The recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in a surge in the work-from-home population all over the world. Increasingly, we’re seeing businesses encouraging their employees, wherever possible, to practice social distancing by working remotely to reduce the spread of the virus.
Millions of people work productively and effectively from home every single day. However, if you’ve never worked outside of the office, or you only do so occasionally, you may find your new circumstances difficult to adapt to. Here are five tips to help you remain productive if the recent Coronavirus outbreak (or any other business disruption!) has caused you to resume your work responsibilities from home.
1. Prepare Ahead of Time
If you know that work from home is a possibility, make sure you have access to the materials, tools, and technologies that you use on a daily basis. Speak with your management/IT team about what your company’s capabilities are with regards to VPN (Virtual Private Network), remote desktop usage, and communication/collaboration software, among other applications. Ensure you have the right tools in place before you launch into your new work-from-home routine – don’t wait until you’re stuck without a critical file or can’t join an important video conference. Not sure what tools and technologies you’ll need to configure so you can embrace an agile work environment? Envision’s business planning and technology experts can help with that.
2. Create and Maintain a Dedicated Working Space
One of the most common missteps people make when working from home is failing to establish physical boundaries for themselves and their working environment. Whether you live alone or with others, creating a space for yourself that is dedicated solely to your work responsibilities is crucial. If you don’t have a separate office space you can utilize, set up a desk or table for yourself in a quiet area of your living space. If you have roommates, be sure to communicate with them about your needs and establish ground rules around noise level and having guests over. If possible, avoid working from your bedroom, living room, or kitchen. With government officials increasingly encouraging people to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, separating your working space from your living space is key to reducing stress and enabling productivity.
One of the most common missteps people make when working from home is failing to establish physical boundaries for themselves and their working environment.
3. Respect Your Own Time
At the end of the workday, you may find it difficult to separate yourself from your work mindset if you’re not physically getting in a car/train/bus and travelling away from the office. If you’re not accustomed to working from home, you may find yourself answering calls or returning emails outside of your normal working hours. After all, you’ve been doing these tasks from home all day anyways! To reduce your overall stress level and create a more positive work-from-home experience for yourself, try to limit interaction with work applications outside of your actual working hours. If your business utilizes Microsoft Teams, you can set “quiet hours” on your mobile device to mute notifications. To do this, navigate to the “More” tab in the top left corner of the mobile app > Notifications > Quiet hours. Here, you can set a specific time of day when you want Teams to hold your notifications – or choose entire days.
4. Establish a Routine
You may find it very tempting to work all day from your couch in your pajamas - try to resist the temptation! Even though you may not be preparing to physically go into the office, keeping up with your normal morning routine is beneficial for both your mental health and your ability to get work done. If you’re working from home due to the COVID-19 outbreak and decide to radically change your morning routine, you may find it jarring or challenging to get back to where when you return to the office again.
5. Opt for Video or Phone Calls Over Instant Messaging
At times, you may find working from home to be socially isolating. While many of us are accustomed to collaborating via instant messaging applications, it’s a good idea to switch up your communication medium every once in a while. Phone calls are good, but video calls are even better. Not only will get in some face time with another person, but – harking back to our previous tip – it will force you to look presentable, thus aligning with a part of your normal work routine.
Working from home doesn’t have to have to be challenging or stress-inducing. With the right preparation and mindset, you can be just as productive working from home as you would be in the office.
If you feel you or your team don’t currently have the tools you need to be able to work fully from home, we have a designed a Workforce Agility Jumpstart engagement to get you there fast. We can start within 24 hours of your request, and we can complete it in as little as one week. Visit www.envisionsuccess.net/prepare to get started today.
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