In the first waves of the global pandemic, many workplaces and employees were pushed to rapidly find ways to work remotely. People are now working from home in numbers never before experienced and more than likely will continue to do so for several more months. And at this point, those working remotely have probably discovered some of the perks and challenges of this new arrangement.
Working From Home
Many Americans are working from home during the coronavirus pandemic and dealing with both the perks and challenges. Watch this video for some helpful tips to work from home productively.
Many Employees Are Working From Home During Coronavirus Pandemic
Many Americans are being asked to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic, both for their safety and that of their coworkers, as well as to keep the businesses they work for running so they can continue to serve their customers.
Working from the comfort of your own home is not as easy as it sounds. There could be countless distractions, possible feelings of isolation, and the temptation to spend every waking moment working.
Here are some tips to help you focus on your work while at the same time interacting with coworkers and family to maintain balance in your life.
- Make sure you have the equipment and supplies you need to do your job. Do you have a work device, or will you be using your own? What about a telephone now that you’ll no longer have an office line? Is there a place in your home to set up a functional temporary office to help block distractions?
- Knowing what is expected of you will be important. Keep in touch with managers and coworkers so you know what you should be working on and what others are doing. Hopefully, your company has provided you with a list of phone numbers, email addresses or suggested a particular instant messaging application. Use them to stay in touch.
- Follow security protocols as necessary. Will you be signing in via a VPN? Will you be emailing or storing sensitive files? Make sure you follow any required security measures, such as logging in and out of devices or locking or hiding paper files.
- Make sure to contact any clients or customers that you regularly work with and let them know how to reach you and what hours you will be available.
- Since your home is also now your workspace, make sure you figure out how to strike a balance between ‘on’ hours and ‘off’ hours. Work with family members to help avoid distractions but don’t completely shut them off. Don’t forget that your ‘office’ is also their home.
- If you’re not being paid via direct deposit into an account at your financial institution, ask management if that is possible. It’s safer and more secure than driving to pick up a paper paycheck and going to your financial institution to make a deposit. If you are mailed a check, start making those deposits with remote deposit from your smartphone. It’s as simple as logging into your financial institution with its free mobile app and taking photos of the front and back of your endorsed check.
While it could take some time to get used to, you’ll find that working from home can be just as productive as being in the office. Just remember that focus and communication will be big keys to success.
If you are no longer at the office, you may be looking for some advice on how to be productive while working from home. Here are our top tips:
1. Choose a Designated Workspace
It’s important to designate an area in your home that is specifically for work. This will help you get into the right frame of mind for doing your job. If you don’t have an extra room for your at-home work office, dedicate a specific space or surface that is the place you go to work. Set up your workstation in an area with limited distractions—a spare bedroom, a table in your basement or maybe the kitchen works best for you. Be sure your workspace is well-lit, clear of clutter, and has a comfortable chair to sit on.
2. Get Ready for the Day
It is important to continue your normal daily routine. Do all the things you would normally do before heading out for your morning commute to the office. Set your alarm, make coffee, and eat a balanced breakfast. When it comes to getting dressed, choose comfortable work clothes – but avoid sweatpants! Sticking to your usual daily routine will help get you prepared to start the work day.
3. Try to Stick to Your Work Schedule
It may be difficult to follow the same work schedule at home, but it’s important to structure your day like you would at the office to stay focused and productive. Are mornings for writing proposals or catching up on industry news? Maybe the afternoon is the best time for a team meeting or when you return phone calls. You may need to make adjustments, especially to coordinate with your team’s new work arrangements, but once you determine your work schedule, try to follow it each day. It’s also equally important to schedule a time to stop work at the end of the day so you don’t burn out. A work-life balance could be harder to manage when working from home so if you find yourself still at the office after dinner, consider using an alarm to signal the end of the work day!
4. Take Breaks
Research has shown that taking breaks throughout the work day can actually increase productivity and creativity. Take between a 5 to 15 minute break every hour or so. Stand up and stretch, do a few simple exercises or go for a quick walk to give your mind and body a rest. These mini breaks act as a charger by restoring your energy to keep you motivated and productive when you venture back to your desk to return to work.
5. Stay Connected
Working from home may make you feel lonely, isolated and disconnected from the rest of the colleagues on your team. Make it a point to check in with team members each day with a quick email, text, or call. If you miss the in person dynamic, try a video chat using apps like Skype, Zoom or Google Hangouts. It may also be helpful to schedule a quick team meeting at the same time each day just to check in with each other to share any updates on projects.
It’s still very uncertain how and when work will return to the office. While this may be a temporary break from the normal routine for some companies, others may decide to develop new strategies to have a permanent remote workforce. Either way, working from home is an adjustment that takes time and discipline. Start putting these tips into practice to streamline your routine, be productive and enhance your work-life balance. And, remember to be patient with yourself as you navigate through this “new normal” workplace.