While the whole world currently seems to be more concerned with running out of toilet paper, as more and more small and large businesses – and even local and federal governments – prepare to send their employees to work remotely, potentially millions of people will be working from home and trying to conduct business as a not so usual. These work from home tips, that I’ve learned from years as a consultant working primarily from home, should help cushion the blow.
The tech and consulting industries have embraced remote working for a while, and now it’s estimated that almost 29% of Americans could be working from home while the coronavirus pandemic plays out. Some companies like Spotify are giving employees a stipend to help set up their remote environments and buy supplies which is a great example. Whether you’re getting help from your employer or not, I’m sharing some tips that my clients and I use to be effective and productive while working from home without going stir crazy.
Work from Home Tip #1: Create a dedicated workspace
Since some of us may not have a dedicated office or workspace at home, try to create an area that is conducive to independent work without distractions. For some of us, this may be our dining room tables. So the key is to have a comfortable chair that supports your back in an area where you can take phone calls or video conferences in moderate privacy.
Work from Home Tip #2: Use tools that keep you connected to colleagues to bridge the physical separation
As I’ve mentioned in a previous video, I’m a huge fan of Zoom which allows you to conference with multiple people at a time, record video conferences and more. However, FaceTime and Skype and other platforms also give you the same functions that allow you to work and collaborate face-to-face with your colleagues without being in the same space.
Work from Home Tip #3: Stick to your usual routine and schedule breaks
Just like you would go to the gym before heading to the office and take breaks or make time for lunch before, it’s imperative to maintain your other routines and take breaks while working remotely. Keep up with your extracurriculars as much as possible – safely! Wear a mask and take precautions, but go for walks during work hours, and meet up with a friend or colleague for lunch. Try not to panic and resign to locking yourself at home unless you truly are sick.
Work from Home Tip #4: Make precise to do lists & keep to a schedule
Without others to hold you accountable and the tempting distractions like your fridge and Netflix (David Letterman’s newest season of “My Next Guest” keeps calling my name), staying focused while working from home can be a huge challenge. A tool that I use – that I’ve mentioned before – is Asana which helps me keep track of everything I have to get done along with those I work with. However, simple checklists or a day planner work well too. Most important is to stay positive and productive.
Working from home is a great opportunity to learn how to work independently and potentially hone skills to be your own boss and launch your own business someday.
So if you’re about to be working from home, which is something that I do regularly, and now I’ll be balancing it with my sons who will be going to school remotely as well, the main thing to remember is to make the best of the situation, learn new skills and not panic, this new normal will pass so just make it a positive and productive experience.