Top 10 Tips for Working From Home
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has changed how we live and work. More people than ever before are working remotely, and many of those jobs will stay remote even after the pandemic is under control. Businesses are able to save on rent and utility costs by allowing employees to work from home, coffee shops and libraries, and they are finding that employees can be just as productive in doing so. Let’s take a look at some of the top tips for workers who find themselves working from home, commonly referred to as WFH, so that they remain as productive as possible.
Designate a Work from Home Workspace
When you begin working remotely, set up an area of your house that you can dedicate to getting your work done every day. Ideally, this is a separate room where you can have peace and quiet (more on that later). You should have a desk with enough space to spread out your computer and work materials, and the background should be appropriate and appealing for what others see behind you on video calls. Make sure you have an ergonomic chair, a solid internet connection, good lighting, and anything else you need to set you up for success.
Have a Morning Routine
Once you begin remote working, you will quickly find out that a set morning routine can help you in getting focused each and every day to be productive. Your morning routine should include the basics—showering, eating a good breakfast, and brushing your teeth. And although it may be tempting to work from home in your pajamas, it’s important to change into something a bit more professional. This helps you change your mindset into a productive one as well as makes you presentable for video calls. Have your coffee and tea ready to go and be at your desk by a certain time each morning.
Set a Daily To-do List
Spend five minutes every morning creating a list of what you would like to accomplish that day. Schedule you morning and afternoon around getting those tasks done. This will give you a better sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. If you are really organized, you can block out your day by hour and activity to stay focused.
Avoiding distractions can be difficult when working from home—especially if you live with family members, friends or roommates who are around during the day. As mentioned earlier, try to designate a separate room as your workspace if possible, and let others in your home know that you are working between a set period of hours each day. Just because you are home doesn’t mean that you have time to hang out. It’s also important to remove online distractions such as social media, checking personal email, and reading the news. These are fine to do, but a quick break can quickly turn into wasted time.
Taking breaks periodically is crucial to a productive day. If you work constantly throughout the day, you will become fatigued and lose focus. Take breaks throughout the day to get lunch, take a walk, hit the gym, or play with your kids for a bit. Doing this breaks up the day and allows you to return to your work with a stronger focus.
With the internet, it is easier than ever before to work remotely. There are a ton of tools for video calling, working on documents collaboratively, and monitoring progress of team members. Take advantage of video calling services like Zoom and Skype, messenger apps like Slack, collaborative services like Google Docs, and good old-fashioned email. Technology tools can make your life much easier and ensure accountability among team members.
Stay in Touch
Work from home doesn’t mean that you can just work alone. It’s important to stay in communication with others. This can include updating your boss on a daily basis so he or she knows what you are accomplishing or checking on employees you manage to ensure project milestones are being met. Even if you can get away with not talking to anyone else throughout the day and still getting your work done, you should make it a point to connect with others, whether it is co-workers, clients, or just friends. Doing so will help you break up the day and maintain a sense of normalcy.
Be Smart About Communication
Working remotely means adjusting exactly how we communicate with others. While in an office it is easy to walk to someone’s office and have a face-to-face conversation, working from home makes it a bit trickier. If a colleague does not have time for a video call discussion, you might have to communicate via email, text or a messenger platform. This can be trickier, as these methods leave more room for misinterpreting a message when the person on the other end can’t pick up on tone of voice, body language, etc. Read through that fiery-worded email a few more times before deciding to hit send.
Being a remote worker doesn’t mean being accountable for the work you do. Set a schedule every day and make sure you are accomplishing what you are being paid to do, whether you work for an employer or whether you have your own clients. Check in with your boss or clients on a regular basis to let them know what you are working on and ask any questions that you need to have answered. And if you are a manager, check in on your employees to make sure they are being held accountable for their work as well.
Disconnect when Necessary
When you work from home, it can be easy to blur the work-life balance that is so important—especially if you do not have the luxury of a home office. If you work every day at the dining room table, try to have a set time when you shut off the computer to have dinner and spend time with your family. Most remote positions do not require around-the-clock attention, so make sure you are prioritizing your own health and well-being by unplugging at the appropriate time and relaxing a bit.