If working from home is the new normal, let’s make sure it's done right. Clare Corkish, Human Resources Director at Vodafone UK, shares some top tips on how we can work from home safely and effectively during lockdown.


The health crisis and consequent lockdown, like it has for all, has changed the way we operate as a business and how many of us do our jobs. Working from home has become the new normal. In March, Vodafone UK went from a predominately office-based workforce to one that was almost entirely working from home – practically overnight. We’ve all had to navigate many adjustments to our working and home lives as a result.Technology and connectivity have helped, of course, but there have been many challenges, mental and physical. So I wanted to share what we’ve learned at Vodafone with the world outside. 

Here are our top tips.

Set Boundaries

Working from home can blur the boundaries between our professional and personal lives – we can find ourselves working longer hours, answering emails late at night, and not giving enough time to our families, friends – or ourselves. 

So it’s important to set ‘office’ hours – and stick to them, and build in regular breaks, including for lunch, and time for exercise.

Literally closing and packing away your work laptop and phone at the end of the day can be surprisingly effective, especially if your home isn’t large enough to accommodate a dedicated home office that you can close the door on.

Apply Structure 

Structure your working day and develop a routine – setting aside blocks of time for meetings, say, and for replying to non-urgent emails. This leaves you free to tackle the rest of your day with as few interruptions as possible. It’s also more likely to give you the time and energy to think creatively.

At Vodafone we’ve been providing our colleagues with various kit – adjustable chairs, laptop stands and so on – so that they can work from home in ergonomic safety. But you don’t always need fancy new equipment. Avoid back and eye strain by working on a flat, stable surface.

Work Safely 

Make sure the top of your laptop’s screen is directly in your line of sight when you are sitting upright looking straight ahead. If it isn’t, use a laptop stand or a stack of books to raise it up.
Avoid repetitive strain injury from typing and clicking by using an external keyboard and mouse if you can.

Take regular breaks! Stretching and standing can help prevent muscle pains. Breaks can be beneficial for physical and mental wellbeing. Going outside at lunchtime, for example, can help you clear your mind, de-stress and refocus your concentration.

Managing Meetings 

At Vodafone, we’ve listened to what our colleagues have told us and issued new guidelines about virtual meetings. In short, there are too many of them and they go on too long! 

So we’re recommending reducing their frequency and length – shortening one-hour meetings to 45 minutes, for example, and half-hour meetings to 20 minutes. And if you think there’s little benefit to you being on a particular call, politely decline it. 

This discipline on meeting effectiveness prevents endless screen time and ensures interactions count as time well spent.

Maintaining Team Spirit 

Maintaining team spirit and morale is harder when team members are geographically dispersed and unable to meet in person. Physically distant yet socially connected is a helpful mantra. Make the most of instant messaging (IM), email, video chat and phone calls to help maintain team effectiveness and cohesion.

And if you haven’t heard from a colleague for a while, get in touch. Working from home can be a lonely and isolating experience for some.

An open video chat room can replicate that water cooler experience, providing people with somewhere they can dip in and out of. Where possible, line managers should have set ‘open door’ hours when anyone can privately IM, call or video chat them to discuss any concerns.
Find out which method of communication your team members prefer to use.

Video-calling Tips 


Ideally, your light source should be in front of your face rather than behind you, otherwise you might just appear silhouette to everyone else on the call. Dress for your audience. T-shirts and tracksuit bottoms may be acceptable for your team-mates, but you may want to dress to impress when pitching for new business or briefing your boss.

Before sharing the contents of your screen with your video chat audience, ensure there’s nothing visible that could be commercially sensitive or personally embarrassing. Mute notifications and/or switch on your computer’s ‘do not disturb’ mode to avoid interruptions from emails, IMs and requests for other video calls.

If possible, have a neutral background behind you to avoid distracting your audience.
And when you’re not speaking, mute yourself. No-one wants to hear your coughs, sniffles and heavy breathing during a conversation!

Take a look at the roles we have available right now here at Vodafone by clicking the button below!


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Life at Vodafone

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Technical specialist Katie Pontin is now a six-year Vodafone veteran. “I’ve always had a passion for technology, but I didn’t have a clear idea of which career path to follow,” she says.“So I joined the technology graduate programme at Vodafone. They’re always at the forefront of innovation and technology. But from the outside, you’re not aware of all the individual roles available.”After spending time in retail, corporate security and operations, Katie soon found her calling in the networks team.“Working with new technologies, getting my hands on those at the forefront of innovation, and meeting customers’ demands, takes problem solving and creativity. It’s enjoyable to work through all that and reach the end goal,” she says.  Getting hands-on experience, even if you do something wrong, that’s the best way to learn. No question is a stupid question. I’ve been really lucky to have that support to try new things and not have a fear of failure  On International Women in Engineering Day, Katie’s advice to young girls and women considering a tech career is simple: “Don’t be afraid to get involved! The roles within engineering and technology are broad, so explore the options and don’t feel like you’re expected to know everything from day one.” Read more about Katie's story and pursue a career in technology today: Read More   Apply for Tech Roles

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For Women in Engineering day, Katie Pontin looks back at her career and offers her advice to women aspiring for a career in tech.

