Maintaining productivity while working from home can be a challenge for even the most focused remote employees. With the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic many people who have no experience working remotely are finding themselves in this situation. It is crucial to maintain social distancing so working remotely can be a positive step. Like with anything in life working from home as pro’s and con’s, and each of us have different personalities so will have different challenges. Here are a few tips that can help most of us overcome these challenges in this difficult time.
1. Hold Regular Work Hours: Set a schedule and stick to it! If you were working in the office, you would probably hold a set schedule or close to it. Having a set schedule at home can help you and your employer maintain productivity and keep in touch with each other. It can also assist with your work life balance. Knowing when your working and when you’re not, can allow your family to know when your available for home activities and when you need quite time to work.
2. Set Rules with Others in your Home: Inform your family or others in your home with expectations of when and where you will be working. That way they can limit distractions and have a good understanding of when your available to them.
3. Schedule your Breaks and Lunch: Let your co-workers and employer know when you plan to take breaks. That way there is an expectation when you will be unavailable. When an employer has this time set with them, they can better understand when you will be away from your PC and when they can expect you to return.
4. Keep a Dedicated Office: Set aside a place in your home where you work. Make sure that place is free of distractions of any kind. A challenge many people face when working form home is distractions. The way we act at home is often different from the way we act in the office. We are not used to having TV’s, Video Games, or Social Media in our offices the way we do at home. Having a dedicated space free from distractions can really assist us in staying productive at home. By setting a place to work in the home with only the tools we need to work can often keep our productivity as high as in the office. Distractions are a common problem some people struggle with so having this space can really help
5. Ask for what you need: Your employer wants nothing more than for you to be successful at home. Make sure you are asking for all the tools you need to be a successful remote worker. This often includes things like a computer, keyboard, or a dedicated phone. Having a separate phone number can really help maintain work life balance at home. Even if you don’t have a separate landline, you can get a VoIP number from Google Voice or Skype. Microsoft Teams also allows calling for users of Microsoft Office. Teams is a great resource for talking to your coworkers.
6. VPN: Whenever you are connected to a network that you don’t control make sure you are using a VPN. Many companies have their own VPN’s for offsite employees who are working remotely. In this digital age you must be careful and make sure you are connected to a VPN whenever you are connected. It is also important to note that while you are connected to your company VPN even on your own computer your employer can conceivably see what your doing so make sure you are on work appropriate sites.
7. Stay in touch and social with your colleagues: At work in the office you have social conversations with your colleagues its important to do that when working from home also. Loneliness and isolation are commonly pointed to issues with people who work from home and maintaining a social relationship with your work colleagues can really help. If you have something to discuss with a coworker give them a call and don’t only focus on the work item, you have to discuss. Ask them how they are dealing with this difficult time and tell them about your experience. Maintaining these work relationships will help you and them be successful during this trying time.
8. Overcommunicate: Working remotely requires you to over communicate! When you are not seen in the office it is imperative that you make yourself herd.
9. Be positive: It is a difficult time for all of us today so be positive and maintain that positivity to your employer and colleagues. Attempt to be positive to the point where you feel like you are being overly positive. Positivity is more contagious than COVID-19 and that will help not only you but all of those you interact with in this difficult time.