The world has changed in the past few weeks, and, as we work together to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus, “social distancing” has become a crucial part of the fight against this outbreak. This has required non-essential business to close and employees to work remotely. With that in mind, here are some tips to help you work from home more effectively.
1. Establish your routine
If you’re going to work from home for an extended period of time, it’s important to try to keep to a regular schedule. Sure, with no commute to worry about, you could sleep in a bit but maintaining a routine will help keep you on track during the day. It also makes you available for calls and online meetings with your co-workers.
2. Dress like you’re going into the office
In addition to sticking to a routine, you should also prepare for each day just as you would if going to the office. As idyllic as it may sound to lounge around in your PJs all day, getting dressed in street clothes first thing in the morning helps you make the mental shift to “work mode”. It’s also good for those times when you forget to turn off the camera while on a video conference call.
3. Create a dedicated workspace
We’ve all struggled to separate our work life from our home life, but when your office is located in your living space, this boundary can become even more blurred. Whether it’s a spare bedroom or just a corner of your living room, setting up a dedicated space to serve as your office makes it easier for you to keep your work at work.
4. Plan your day
Planning your day first thing in the morning is always a good strategy. Establishing specific goals for the day will help keep you organized and motivated to stay focused throughout the day.
5. Avoiding feelings of isolation
If you are new to working from home, the sudden change from a bustling office and the interaction with your co-workers to being on your own may be unsettling. However, there are steps you can take to continue to feel part of the team. For instance, video meeting software can be used for more than just meetings. Set up virtual lunch dates, or create chat groups on social media so you can keep up to date with your colleagues.
6. Make sure your internet is up to the task
Internet providers have made huge advances in network speed and bandwidth but not all areas have been upgraded to the latest network hardware. For normal day-to-day usage, your bandwidth may not be an issue but when trying to support all the applications you need to do your job remotely, limitations may start to show.
If your connection is slow, be sure to close programs running in the background that aren’t necessary. If on a video call, for instance, you can turn your camera off – you’ll still be able to hear the other participants in the meeting and see shared screens but you won’t be transmitting video through the application.