Learning to work remotely is a new concept for many people and we are all learning how to navigate through the current COVID-19 situation and still maintain some level of normalcy. Here are some tips on how to be successful at working from home.
Pick your workspace.
If you’re used to getting up every morning and commuting to the office, it can seem strange to walk over to your laptop in the living room instead. If you don’t already have a designate home office space, pick a place and claim it as a “work only zone”. This will help you maintain a work mindset and signal to others in the household that you are on the clock. Your dedicated workspace may be desk or table but make it your own. Make sure the spot you have picked allows you to have access to a wall plug, a strong internet connection, a good cell signal, and a neutral background in case you need to hop on a video conference call.
Set ground rules with your family, children, or roommates so that they know when you are in your dedicated workspace that you are on the clock and in work mode. This can help minimize distractions or interruptions that may not typically occur when you’re at the office. Be sure to have designated time where you’re solely focused on work, but also have times when you’re completely offline and focused on you family and personal health.
Plan your days.
Creating a daily schedule and setting deadlines for yourself can help keep you on task. Remote working requires a level of diligence and self-discipline that may be new to many people. It helps to maintain regular work hours (such as 9:00am to 5:00pm) that your office would typically operate under. This will help with maintaining your routine and also make it clear when you are working and not working. Letting your team know when you are planning to be offline for lunch, a break, etc. during the workday can also be beneficial.
Be reachable by phone, video chat, and email during regular business hours. Be sure to promptly respond during these hours so that your team can continue to be productive. Communicating with your team about projects you are working on, upcoming deadlines, and holding regular video conference meetings can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction. This is critical to staying unified as a team and company when we are all working from separate remote locations
Working from home can be a slippery slope towards distraction and procrastination. Avoid this by using to-do lists with your team that are visible by everyone. This will allow team members to see what everyone is working on, update others in real time with where they’re at on a project, and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks. If you’re in a department that has slowed down, take the time to seek out new training and certification opportunities that can further your knowledge and experience. There are many free training and teaching tools online, as well as paid ones. Above all else, it is important during this time to stay aligned with company culture. Know what’s expected of you by your company and continue to do your best work at all times. It may feel like no one is watching you while you’re working remotely, but excellent work ethic will not go unnoticed.
Take care of yourself! Working remotely comes with some perks, so take the time to go for a walk or get some exercise. Be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Working from home can make it easier to get proper rest and downtime as well, so be sure to take care of your health.