If you’re likely many people, you need to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’ve never worked this way before, it can be a bit of a struggle to get used to it.
You might find it hard to be as productive as you like, or set up technology components, or to handle particular parts of your job from a distance.
To combat this, it helps to follow a few tips to make working from your home office – or some other part of your house – move forward smoothly.
1. Set Up a Designated Work Area
It’s wise to set up a designated work area in your home. Wherever possible, create a specific space just for you. This could be in a dedicated home office or a spare bedroom, an attic, basement, garage, granny flat, or nook. Find somewhere that provides you with privacy to focus.
Your workspace also needs the necessary equipment so you can get your job done efficiently. For instance, you’ll likely need a computer, quality internet connection, printer/scanner, desk lamp, comfortable chair, and a desk.
Consider ergonomics when setting up your remote working area. Choose a chair with back support, and that you can set at the right height for your needs.
Raise your laptop, if you use one, so you don’t have to slump or strain forward to see and type.
2. Install Tech Correctly and Guard Security
Another key ingredient is having the right tech set up. You’ll no longer have a company IT person accessible when you need them to help you with software usage or troubleshooting.
If you don’t have enough knowledge to handle this side of things or waste too many hours or have too much stress trying to sort out tech tools, pay a consultant for assistance when you need it.
Also, protect business data. Hackers crash systems of individuals just as often as they do those of organizations, plus most people have less security at home, leaving them even more vulnerable to attack.
As such, take steps to stay safe. For example, pay for top quality internet security to protect your computers from cybercriminals. Your employer might even be willing to foot the bill for this.
Furthermore, password-protect your computers and use a hard-to-crack code on your Wi-Fi modem and all the online accounts you log into. Keep software updated at all times, too, as the latest versions of programs plug security gaps that make technology more accessible to hackers.
3. Stick to a Schedule
When you work remotely, you usually don’t have the same routines you had when commuting to an office. There are upsides to this, but it can also be a problem if it leaves you unproductive and somewhat floundering.
To give your best, create a structure for yourself. Try to wake up at the same time daily and set specific work hours.
It also pays to dress and groom professionally. When working from home, it’s tempting to stay in your PJs or other loungewear, but this makes it tricky to feel “switched on.” Going about your usual morning preparation routine, including dressing nicely and completing grooming tasks, will help you get into the right mindset.
Also, set boundaries as needed. Take steps to protect your workspace and your working hours. If you have roommates, a partner, and children at home during the workday, create ground rules about interruptions.
Explain to them that just because you’re in your house, this doesn’t mean you’re free to talk or otherwise leave tasks whenever they want some company.
You might like to make things easier for everyone by putting up a “Do Not Disturb” or other sign when you’re busy, or telling your housemates you’ll let them know when you’re on a break or finished day.
4. Stay in Touch with Others
Regular communication is also essential when you work remotely. Just because you no longer see your boss and colleagues daily doesn’t mean you should stop chatting with them often. Utilize emails, phone calls, video conferencing tools, apps, and more to touch base with people.
Communication is necessary to clarify project requirements, get feedback, ask for help, and stop any small misunderstandings from turning into big problems.
Plus, speaking with others in your organization also helps to bring more normalcy to your routines. It should ensure you stay connected and continue to feel part of the team long term, too.
Working remotely has many pros and cons. If you follow the tips listed above, you should mitigate the potential negatives and ensure that your new working life is both enjoyable and productive.