Find yourself working from home for the first time due to Coronavirus? Here are 5 tips to help you stay productive in a remote, work-from-home environment.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization confirmed that COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is a pandemic. As the virus continues to pose a threat to the health and safety of communities worldwide, more and more companies are requiring that their staff work from home. From big corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon to small businesses servicing local customers, companies across the world are facing the challenge of transitioning to remote operations for the foreseeable future.
As more companies continue to roll out work-from-home policies, it’s vital that workers prepare themselves for the challenges of working in this unique environment. Whether you’ve worked remotely in the past or you’re completely new to it, there are a few ways that you can set yourself up for success.
Ilan Sredni, who offers IT support in Fort Lauderdale with Palindrome Consulting and works with a number of organizations across South Florida set up their remote working solutions.
1. Maintain a daily routine or schedule.
While working from home, it’s important to establish a routine that keeps you focused and helps you set clear boundaries between work and home time. While it may be easy to put off tasks while working from home, it can be just as easy to find yourself working during your off-hours.
One of the best ways to get yourself in “work mode” at home is by setting a schedule and sticking to it. Follow your normal morning routine as if you were going into work. Wake up at your normal time and get ready just as you would on any other workday. Instead of starting work early, use your commute time to take a walk, exercise, work on a personal project, or just enjoy your cup of coffee.
Stay focused on work projects during your normal work hours. If you need help staying on track, you can use a productivity or time tracking tool to record the hours you are working as well as your breaks. When the time comes that you would normally leave the office, shut down your computer and take time to decompress.
2. Minimize distractions.
Minimizing distractions is probably one of the hardest things to do when working from home, but it’s also the most important. While it may be tempting to spend time on your phone checking out the latest Coronavirus news, watching Netflix while you work, or getting chores done, you’ll need to minimize these distractions if you want to stay productive. It helps to set up a home office space that is away from distractions like television, laundry, or your partner so that you have your own private, quiet space to get work done.
While minimizing distractions is important for productivity, it sometimes just isn’t possible. With many schools closing or moving to online classes, parents are having to care for their children during working hours. If you are a work-from-home parent, all you can do is try your best to work around your children’s schedule. You may find yourself having to work in the early morning hours and late evening hours to get projects done. Just make sure that you are communicating your needs with your manager so that expectations are clear.
3. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
The key to effectively working from home is clear and consistent communication. Little things that you may find yourself communicating to your boss or coworkers in person as you walk by their desk or pass them in the halls now have to be communicated online. Whether through chat, phone, or email, use the communication tools that your company has in place to ensure that you are communicating your needs and expectations to others.
If office socialization is an important part of your office culture, you may find yourself missing the company of your co-workers during this time. You can still communicate with your team remotely to avoid feeling isolated. Start your meetings with a few minutes of friendly, non-work-related conversation or send a quick chat message to a co-worker to see how they are doing.
4. Take breaks throughout the day.
When working from home, it can be easy to get wrapped up in what you’re doing and forget to take breaks. Just as you would take breaks in the office for coffee, lunch, or a short walk, you should do the same while working from home. If you find yourself forgetting to take breaks, set a timer on your watch or phone to take breaks. You might try checking in with yourself each hour to see how you are feeling and if you need a snack or to get up and move.
While working from home may not be an ideal situation for some companies, Coronavirus is making it a necessity for many businesses. To make the most of the situation, use the tips above to stay healthy and productive while working remotely. If you need help setting up remote access for your organization consult your local managed IT services company.
Stuart Crawford serves as Managing Partner with Ulistic LP, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.