Looking for work from home tips? We have the guide for you.
Here's what you need to know:
- Create a dedicated working space
- Keep a schedule
- Don't be afraid to be flexible
- Be realistic about your output
- Opt for video over phone
- Set clear yet flexible expectations for your team
- Make sure you have the tools you’ll need
- Know when to put work away and start your personal life
People around the world are practicing social distancing and migrating into a work-from-home situation. As the coronavirus makes its rounds, there’s a whole crop of people who are now working out of their home offices for the first time.
Whether that’s you, or you’re looking for guidance to give your employees as they strive to keep productivity going from home (despite distractions like kids and pets that they’re unaccustomed to) — here’s a crash course in working from home.
From how to stay sane while working remotely to tips for keeping productivity high in a new environment, we have your ultimate work from home guide.
Create a dedicated working space
While working from bed in your pajamas all day is certainly alluring, it’s not the most conducive to most people’s best work-from-home strategies. As a freelancer who has worked from home for nearly 5 years, I can tell you this: keep working from bed the special treat that it is.
In order to maintain boundaries and schedules (more on this later) it can really help to wake up, eat breakfast, and get ready to work much the same that you would on any other day.
Keep a schedule
When your commute goes out the door it can be tempting to sleep up until the final moment that you have to be on a call, but you’d be doing yourself a disservice. Why not make the most of the time you’d otherwise be spending in transit?
Have you been meaning to work out in the mornings but constantly find yourself short on time? Here’s the extra time you’ve been waiting for. Read for fun. Have a slow, easy breakfast. Spend time with your kids. Get work done early and end your day earlier!
While it’s certainly indulgent to sleep in, you’ll feel much better about your productivity if you make the most of that time instead.
But don’t be afraid to make the most of the flexibility
Speaking of making the most of time, one of the best things about working from home is the flexibility. While social distancing is making running errands more of a complicated choice than it has been, if there are things you have to take care of, it’s now extra important to take advantage of slow times during the day to do so.
Consider grocery shopping early in the morning or late at night. Walk your dog in the middle of the day if you feel like it. It’s important to keep a schedule, yes, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the perks of working from home, too.
Be realistic about your output
In an office, do you really work 8 full hours every day? Chances are you spend at least a couple of hours each day chatting with coworkers, getting coffee, checking social media, and otherwise spending time doing non-work related things.
With all of those activities magically removed from your schedule thanks to a venue change, don’t feel like you have to hold yourself to working 8 full hours every day. Of course it’s important to keep your output the same, but don’t penalize yourself for getting more done in less time.
Opt for video over phone
It seems like a small thing, but continuing to see your team on video chat can help to eliminate the social isolation that people used to working in offices can feel when relegated to being home. While it’s no substitute for in-person exchanges, it’s a closer approximation of what in-office working feels like and that can really help people who are feeling isolated at home.
It’s important to keep your output the same, but don’t penalize yourself for getting more done in less time.
Set clear yet flexible expectations for your team
Working from home doesn’t mean a free for all, but it doesn’t mean unnecessarily strict rules either. Whether you expect people to be on Slack at certain times, or on certain calls, or simply just accomplishing their same daily work — make expectations clear to eliminate confusion and let your employees know where the lines of acceptability lie.
Make sure you have the tools you’ll need
Just because you’ve answered emails or taken calls from home before doesn’t mean that you have everything you need to work from home for weeks on end. Whether you need to boost your internet speed, or get a VPN to securely access company information, make sure you have the necessities to not only conduct your work but make it as painless as possible.
At the end of the day, put work away
It can be easy to go on and on and all of a sudden it’s 9 pm and you’re still plugging away. While it’s tempting to keep things rolling when productivity is high, the work-from-home situation could easily stretch on for a few weeks thanks to the coronavirus. So keep in mind: this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Make sure you have the necessities to not only conduct your work but make it as painless as possible.
A few 12-hour days in a row and you’ll lose the stamina you need to keep working over the next weeks (maybe months?) that it might take for the work-from-home wave to finally pass.
As mentioned above, it’s important to keep a schedule — and that means having a time of the day when you put work away and start your personal life. You may find yourself blurring the boundaries when you’re working from home, but for your sanity’s sake, keep your work/life balance strong even if your office is your living room.