Current events have employees all over the world working remotely for the first time, and, most likely, not the last. Because of that, most of us aren’t aware of what to do when we’re tasked with working from home.
Beyond popular misconceptions such as it is like a day off or one without core discipline, working from home offers concrete benefits for employers and employees alike.
But you’ve got to stick to a few basic ground rules. We’ve done some research, and we’ve found five do’s and five don’ts for working remotely.
Here’s what we suggest in order to make your work from home as productive as possible:
Maintain a Schedule
Just like you do during your normal work week, you want to stick to your normal schedule even while working from home. That doesn’t mean you have to be glued to your desk, but you need to maintain a consistent presence during working hours in order to enable you to respond to team requests and other needs as they arise.
Along with maintaining your regular office schedule, you will also want to dress in the same attire as you would for a normal workday. Don’t forget meetings with outside parties, either. You want to look your best while on a webcam and off of it. To make sure you’re ready at the drop of a hat, we suggest you dress your best at the start of the day as if you were going into the office.
Coordinate with Your Team About Software
Productivity software is often an idiosyncratic issue on a personal level. But, when you’re working with teams of people at a distance, you need to make sure you’re all working from the same template and that often means coordinating appropriate software and apps.
Develop a Plan for Workflow
Whether you use a task manager or some kind of other online tools, you need a way for you and your teammates to check the workflow as far as ongoing projects are concerned. If you work alone, you might want to consider this for yourself to make sure you stay on track and keep to deadlines.
Act as If You Are in the Office
The single best advice anyone can follow as far as work from home is concerned is to conduct yourself in every respect as if you are in the office with your coworkers.
Work from Different Locations All of the Time
In order to optimize your productivity - and preserve your sanity - you need to work from a fixed location every day that you are working remotely. You could use a home office just for this purpose or establish a temporary room if you won’t be working from home on a regular basis. Whatever the situation, you need a fixed location and it needs to be as similar to your office as possible. No cafes, no noisy public spaces, and somewhere with as few interruptions as possible are some great features to look for in this kind of space.
Forget to Take a Break
One of the major issues that some diligent people encounter when they work from home is that it, surprisingly, wears them out. That’s because they don’t take necessary breaks and don’t balance the needs of life with the needs of their job. Even though you are working from home, you still need to have a life. Try to find a balance and be sure to take breaks throughout the day.
Along with not forgetting to take a break is the idea that you shouldn’t be tied down to old paradigms if they don’t work for you. Structure your day in a way that both ups your productivity and preserves your sanity. We only ask that you maintain your professional demeanor, but no one thinks you should lock yourself away in a virtual prison during a set time every workday. Also, discuss changes with your team or management and see if some kind of accommodation can be made that works for everyone involved.
Depending on the size of your employer, this is probably either already decided or an issue that needs to be discussed. When you and others are working away from the office, you want to be sure your communications are secure and your activities as private as possible. This could be especially important if you deal with sensitive information or personal information like financial or health matters. Luckily for you, if you work for a major company, they will likely provide you with the equipment and software necessary to keep your work secure. If not, you might need to coordinate with your company on expectations and recommendations in this area.
Become Disorganized and Distracted
Another major issue that all of us grapple with when we start working remotely is that there is a myriad of distractions to take away our attention as well as a bunch of reasons to become disorganized. We’ll do it later, we tell ourselves, or it’s just one tv show. One theme we’ve tried to stress throughout this advice is that working from home is, more or less, about self-discipline. Those who recognize that working from home is just like any other day at the office, and act accordingly, will find that work from home isn’t that different from that to which they are accustomed.
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