3 Tips for Working from Home
To say that COVID-19 has transformed the world is an understatement. There’s a lot of global uncertainty and anxiety resulting from the changes currently taking place. Unemployment is at historic highs, while many of those who are still working are working from home. And if that weren’t enough, many are also having to act as schoolteachers for their children at the same time.
It’s during a moment like this that it can be helpful to hear from people who are accustomed to working remotely.
Below are three critical tips from two remote OSV employees based in the U.K., Gayle Henderson, professional services associate consultant, and Reg Vellem, professional services integrations consultant.
1. Create a Dedicated Workspace
“The most important tip is to find a work area away from distractions, where you can be comfortable,” Reg says. “I’m a lot more productive working from home than when I get to the office as I have less distractions.”
But he adds that, within this current crisis, finding a distraction-free place to work can be a challenge. “With children now off school, you have to make allowances for noise and interruption as young children could stray into your workspace.”
2. Try to Maintain a Routine
When you’re working from home, it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day, but Gayle doesn’t recommend it.
“Make sure you have a routine,” she says. “You wouldn’t go to the office in your pajamas.” Instead, she encourages employees who are working remotely to “get dressed and show up.”
But that’s not the only way to maintain a routine while working remotely.
“Before I worked from home, I used to cycle to the office most mornings,” Reg says. “I kept that part of my routine for a long time after I started working remotely. It helped me get out into the fresh air and prepare mentally for the day ahead.”
And just as you would take breaks at the office, do the same thing at home. Make a cup of coffee and stretch your legs.
“But leave the snack cupboard alone,” Gayle advises. “It’s not your friend.”
Employees also have to remember that working from home takes discipline.
“It’s not about catching up with your laundry or watching a bit of Netflix,” Reg says. “On the other hand, managers need to be trusting and give space to remote workers, unless there is a reason for closer monitoring.”
3. Leverage Technology to Stay Connected
These days, it’s possible to be productive almost anywhere as long as you have a strong and secure internet connection. And for many people right now, the internet is what’s keeping family, friends and employees connected.
“It can be very lonely working from home,” Gayle says. “When you’re in the office, it’s easier and quicker to get a face-to-face response whereas when you work from home, you have to wait.”
Thankfully, with tools like Slack, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and many others, it’s easier for coworkers to maintain contact. But it doesn’t all have to be about business.
“Make sure you have conversations with your team members that’s not about work,” Gayle says.
Many teams are now using these same tools to host virtual happy hours or lunchtime chats to maintain their connection with one another while working apart.
Remember That We’re in This Together
Working at home during a global pandemic isn’t the same as working from home under normal conditions, but the same principles apply.
What’s different is the need for managers and other team members to practice patience and understanding.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the world, and some have felt its impacts more acutely than others. But there isn’t a single person who hasn’t seen their life change over the course of the last few weeks and months. It’s helpful to remember that the entire world is literally in this fight together, and together we will get through this.