Working from Home

Working from Home

Working from Home

Working from home suddenly?

Here are some simple tips to help you get more done…

Even though ‘work-from-home professionals’ still only make up an estimated 3 to 4 % of the workforce, that figurehas changed dramatically since the spread of COVID-19.

There are many unknowns with COVID-19—from a health to an economical perspective—but if you are stuck inside your home and still need to do your job, it’s important to set up a productive office environment.

Don’t start working in your dressing gown…

Being overly comfortable will tempt you back into your bed, or to your couch. It’s important to still do your morning routine as you usually would if you were commuting into the office, since it signals to your brain that it’s time to work—not to lounge.

Create a dedicated work space …

Though some people are woefully unaware of their surroundings, others are inherently sensitive to dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, and those cardboard boxes that still need to be broken down. When your space has to double as home and office, a dedicated work-space is essential.

Ideally, this should be a separate room where you can close the door. If that’s not an option, map out an area that can be clear of clutter . . . or at least allows it to be out of sight. This may mean sitting at a specific chair in your dining room, so you don’t see the chaos in the kitchen, or pulling out a folding table in your bedroom, if it’s the cleanest spot in the house.

Set and maintain your normal hours …

The issue is the tone it sets for the day, and thus, your productivity. When you’re away from the office, it’s more important than ever to set specific hours—and stick to them. One way to ensure you stay on track is to create time blocks.

This could look something like this: checking email during the first and last blocks of the day, only holding calls between certain windows, and managing the hours when you feel the most alert. If your freshest thinking is before noon, save meetings or intense work periods for the first part of the day. Cross off the day’s objectives as you complete them.

Focus on your output …

Remember there’s a big difference in working from home randomly one week because you weren’t feeling 100 percent—and being asked to perform away from the office for a few weeks, or more.

Many people will try to hide from their deliverables since they don’t feel accountable in the same way. But, it’s not enough just to “be at work” with a body warming up a seat. In a remote work environment you’re entirely judged by the volume, quality, and timeliness of your output. In this way, remote work is a great equalizer, and you may find it gives you an opportunity to really shine.

Every morning create a list of what you will deliver by the end of the day. If it’s helpful, scribble these down the night before so you can jump straight into work in the morning.

Everyone functions differently, but I’ve found it helpful to outline the upcoming week every Friday afternoon and Monday morning. I go through everything that needs my attention, schedule time to complete it, and even when appropriate set reminders that keep me focused.

Eat healthy lunches …

During the coronavirus panic that’s wiped out certain supermarkets, you may find yourself stockpiling junk food. Unfortunately, the sugar highs followed by inevitable crashes aren’t exactly the best for keeping your brain focused.

Plan your healthy snacks and lunches at home the same way you would plan for them at the office. Stick to a routine of keeping healthy.

Schedule more check-ins with your team …

One of the hardest parts of being a leader—whether face-to-face or not—is managing your team. But there is an added layer of difficulty when you can’t walk over to their desk to check in on a project, ask a question, or assign a task. In theory, technology should make this easier—thanks to Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.

However, it can sometimes be an uphill battle to capture and keep the attention of your direct reports. It can be a big adjustment to not be in close proximity, so make sure that you’re checking in and making sure progress is being made and everyone has the resources they need.

Limit distractions …

Any sort of interruption can cause you to lose your train of thought and disrupt the creative flow. Switch of your social media platforms and emails in the same way you would operate in the office

That’s why I turn off the Wi-Fi when I’m putting together an article. I collect all of my research and interview notes, and then flick off the signal on my computer and phone. This means I can’t check on my latest Facebook post or respond to my friend’s text messages. This tactic is effective, since it sort of creates an imaginary boss looking over me. Michael Dermer, the founder of The Lonely Entrepreneur, encourages a similar practice by turning off devices, shutting down email when you don’t need it open, and resisting social media platforms. “You have to bring the discipline to keep these distractions away from you at home just like you would in the office,” he says.

Reference: My thanks to Lindsay Tigar for some great content ideas.