You may find yourself in a circumstance where you must work remotely for safety reasons, personal emergencies or perhaps your position is or has become completely remote. Some people love remote work and for others it is unfamiliar territory.
At one point in my career I worked from a home office for the majority of a decade. Besides managing my own work at home scenario, I led a nationwide team that also was working from their homes. Personal discipline and establishing work/life boundaries was essential to getting things done effectively. In this article we'll explore some basic tips to kick off your work from home journey, remain productive and have the best experience.
Set a regular routine
Have a time when you get up, take your shower, get dressed for the day and eat your breakfast. Yes, you could technically work from home in your pajamas, but it doesn't put you in the right frame of mind. Following these steps helps set the right tone for the day.
Have a dedicated office space and make sure you have the right equipment
Creating a structured environment where you solely do your work helps to boost productivity. Your workspace should be away from any distractions like your couch, your bed or your TV. The idea here is to treat remote work like you would for any other job and to have surroundings that are optimized for focus. You may be just fine with a desk that provides adequate space for your laptop or desktop computer and an office chair. However, if you have a position in which video conferencing is required make sure you have the right equipment: a good headset, camera and sufficient lighting. Be mindful of your surroundings when making video calls. Your business attire should be professional, it should be a quiet space, and your office should be neat.
Children and pets need to be cared for while you do your work
While you are working it is impossible to remain focused and do a good job if you don't have care for your loved ones. Hire a nanny or reach out to a friend or relative that can watch your children while you focus on work. Keep pets in a safe area that is just for them until you have finished your workday.
Put your phone in priority mode (Android) or activate do not disturb for Apple (iOS)
Just like if you were in the office you should not be taking personal calls or texts on the job. Enable priority mode if you have an Android device or enable do not disturb if you have an iOS device.
There will be times of course when you will need to pick up the phone for vital communications. For example, if your children's school is calling you, an important call from your doctor or if your spouse or immediate family member is calling with an important message. You can mark these vital contacts in your phone as favorites so when they do call you the phone will ring.
All other calls will go through to your phone but the ring will be silent. You can then return the call on your break or after work. Your team members and business leaders should also be able to reach you. Ensure team members can contact you by making sure they are included in your list of allowed contacts.
Do something on your break that helps you feel rejuvenated
- Set time for a 30 minute – 1-hour lunch break.
- Take a walk outside if the weather permits and get some fresh air.
- Eat a healthy lunch that will help you feel energized and make sure to drink plenty of water.
- If you feel you need some socialization take this time to make personal calls or get out of the house for lunch so you do not feel isolated.
- To remain mindful of time set an alarm on your phone if necessary.
Create task lists and identify priorities
Lists help you to sort out what is high priority and what needs to be completed in a certain time-frame. Yes, your job may already have a project management system that tells you what your tasks are, but lists help you have a simplified view of what needs to be done for the day. Project management systems tend to include an array of features, lists and functions that take the focus from what's important. Try a tool like EverNote to have your daily to-dos listed out in a more simplified format. Checking off your completed tasks will also give you a great feeling of accomplishment.
The above tips help to quickly establish a work routine for those new to working from home.
Are you an employer making the switch? Please share this with your new remote employees to get them started.