Many companies have mandated a ‘work from home’ (WFH) policy as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. To some, working at home is a blessing. To others, it can be difficult due to a lack of structure and social interaction, and in an increasing number of countries, having the kids at home.
Below are a few tips that will help with the transition from office to home. Before this conversation, however, we want to thank all of those who do not have the option to work from home. Specifically, the first responders, doctors, nurses, healthcare operations personnel, scientists, pharmacists, people managing the drive-through testing, grocery store workers, food and parcel delivery folks, and our government agencies and representatives forming the guidelines to help us through this tumultuous time.
For those of you who are working from home to ensure our global economies remain as viable as possible, here are a few WFH Tips.
- Create a workspace
Find some place in your home that is considered your workspace and everyone in the house knows that you are “at work” when in that space. Preferably a room with a door and a window. Let your family members know what time you have scheduled conference calls and remind them to be a bit extra quiet during those times. (You may want to tape your conference call calendar to the refrigerator!)
- Make a schedule
Work is an activity, not a place. Weave your work activity into your daily routine. Set the alarm for at least an hour before you start working in order to give yourself a “normal morning.” Make breakfast, check the news, take a shower, get dressed (don’t stay in your sleepwear all day!). Take time for a lunch break away from your desk. Ending the work day can be tricky because most of us with a mobile phone never really end the work day. This part probably won’t change too much.
- Take a drive or walk around the neighborhood before starting work
Take a drive or walk around the neighborhood before work. Get some fresh air to kick the day off. Listen to whatever you normally listen to on the radio to get in the work frame of mind.
- Use conferencing technology
The first transcontinental video call happened on April 20, 1964 using Bell’s Picturephone service at the World’s Fair in New York City. Conferencing technology has come a long way since then! Take advantage of voice, video and data collaboration technologies to stay in touch with colleagues, partners, customers and prospects.
Tip #1: Be prepared for a video call at all times! Use your laptop camera to test lighting and make sure your background is work appropriate.
Tip #2: If you don’t want to be too surprised, be sure to close the physical camera cover or put a band aid over your camera that you can easily remove when a video call comes in.
- Stay fit
Keep exercising. Make up your own programs and check with your gym to see if they are offering online classes. Also, look at sites like Sworkit.com for classes ranging from yoga and pilates to strength, core and cardio.
- Take breaks
Take breaks throughout the day to clear your mind and gain perspective on the project you are working on but resist the urge to snack!
- If you have pets, bring them into the office and talk to them like a colleague
Let your dog sleep by your feet or your cat snooze on your desk. At least for part of the day. Pets make great colleagues and they always think you are right!
- Clear the air
If a meeting goes bad or a situation didn’t turn out the way you hoped, don’t get paranoid about it. In the office, you would go to your colleague/friend and hash it out and walk away feeling better. Don’t stew on it – call that colleague/friend if needed.
- Don’t despair, it’s only temporary
Life is about turning lemons into… Some of the steps above may help you enjoy the flexibility and productivity gains that can be achieved by working at home. And don’t forget to wash your hands!