With the on-going pandemic situation due to Coronavirus COVID-19 many schools and businesses are shutting their doors requiring many employees to work from home (where possible). Obviously not everyone is fortunate to have a profession that can allow a work from home situation and many people working individuals have never considered the possibility of working from home before. That's why I thought i'd write these blog posts in the hopes it might help folks out there with where to begin on working from home and some of the best advice I can give.
Not everyone is fit for working from home. I know everyone has different situations and requirements on how to be productive. Children being home from school can also play a role into this and it might be difficult to concentrate and actually produce results (which of course is what your employer is afraid of). For me personally, I find myself sometimes being far more productive when I work from home and I'll put together some posts on how i've achieved that.
Think of working from home no different than being in the office, however you just don't have to commute. Because at the end of the day, you have work to do and if you don't need to physically be at a location to do that work, then why can't your home be your office building?
Define a Space or Area for Work
For me personally, this is a spare bedroom that i've converted into a home office with a desk and a proper office chair for comfort. I think this aspect alone will really boost your productivity. The idea is that you need a space you can mentally define as a workspace. It shouldn't be your bed or your couch in-front of your Television as your brain will see this as recreational spaces where you get away from work. This could be your kitchen or dinning room table too.
Set Boundaries with Family.
I know this can be difficult if you have other family members home due to COVID-19, but the fact of the matter is you are at work and your family will understand. Not everyone is as fortunate where you are still able to stay home and not take sick leave or vacation and still receive a paycheck.
Put Clothes on
I know, it's easy to just roll out of bed into your home office in your pajamas, but don't do this. Keep your usual morning routine and get dressed for work. You don't need to put a business suit on, but along with having a defined workspace, having clothing on also puts you in the mindset to work and be productive. Not to mention the amount of web conferencing you might end up being apart of. Don't let your coworkers catch you in a vicarious predicament (the Print Screen button is quick)
Resist the urge to go out and get ice cream and chips. Visit your kitchen every once in awhile while taking a break, but don't constantly snack throughout the day even though it is tempting.
Learn How to Use Your Softphone
Most likely as part of your company's VoIP telephony implementation they will have a softphone client you can use over a VPN connection at home such as Cisco Jabber. Learn how to use this to take calls while working from home instead of forwarding your desk phone to your cell phone. This will help you stay focused on work and not tie up your personal phone for business. This also gives the same experience for your coworkers back at the office or on their softphones. They just dial your extension like always and your computer will ring.
Know When It's Time to Clock Out
It's easy to keep working when there's no dread of traffic or commuting to get home on time for dinner. So know when your day is finished and sign off for the night. Make sure you close or mark yourself as "Away" in your UC tool of choice.
Need some noise to focus?
Coffitivity is an incredible tool and will add some ambient noise to recreate a busy coffee shop environment for your in your headphones or speakers.
Now get to work!
Now that you've gotten some basic tips on how to create the best work environment for productivity. Here's some tips for using web conferencing and collaboration tools effectively!