Ok, you just got the call, or the memo from the boss.
“We have made a corporate decision that it is in the best interest of all of us and our community, that our company adopts a work from home strategy. Commencing immediately, all workers will now continue as usual from a remote, home office location.”
Being a self-employed small business owner and a consultant, I’ve worked remotely from a home office situation for 16 years! Over this time I’ve adopted many strategies and been forced to conform and make the best of a sometimes challenging situation. During this time, I feel I’ve become very productive and have employed good practices to develop an efficient and comfortable work environment. But in this new age of the coronavirus, many people are being asked to work from home, perhaps for the first time ever. Now, don’t get too excited as it isn’t all roses and sunshine. Additionally, if you are planning to be just as efficient as you always have been, you’ll need to create a good workspace and implement some rules and practices to adhere to.
The following are 10 tips that I share for the new work from home / virtual employee to help you with the transition while also getting your work done efficiently:
- Wake up as usual and stick to your ‘normal” routine – don’t be tempted to stay in bed and on your phone – that IS NOT working. Shower, get dressed, have breakfast etc… don’t change the routine, you are still going to work! And yes, always wear Pants!!
- Start work at a normal, usual time and be sure to keep a log or calendar of your time spent working.
- Clean up your office or create a comfortable, yet efficient workspace. A comfortable chair, a large monitor and an ample sized desk is a must! You should also be sure to have all the efficient technology that you might require, particularly if you think this will gon on for many weeks (or longer). Don’t forget about cybersecurity!
- Don’t expect to work from 8-5 every single day. You may likely take shorter breaks or not take breaks at all, instead, simply sitting at your desk. You may even find yourself being much more productive, thanks to fewer distractions!
- Get up, walk around and stretch. It can be easy to stay glued in your chair but avoid that and force yourself to get up and walk around. Do this at your normal break times and lunch period but make the breaks shorter.
- Put on Your Game Face – Chances are good that you will be participating in online video sessions (Skype, Slack, Hangouts etc…) and so, position your computer in a way that your camera faces against the wall (blank preferably). Don’t have your household and personal life in the background when you are teleconferencing.
- Don’t become totally isolated. Have video chat sessions or meetings periodically in order to avoid feeling isolated. If you have nobody to chat with, participate in webinars or watch recorded seminars or webinars. You might find it interesting to enjoy these educational sessions on a regular basis. Plan regular team meetings with your co-workers, just keep them brief.
- Listen to music! Its really easy to have the TV on in the background and have CNN, FOX, BBC etc… running all day long. Try to avoid this, instead, have quiet soothing music on to enjoy. Your mental health will thank you!
- Don’t go work at a cowork place or coffee shop – that totally defeats the purpose of this!
- Speed up your Internet. When you start working at home you may quickly realize that your Internet sucks! A good way to avoid this is to position your router close to your desk, reduce the number of gadgets that are connected to your wifi. The best solution though is to make a call to your ISP and consider upgrading your Internet speed temporarily. Also, by plugging your computer directly into your router (get some Cat5 cable) you will definitely enjoy more bandwidth! Monitor your Internet speed using speedtest to ensure you don’t get bogged down by an ISP problem. See https://www.speedtest.net or Fast https://fast.com
Bonus Tip: Stay off social media, unless it is work related. Just because you are at home you don’t need to deviate from your regular patterns. If you don’t surf the web at work then don’t do it at home!