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Why did you decide to join Vodafone?“I knew about Vodafone from the media, friends and family and after some research, realised Vodafone apprenticeships offer great support to newcomers like me.  I have already learnt a huge amount and it is obvious that there are lots of future opportunities. Vodafone has admirably made a statement to give attention to females in the workplace by setting a goal of supporting female talent.  The target is to be recognised as the world’s best employer for women and this is one of the reasons why I decided to join Vodafone.” What do you do day to day? “The UK is divided into regions of which I cover the South-South Central area.  This takes me to places such as Reading, Slough, Bracknell, Guildford and Oxford.  Depending on the requirement, I collect new communication equipment from a local storage area before attending customer premises, cell sites and datacentres. There is a Service Level Agreement in place which determines the time I must complete the task.  For example, a common task I perform is to install patching (fibre cabling) into racks in the Vodafone Bracknell datacentre.I have also been assisting on a recent project by installing kit called Nokia 7250. For the Redstream Evolution project which is Vodafone’s next generation Ethernet-based aggregation network to support mobile, broadband and enterprise customer traffic from our footprint in BT exchanges. The Field Services team are delivering a large part of it!" The Field Services team I am in gives me access to a great support team and a huge area of technical knowledge which I can tap into.  What support have you received throughout your apprenticeship?“When visiting a site, I attend with another engineer who acts as my mentor.  They have also been through the apprenticeship scheme so has an understanding of what difficulties I may face.  I can call on them for technical advice and they are keen to assist where possible. We have weekly team meetings in place that we all attend to get to know the other team members, share our knowledge, as well as listen to any updates that may affect us. My manager is also one of the people who heavily supports me with regular catch ups if I have any concerns and also to see how I am progressing/developing throughout my apprenticeship.” Inspired by Jasmine’s experience? Head over to our Apprenticeship page to learn more about our opportunities and to register your interest today. Register your interest   

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We caught up with Jasmine to learn more about the Technology apprenticeship that she is currently doing with Vodafone and the support she has received to shape her career.

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“Hi, I’m Niru & I joined Vodafone Group as a Software Engineering Technology Graduate. I decided Vodafone would be the best place for me as the people I met during my interviewing process were genuine, supportive and kind. There is also the Vodafone Foundation which eased my decision in joining Vodafone as I knew I’d be working with a company that actively helps around the world. I wanted to do a graduate scheme as my academic background was technical, and I wanted to understand where I could use and develop technical and soft skills, while understanding the business aspects of a corporate company.   I have had a great experience since joining the graduate scheme! I’ve rotated 3 times, exploring different parts of the Vodafone Technology function. I worked on projects that involved working with a robot, learnt how to map APIs and experimented with new machine learning techniques. My highlight of the graduate scheme was running my own data science workshops both in person and virtually. The pandemic didn’t put too much strain on my learning or development with Vodafone, as they are digitally advanced in keeping productivity levels the same as working in the office and they took extra measures to make sure the graduates were not missing out on the graduate experience. I have now offboarded into a data scientist role within Group Business and I couldn't have done this without the amazing support from our HR teams, all the managers that mentored me, and all the colleagues I met that gave me advice on facilitating my career within Vodafone. I would highly recommend the graduate Tech scheme to anyone that’s willing to learn and grow in a healthy work environment and experiment with new ideas.”  If you are interested in starting out a career in technology, head over to our Early Careers page to learn more about our graduate programme and register your interest today. Register your Interest  

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As part of Women in Engineering day, we heard from Niru about her experience within Software engineering, as well as her time on our Technology graduate programme.

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"My vision revolves around two things. One, offering the very best products and services to our customers. Two, building a future that is sustainable, inclusive and fair. They are inherently interlinked, and I think Vodafone is uniquely placed to make them a reality." Closing the digital divide "I also want us to use our technology to help build a digital future that’s better for everyone."  Digital inclusion – connecting the disconnected – is a core part of our purpose as a company. "Technology can enhance our lives in so many ways – just think how much we do online these days, particularly as a result of the pandemic lockdowns. But many people don’t have access to it. And even if they do, many don’t know how to make the most of it. We want to change that, because digital inclusion – connecting the disconnected – is a core part of our purpose as a company." Protecting our planet"We’ve already done a lot to reduce our carbon footprint using science-based targets.""But now we’re going further, faster. We’re pledging to eliminate all carbon emissions from our own activities by 2027 and those of our suppliers by 2030." "We’re building a digital future that’s sustainable, inclusive, and fair for all the communities we serve."#TogetherWeCan Join us on our mission to protect the planet and close the digital divide - Search for jobs today. Read More   Search for Jobs

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