In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, more companies are asking their employees to work from home. Some of you are probably familiar with doing this occasionally but working from home full-time must definitely be unprecedented! Here are five tips that will help you and your team remain productive despite the distance.
by: Joséphine Anselin
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Tip #1: Create a designated workspace
This may be easier said than done but setting up a dedicated workspace will go a long way in ensuring you deliver your work goals from home. Having a space that you associate with work will help you to get into the right frame of mind outside your usual office environment.
Pick a spot where you do not normally go to relax and create an environment that is conducive to productivity. Ideally, it would be a place where you can close the door and shut out distractions. But if this isn’t possible, you can also set up a desk in your bedroom, install a workstation in a corner of your living room or even turn a part of your kitchen table into your new office space.
Tip #2: Invest in the right tools
In an ideal world, you would have a stand-up desk, an ergonomic chair and an external monitor dock to plug your laptop into. But let’s be honest, few of us will have access to a complete set up. Focus on the key components that would help you stay productive and healthy in your home-office.
The must-haves include access to a high-speed Wi-Fi connection and a reliable video conferencing service. A proper office chair and an external monitor for your laptop will help protect your neck. A good pair of noise cancelling headphones is also worth considering, especially if your workspace is set up in a communal area or if your kids are running around the house.
Tip #3: Establish a daily routine
One of the advantages of remote working is that it offers a flexible work schedule. On the flip side, when your home becomes your office, it can be difficult to switch off from work. Creating a clear daily schedule will help you maintain the right balance.
So even though you are not expected to show up at an office, try to start working around the same time every morning. Schedule breaks throughout your day and set aside a specific time for lunch. It’s also helpful to decide when your workday will end. Communicate your schedule to your team and encourage your co-workers to do the same.
Tip #4: Set team expectations
While a healthy dose of flexibility will be required given the situation, setting clear expectations will go a long way in being productive when working from home.
Try to agree on working hours, communication channels and expected response times. It also helps to set up a regular meeting cadence to track everyone’s work progress. This could involve short check-in meetings at the end of each day or weekly review calls.
Tip #5: Make time for self-care
To keep your mental and physical health in check while working remotely, schedule regular breaks away from your desk. Get outside if you can, or do a quick at-home workout to get your heart rate up.
If you’re an introvert, you’ll probably love the freedom to focus without any interruptions. But, if you’re the type of person who thrives in social situations, you may find remote working more challenging. To avoid feeling isolated, make time to catch up with colleagues and friends over the phone and consider joining a virtual community.
Last but not the least, reflect
Use this opportunity to discover how to get the best out of your work time. Perhaps you can even take a few tricks back into the office when life returns to normal. Meanwhile, stay safe!