Five Tips for Working From Home
As uncertainty over the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, grows, many companies are practicing social distancing and sending their employees home to work. If this is your first time working from home, you probably rolled out of bed the first day in your pajamas filled with visions of breezing through your weekday.
Of course, it wasn’t that easy. There were distractions that got in the way of productivity. You felt like you weren’t following your normal routine. There are ways to make working from home just as productive as working from the office. Here are a few tips for working from home more efficiently.
Create a Practical Schedule
With most states asking people to shelter in place, you’re probably working from home with your kids and your partner. You can’t just start work in the morning and work straight through until the end of your typical workday. You have other commitments, such as fixing lunch for your kids, helping them get online for school, and providing care as needed.
When you work from home, you’re responsible for your time. Of course, you still owe time to your employer but you have more flexibility. It’s up to you to create a schedule that includes work as well as time to refresh mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Once you have a schedule that you believe works for you, it’s a good idea to publish it in a calendar format that you can share with your coworkers, so that they understand your availabilities. Print out a copy of your schedule for your family and post it somewhere that everyone can see it. You may need to have a talk with your family about the importance of your work time.
Create a Dedicated Workspace
When you’re working from home it’s easy to stretch out on the couch and work for a while, and then move into the dining room and work from the kitchen table. However, this isn’t the most conducive way to get work done. You need a dedicated workspace so you know when you sit there you’re going to be working. Also, your family will know that when you’re in the space that you’re working.
You can use almost any space in your home as your designated work area. It can be a desk in your bedroom or a section of your formal dining room table. It needs to be a place where you can leave your files and supplies without worrying about kids or pets getting into it. Once you enter your workspace, you can switch into work mode.
Stay Motivated With To-Do Lists
While you can get distracted at the office, it’s even easier to get off topic at home, where there are dishes in the sink and laundry waiting to go in. You can stay motivated and on task with a to-do list.
Your to-do list should include both long and short-term goals. If you have a large project coming up, you definitely need to add it to the list, and then break it up into smaller pieces, so that you can see you’re making progress on the project. You want it in a format that you can check off items. Try not to combine personal and work items into one list.
It’s beneficial to write down the list, keep it in a document or spreadsheet, or on an app. You want something you can pull out and look at. If you try to keep up with your list in your mind, there’s a real chance that things get missed. A to-do list provides motivation and helps you stay on task while working from home.
Determine Ways to Interact With Colleagues
While you can spend a lot of your day and on a lot of projects by yourself, there are times when you need to collaborate with colleagues. It’s a good idea to already have ways of “meeting” with your team from home. It might start out with something as simple as using email or messenger.
You might also consider apps in the cloud that allows you to share files with others. These can be read-only files or allow others to make changes to the files. Google Hangouts or Slack are options when you just need to chat for a few minutes.
However, you may need to meet with more than one person or need to see their reaction in real-time. You should have a system in place for video conferencing before you move from the office to working at home. It’s also a good idea to go ahead and plan a schedule of conference calls for brainstorming or presentations of completed work.
Create a Water Cooler
One of the things that everyone gets from working outside of the home is socialization. There are times when you’re in the breakroom or sitting at someone else’s desk talking about things other than work. This is an essential part of your workday. Once you make the move from working in the office to working from home, you may begin to feel a sense of loneliness and isolation.
If the rest of the staff is also working from home, they’re probably feeling the same way. It’s beneficial for everyone to create a virtual water cooler. A way to chat with each other when it has nothing to do with work. You can schedule this time too so you don’t find yourself drifting from work talk to personal talk on each phone call or video conference.
The first few times you and your team members use the virtual water cooler it may seem awkward but it’ll pass. You can even make a list of topics to discuss before the first chat, so the conversation doesn’t lull.
At BWS Technologies, we understand the difficulties you face when moving from working in the office to working from home. While you’re working from home, we can continue to help you with new computers or updates to your current system. Cybersecurity is also essential when you’re working from home. Call us today to learn more about the services we offer.