March 26, 2020
How to successfully work from home during the Coronavirus restrictions.
If you're working from home for the first time due to restrictions imposed by the novel Coronavirus, you're probably going through a major period of adjustment. Here are some tips to help you make this transition smoothly:
1. Take a shower and do your hair. Keep a Routine
The most important thing to do when working from home is to maintain your routine. If you usually get up at a certain time as part of your commute, keep waking up at that time. Have breakfast. Take a shower. Get dressed as if you were going into the office — or at least change out of pajamas. All of these routines will help make the transition smoother and keep you focused.
2. Get off the couch and get in the "office." Define Your Workspace
While it may be tempting to settle in on the couch for the day, it's better to work in a dedicated room with a door you can close if possible. Having a properly defined workspace helps psychologically build a routine and separate work from your home. When you go into your workspace, it's time to work. When you leave, it's time to be present at home.
3. Optimize your internet connection
Working from home and working successfully relies heavily on a fast and reliable internet service. While upgrading your speeds could help, there are plenty of things you can do at home to make sure you're getting the most out of your internet. Check out our Homeowner's Guide to Improving Wifi for some simple ways to speed up your connection without spending extra money or fiddling with technology.
4. Lights, camera action. Use Video Chat
For many, the most jarring aspect of working from home is failing to see other people every day. Fortunately, most chat services offer video conferencing. It may feel awkward to speak to others through a video screen, and nobody likes seeing themselves on screen, but it can help keep up morale within your team and create a degree of accountability for everyone.
5. Shhhhhh. Hit the Mute Button
From barking dogs to noisy kids, our homes are full of distractions. Whether you're video chatting or using a regular conference call, it's important to observe proper etiquette, so that your meeting is productive. That means using the mute button when you're not speaking to block out ambient noise and keep your meeting on track.
6. Routine = Focus
Working from home comes with a host of distractions, especially for the many people who are now also taking care of their children. Once you have a defined workspace and a defined schedule, it's easier to focus on what needs to get it done. This also means asking your family members to respect your routine and making sure the kids are occupied when you need quiet time. On the plus side, your short post-work commute from home office to living room should allow for more time with the family in the evening.
7. Speak up regularly. Don't Disappear
When you're in the office, you can't really hide. Working remotely provides a bit of a buffer that some more introverted people could use to disengage. To the best of your ability, resist the urge to disappear. Make a point to get engaged in meetings or on phone calls, so that you're not forgotten. Eventually, you will have to go back into the office and when you do, you will fare better if people remember you.
8. Movement = Sanity
Make sure that you are up and moving for at least part of your day. Even the most sedentary office worker has to get up occasionally to use the restroom, go to the printer or ask someone a question. If you don't get up and move at home, you may get stiff and uncomfortable and find you're less productive. Consider using a standing desk if you're able to, or try to improvise one to test it out.
Working remotely all the time is a big change for everyone, so that's why perhaps the most important tip is to be patient — with yourself and others. Practice patience, kindness and empathy above all else. We're all in this together.