How to Work Effectively From Home

It is no longer necessary to be in an office full-time to be a productive member of the team. For employers, working from home can boost productivity, reduce turnover, and lower organizational costs, while employees enjoy perks like flexibility and the lack of a commute. Recently the arrival of Covid-19 triggered a chain of events including a declaration of a national emergency. Citizens all over the globe have followed the Stay-At-Home orders in order to stop the spread of the virus. Many companies have had to transition to employees working from home. Due to the sequence of events that have taken place under the state of emergency, you are going to want to make sure that your productivity stays in tip top shape while working from home.

Know the Ground Rules

Does your employer require a nine-to-five schedule, or is there flexibility? Are you allowed to work on public Wi-Fi? Which tech tools might you need, such as Zoom for video conferencing, Slack or Microsoft Teams for group chats? If you work for someone else, it's important that your employer spells out the ground rules and ensures you have the appropriate equipment, such as a laptop, as well as network access, passcodes, and instructions for remote login, including two-factor authentication. It may be quite the learning experience regarding unexpected problems that impede your work and the creative solutions that you discover to keep the ball rolling.

Set Up a Functional Workspace

Not everyone has a designated home office, but it is critical to have a private, quiet space for your work. If you can, separate your work area from your personal spaces and use it just for work, not for other activities. Many of you may not have this luxury but if you do, you might want to try taking advantage of it . I know a father that uses his son's room for his work just to avoid working in his own room so that he can sleep at night . The idea is to set up a fixed area with plenty of sunlight as this would aid you in concentrating because sometimes it can be challenging.

Get the Technology You Need

If you have kids, their Facetiming and Xbox habits may slow your connection and download speeds. Moving as close as you can to your Wi-Fi router can help (devices that are distant tend to draw on bandwidth), or you can consider switching to Ethernet. You will likely need a dongle since laptops do not have Ethernet ports these days plus an Ethernet cable to connect your computer to your router. Wondering if your most-used website is down? Check, which monitors key websites and services to see if they're working.

If your job involves making long distance and/or international calls, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, and Skype all let you call over the Internet without hurting the wallet. Zoom has become popular with the “Stay At Home” orders . Also, this service is free if you and the person you are calling are on the same service.

Manage Your Time

The CDC suggest that we complete the harder and more challenging task in the early part of your day and then complete the easier and more routine tasks in the later part of your day. Sometimes working from home means staying for hours on your computer replying to emails, long after your 9-5 has ended . Set a schedule, with an hour lunch break. It is important to not spend your breaks cleaning up around the home. Make sure you log off when it is time to “leave” work. No matter how productive you aspire to be, there is only 24 hours in a day and only a fraction of that is spent working . Know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload. Be assertive yet courteous and your coworkers will still respect you.

Keep in touch with your colleagues . Be as transparent as you can. Let your team know what your work hours so that they may be able to contact you when they need you. Also forward all your office calls to the phone that you will be using.

Minimize Distractions

If you have a barking dog or a weed blower worker outside your windows, consider investing in noise-cancelling headphones. Also if the kids are home and you're without childcare, see if you and your spouse (or a neighbor in a similar situation) can take turns with care—which may mean you have to talk to your manager about working evening hours.

Keep a Positive Vibe

While this might sound like a fun opportunity for most people, working from home can be very isolating. Loneliness can make people feel less motivated and less productive. By keeping your spirits up, listening to music, performing desk exercises, and interacting with colleagues, this confinement will not be so excruciating.

Plan Extra Social Interactions

Some folks love the thought of working in solitude, but even the most introverted among us can start feeling a little claustrophobic after a few weeks at home, alone, working on the same project for long hours. Some of you will discover that it can get lonely. Be ready for that and try to schedule some connect-with-the-outside-world time. It can be challenging with this Covid-19 epidemic, but you might see a difference to your emotions just using video calling. Step into the times and use your Facetime or similar apps if you are using an android and show your face.

Once you are set up and working with a set routine you might find that working at home can be something that you make work for you. These tips may not be for everyone, should be helpful to many employees. We are in this together and we should thank everyone who are following instructions, abiding by the “Stay At Home” orders and wearing masks in support of not spreading the virus. Whether you are a believer or not, keep up the good work.

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