With the coronavirus outbreak all over the news, many businesses are understandably worried about what lies ahead. Those with even just the symptoms of a cold are now being advised to self-isolate for at least a week. If, as expected, the number of infections continues to rise, companies will need to consider allowing employees to work from home. Some businesses may even decide to close their offices completely until the threat has passed- major tech companies like Google are doing this already.

Rather than waiting until the worst happens, businesses and individuals should start planning ahead in case they are affected. To help make things a little easier, we've put together the following guide on how to make the best of things, and keep your company running smoothly.

Related: Top 10 Best Headsets for Working From Home

First things first...

When it comes to working from home, a lot will depend on the situation. In some cases, there might just be one person in your office who is self-isolating, and everyone else can carry on as normal. However, some offices might need to close completely, meaning everyone will be working from home. Whatever the case, it's best to make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to working from home.

Before the worst should happen, managers should sit down together and create some ground rules for working from home. For instance, will everyone be required to keep the same working hours, or will there be a bit of flexibility? How often will people check in with managers and colleagues? Do all staff have what they need to do their job remotely? Having everything sorted in advance will ensure that you can all make a smooth transition should the worst come to the worst. If not everyone can be at the meeting, then you might want to hold a conference call

Planning Ahead

Set aside a dedicated workspace

Anyone who has ever worked from home will know how easily it is to get distracted. After all, home is meant to be the place where you don't work. Unless you already have a home office set up, you might be tempted to just work on the sofa- perhaps with the TV on. Before long, you're fully engrossed in that programme that you only meant to have on in the background- and your workload suffers as a result.

To combat this, you should consider making a space that's just for work. This could be at a desk, on the dining room table, or just somewhere with the least number of distractions around you. This will also help you to keep your work from eating into your personal time. If you make a clear distinction between where you work and where you relax, you'll be able to leave your workload behind at the end of the day- just like you would normally when leaving the office.

Identify your main tasks each day

If you have to self-isolate, or if your office is closed for a long period of time, then you'll probably find that the days start to roll into each other. While this can naturally drive you mental just in general, it can also really screw with your workload. If you've got the kind of job like me where you have to manage your own workload, then it can be hard to know how to split your tasks up without the constraints of "office time".

Even if you work flat out all day, you might feel like you haven't done enough. That can lead to you overworking, which can actually reduce your overall productivity. On the other hand, you could end up wasting the day doing smaller, more trivial tasks, and putting off the big things that really need done.

To combat this, try and identify the main tasks that you need to accomplish each day. You should still leave some room for routine work or little things that might pop up. But by knowing the most important objective for each day, you can ensure you stay on top of things. Plan Key Tasks

Clothing counts

If you're working from home, it can be tempting to just stay in your pyjamas all day. But to get the most out of your day, you need to be in a working mindset- and part of that is down to what you wear. If you have specific work clothes, then still put them on. You'll then feel more like you're at work, and be better prepared psychologically for the day ahead. Of course, you don't need to dress as if you were going to an important meeting. Work Clothing

Make sure you have everything you need

It's not yet clear just how much of an impact coronavirus will have on day-to-day life in the UK, or how many people will need to self-isolate. However, as with most things in life, it's best to be prepared for the worst. Ensure that you have easy access to all the tools you would normally use as part of your day-to-day job. For most people, that will mean a PC or laptop at the very least, as well as access to a stable WiFi connection.

A headset is another useful piece of kit to have in a situation like this. It means you can easily communicate with your colleagues through your computer, so you can use tools like Skype or Slack to check in and collaborate quickly and simply. You can check out our top picks for home office headsets here. Or, if you still want to make calls from your business number remotely, then the Invoxia Voice Bridge is exactly what you need.

Work when you are most productive

Those lucky enough to have a job where you don't need to be in constant communication with others will have a little flexibility with their working hours. If you're more of a morning person, then take advantage of the that! Use you save by not commuting to start your work day a bit earlier. Should you find you get more done in the afternoon, time your hours so that more of your day falls within that sweet spot.Time Your Productivity

If possible, get out of the house every day

Those in self-isolation will need to stay at home for seven days before you can go back outside. But if you are working from home because your office is closed, this rule won't apply. Instead, you should try to get out of the house at least once a day, so that you don't feel completely cut off from the outside world. Fresh air and natural light can have a big impact on mood and productivity, so you should see it make a big difference during your time away from the office.Get Out The House

Keep an eye on your wellbeing- and others'

If people are deliberately isolating themselves from each other, that's going to have an impact on their wellbeing. Humans are naturally sociable creatures, so being cut off from those we normally see and speak to every day can leave people feeling pretty lonely. There's no shame in admitting this, especially since everyone will be feeling the same way on some level. While it might feel easier to just send an email, sometimes speaking to someone over the phone or via voice chat can really make a difference.

We're here to help

Here at liGo, we help plenty of businesses keep running smoothly every day, with our wide range of communications solutions for businesses. And even if we have to close our offices, our friendly customer service team will still be on hand to help with anything you might need. Get in touch today, and find out what we can do for you!