By now everyone is aware that there is a pandemic going around the globe and more and more companies are opting to let their employees work remotely or in self-isolation. Working from home takes a lot of discipline and for most some time to get used to, especially for seasoned office workers.
Working from home may sound like heaven but it is not always easy. It means your private space and office has become the same place, so setting boundaries whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial. A lack of communication or face to face contact and coffee breaks with your colleagues, may make you feel lonely and isolated. Working in a casual environment can make some people complacent and very unproductive. That is not what you or your company wants. It takes a little bit of self-discipline, but it is not brain surgery.
At Bizco Consulting we have been working remotely for the past 20 years and here is what we have learnt.
Sep up a dedicated workspace and try to stick to it – settling into a basic routine is important and working from the same area generally works best, especially when you are first starting to work from home. As you gradually start getting used to work from home at normal hours you will start moving about the house more, away from the makeshift home office to the kitchen table or patio to get some fresh air.
Set your normal working hours
This is simple. You are used to working from 8am to 5pm or a similar work schedule. Do the same at home, so the first thing you need while working from home is to be able to distinguish when exactly you are at “work” and when you are not. Take a shower, have your coffee and then get going with your tasks. If you have worked out a daily schedule in your calendar, you need to stick to it. This will help you to stay focused on your allocated tasks when you are supposed to and take a break when you are done. And remember to take short breaks!
Prepare your tech
Make sure you have everything you need for work: Laptop with webcam, headphones with microphone to clearly communicate with others, reliable internet and possibly a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access internal company resources. Chances are good you will have to participate in some video calls using a platform such as Slack, Zoom or Skype, so ensure you test everything in advance.
Set rules for people you live with
Family members might think that working from home means not working at all. Children might not be aware that you have to work and play time has to wait. Set boundaries and rules. Let them know what your work hours are and ask for some privacy. This will prevent you from being distracted while working. Assure your children (and partner) that you can spend some time together once you are done or when you can take a break.
Over-communicate and stay connected
Working from home means you can quickly become lonely or feel that you are not really connected to what is going on in the office. You may miss the quick chat with a colleague around his or her desk or the news at the water cooler. Remember to stay connected. Use social platforms such as WhatsApp, Skype, Slack, Zoom, and many more to stay connected with what is going on. Remember to let your colleagues know that you are working. Send feedback or get answers to important questions. Schedule quick conference calls with colleagues or clients.
Don’t forget to stop working
Remember to turn off the work mode. When you are done for the day, switch off all devices, laptops, screens, or anything else you may be using to do your work. Go outside, play with the kids or do anything to take your mind of the day’s work. Tomorrow is another day and you will start again where you left off.
That is it! Have fun. Stay safe!