging time.

They will also look to draw on some positive consequences from having to work in a different way and how these may also become staple parts of our coaching craft.

Book on the live free webinar at this link:


Then on Wednesday or Thursday (choose a day that suits you), join Tom & Marianne to engage and take part in a smaller more in-depth community of practice-style conversation around the Monday webinar.

To attend this session, you must have attended the live session or watched it ‘on demand’ via UKCoaching.org. Places are limited so you will have to be quick to secure your place.

You can book on one of the community of practice-style conversations at this link:


Let’s get chatting and learning, and please don’t forget to continue the conversation via ConnectedCoaches and share all that you find useful.

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