To say all our lives have changed this past month is a huge understatement. Most of the workforce in America has gone from working at the office to working at home in a matter of weeks with little time to prepare. To complicate matters for some of us, our children are also working from home. So how do we keep our productivity and quality of work up to par while keeping our sanity at home?
I personally made the move to working from home 9 years ago. It has not always gone smoothly but it has been very rewarding. Here are some tips from personal experience:
- Check your speed: With everyone working from home the demand on your internet usage is going to really spike. If you find your speeds are less than desired try resetting your router. Routers need to be reset every now and then for maximum performance. If you continue to feel like your speeds are slow can contact your internet provider and ask what speed you should be getting. Then do a speed check. If you are not getting the speed promised your provider can investigate why. If your router has not been updated in a long time that can be the culprit.
- Spread out: With all of this together time you are going to need some space. If you have a smaller home then you may want to consider designating one room for alone time. (i.e. Conference Calls, Taking Tests, Concentration)
- Maintain regular hours: Set a schedule, and stick to it…most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else’s time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.
- Create a morning routine: What in your morning routine indicates you’re about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.
- Schedule breaks: Give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time US employees.
- Go outside: This one is huge. To keep from becoming claustrophobic you really need to get out and get some fresh air. The temptation to eat lunch in front of the TV is going to be strong. Go eat lunch outside, get out on your breaks, or once your day is done. You will be amazed how your productivity goes up after a short walk.
- Socialize with colleagues: Loneliness and the feeling of being disconnected can be challenging. Luckily there are tons of great communication tools to assist with making you feel more connected. ATCOM can give you some guidance here. Conference bridges, Video conference, and Team collaboration tools all can play a big part in making us feel more a part of the company’s success. Try picking up the phone or doing a video call instead of typing up that next email.
- Show up at meetings ready to be heard: It is easy to fade into the background when on conference calls. Prepare for your meetings like you would if you were sitting face to face. Be sure to give that valuable input you have to offer; that is the reason they hired you in the first place.
- Over communicate: Working remotely requires you to over communicate. Let everyone know your schedule. Use your out-of-office or in-meeting settings so people know how and when to reach you. When you finish a project or important task let people know.
- End your day with a routine: Create a habit that signals the close of the work day. It might be making your to-do list to start the next day, shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite pod cast, or leaving the office and taking the dog on a walk. It is good to mentally shut it down and move on to your “normal” home activities.