With the global spread of COVID-19 a vast majority of people are staying home and many businesses are encouraging or requiring their employees to work remotely for an undetermined period of time. Working from home can be challenging for those new to this lifestyle. Whether you are staying home due to the coronavirus or because you are finding yourself in a new telecommuting job, you’ll need to adjust your habits and routine to effectively work remotely.
Stay Productive While Working from Home
Ensuring you are set up to be productive is one of the most important things when working from home. This includes, creating a designated work space with the technology and tools that you need, having guidelines and ways of handling potential disruptions, sticking to your schedule, and being creative with how you socially interact with your coworkers. Here are seven strategies and tips to be a successful remote worker.
1. Establish Guidelines with Your Employer
What does your employer expect from you as you are working from home? Your schedule may be flexible, or you may need to stick to your traditional hours. You may be able to work on public WIFI, or your company may prefer you work on a secure network. Will you need tech tools such as Zoom for video conferencing or Microsoft Teams for group chats? These are all valid things to discuss with your manager as you transition to work from home. Make sure your boss has established ground rules as well as making sure you have the tools you need to succeed (laptop, network access, remote log-in passwords, etc.).
2. Set-Up a Functional Workspace
When working from home, it is often difficult to separate work life from home life. Creating a dedicated office space will help you better balance these two worlds. Think about how your workstation is set-up in your workplace. What tools in your office have helped you succeed? You may have a sit-stand desk that boosts your productivity or an extra monitor for maximum job efficiency. You might need ergonomic accessories, such as a footrest, anti-fatigue mat, or a back support for your chair to be productive. Having the correct internet speed is also something to consider. Move closer to your router or try a direct connection to increase your speed. Whatever you need, equip your office with your key essentials to ensure your home office is set-up for success.
3. Minimize Distractions
At home, you may have kids running around your house, dogs barking at the door, or road construction outside of your window. Whatever the distractions may be, they likely hinder your ability to work effectively. If unwanted noise is your biggest issue, invest in a pair of noise cancelling headphones to block out distracting sound to increase your focus. If you have lots of people in the house, it may not be possible for you to just shut your office doors. However, providing those around you with clear rules will help set boundaries between your work and home life. If you have young children at home without childcare, create a daily routine for them that aligns with your work schedule. Timing your tasks and allowing yourself to be flexible with your schedule when possible will help you maximize your productivity and minimize repeated distractions.
4. Stick to Your Schedule
Two of the top ten reasons people prefer working from home are efficiency and flexibility. However, sometimes flexibility can be too much of a good thing. After establishing guidelines with your employer regarding your hours, create a schedule and stick to it. It is also important to be aware of “workaholic” tendencies. Many employees find it difficult to ignore their work during off times just because it is right there. This can cause those to work more hours, logging in time on nights and weekends. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain a work-life balance.
5. Don’t Forget to Move
When working from home, it can be easy to sit-down and work for eight hours straight without stopping. However, taking breaks is known to increase your productivity, creativity, and mental well-being. When working on creating your perfect daily schedule, don’t forget to include times to get up and move. Set your breaks and take them in their entirety. Get out of the house, exercise, take a walk, eat lunch, or just relax. Taking these times out of your day will help you avoid over-working and enhance your efficiency.
6. Over Communicate
Collaborating with co-workers can be difficult when working remote. Although we can converse via phone, email, chat, or video conferencing, it is not the same meeting face-to-face. Due to this, communication can often be misunderstood or unclear. During times you are working from home, it is important to OVER communicate with your coworkers in order to remain on the same page. Let your team know your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or task, say so. This will help eliminate misunderstandings and keep you and your team on track.
7. Plan Extra Social Interactions
After working a few weeks at home, alone, staring at the same projects for long hours, it can get lonely (especially for extroverts). Offering your employees with ways to socialize is an important part of remote work culture. For example, video conferencing, chat channels, and group activities (after COVID-19 pandemic of course) are all great ways for coworkers to interact and bond. Figuring out how much interaction you need to feel connected and important is key to successfully working from home. Don’t forget to plan extra social with your team to stay connected.
We’re Here for You
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand you may be taking steps to have employees work remotely from their homes or other locations. Rest assured, we are here to help! Our team will now be making home deliveries. CLICK HERE to visit our resource center to get set-up as you work from home.