Tips for Working From Home

Published June 2020

To prevent further spread of coronavirus, many businesses are asking their employees to work from home. The office can be a breeding ground for bacteria which makes it a perfect environment for the virus to spread.

Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have already asked their employees to work remotely. Your business might be next. Here are some tips to help you be productive while working from home:

Setting your Work Routine at Home

If you have been working in an office environment all your life, it can be tricky to make the switch to remote work. Creating a good routine is a crucial factor in maintaining your work discipline. There is no one around to watch you and make sure you are staying on track. When you begin working at home, you have to motivate yourself to remain on task.

The first step is to avoid all distractions. When you work from home there are distractions galore. Find an area in your house or apartment that removes you from distractions. This might be your bedroom or office, but, make sure you can separate work from play.

Ask your employer to host live, remote office hours. There is no need to interact with your colleagues, it’s more of a virtual timecard. It gets everyone from the workplace logging into work at the same time. This will keep everyone in the same workspace for a few hours and encourage more quality work.

To keep track of how you are spending your time while working from home, try a time management software. Toggl is an online tool that measures how long you are spending on tasks. It then categorizes your data so you can gauge how efficient you are being with your time.

Staying in Touch With Your Employer and Work Colleagues

Make sure your employer sets clear communication guidelines for you and your team. Decide how often you are going to touch base, then set ongoing meeting times to maintain contact. Once you have guidelines in place, be sure to stick to them. If you are not available to chat, you will frustrate your colleagues and employers. At least let them know you have received their messages and will get back to them.

When you work from home, you want to make sure you do the work you're supposed to be doing. You don’t want to spend hours on a task only to find out it wasn’t needed, or another colleague had completed it. Your employers should have project management software in place. These tools allow you to log on and view all the tasks you and your team required to do. If your company does not have a project management software, suggest Trello or Monday.

There are several online tools you can use to make communicating with your team much easier. Slack removes the need for emails and allows you to chat in real-time with your entire team. This is helpful if you’re stuck on a problem and need advice from a colleague. Skype Messaging is another great instant messaging service to streamline online conversation and allow for video conferencing.

Video Meetings

Messaging can be a fast and easy way of staying in contact with your team. Try using calls or video chats instead, this will likely get the answer you need much quicker. It is easier to understand exactly someone wants when speaking to them face to face.

Some online video tools are more targeted towards one on one conversation. You need a program that allows you to talk to your whole work team over video. Choose from a range of video conferencing tools like:

  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts
  • Whereby

To limit any miscommunications, ensure you have a good internet connection at home. It's impossible to work from home on a laggy internet connection. There is nothing more frustrating on a video chat than when it starts to glitch. Try getting faster Wi-Fi, or use a mobile hotspot to avoid this.

Summary

To make sure you are still an efficient machine while you work from home, you need to create a work routine and find a quiet workplace at home to limit any distractions. Use time and project management tools to hold yourself accountable.

Establish clear communication with your team to stay on the same page. Encourage this with regular messaging and video chats. By implementing these tips, you will enjoy the freedom of your new work situation a lot more.