Social distancing, quarantines, and closures are happening due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Many companies, including Bicom Systems, are sending their employees to work from home. Thankfully, original remote workers are not facing the effects of this new ‘work-from-home’ lifestyle. But most of us are still adjusting.
A note to employers before diving into ‘Eight Tips to Working from Home.’
It is important to understand that your employees are not going to be as productive as they usually are. Of course, you can provide them with all the proper tools to attend meetings, make phone calls, and more. But in reality, there are just too many distractions at home! Many of your employees will not be working from home alone. Multiple schools and daycares have closed and other businesses are implementing remote work as well. Now your employees have the distraction of children, family members, and pets. Not to mention Netflix, video games, chores, social media, and other home distractions.
After you provide your employees with the proper UC solutions to work from home, you should provide them with these tips!
Now, we wouldn’t call ourselves ‘experts’ on working from home, but we do manufacture work from home solutions AND employ remote workers all around the world. We asked our remote employees to share some of their tips!
Tip #1 from Laura in Bolivia:
🤸♀️Flexibility of Working from Home💪
“This tip may not work for everyone, but I really prefer starting work early and working straight through with no lunch break! For example, from 6:00 AM to 1:00 PM or 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM. It helps me focus without interruptions and then I have the afternoon free for other stuff. It helps that I’m a morning person too!”
Working from home offers way more flexibility than working in an office does. Employees avoid their traditional drive or public transportation commute. They can log in as early as they want or take advantage of the extra time for sleep. Whatever you prefer, it is essential to set a start time and know when to call it a day.
Tip #2 from Phillip in the UK:
👩💻Create a Dedicated Work Area👨💻
“It is important to try and create a dedicated work area like a desk in a room that you may not regularly use. You could use an old bedroom or even a dining room table. Make sure the space stays neat and organized just like your office would. (By doing this, it also keeps the person you live with happy that you are not making a mess😉) You know what they say, untidy room, untidy mind!”
Choosing a dedicated spot to work in, away from your bedroom, will put you in “work mode” as soon as you sit down! Laura also added the importance of having all your work stuff together when you start working. This way you don’t have to keep going to get things like a computer charger, headphones, etc. Having your items nearby will limit the number of distractions.
Tip #3 from Laura:
“If you’re struggling to focus or keep getting distracted, put in some earphones and listen to something. Sometimes I just listen to the music I like, but if I’m really struggling to focus I’ll put on instrumental or classical music. Noise-canceling headphones make a huge difference!”
“Also, if you can’t stop thinking of things to get done around the house, keep a notebook by your side and write down everything that comes to mind. This gets it out of your mind and you can remember to do it later when you’re done working.”
Speaking of distractions… working from home has many! Of course, you are tempted to put on your favorite show and let it play in the background. While working in the den, you can’t stop thinking about the renovations that need to be done. And let’s not get started on the pile of laundry calling your name. Do what you can to limit distractions, but do not forget to take breaks!
Tip #4 from Phillip:
“Maintaining a work-life balance is really important. When your office hours stop, you stop working as you need a break. Walk away from the computer screen, take your lunch break, and don’t short-change yourself.”
Taking quick breaks from your computer is exactly what a remote worker needs to keep up with productivity. Most people who work from home are isolated most of the day and do not have the luxury of face to face interaction with coworkers.
Tip #5 from both Phillip and Laura:
📅Follow the Same Routine⌚
“When working from home, follow the same routine you would when going into the office. Shower, get dressed (do NOT work in your pajamas) and start your day how you normally would. By doing so, you feel like your official workday has begun and not like it is the weekend or a holiday.”
It may sound silly, but this tip is extremely important! Unfortunately, the COVID-19 virus is still spreading and employers do not know when their employees can return to work. Sticking to a routine helps not only productivity levels, but also a person’s mental health.
Tip #6 from Steve in France:
📝Learn from Experience of Others📚
“Week one is the adjustment period. Week two is when you find your rhythm to working from home. Week three is the start of the risk of the blues…It is important to learn from others at this time.”
You can read as many tips for working from home as you want. But you really won’t learn until you go through it. For some of us, we are just in the beginning, and others are already well into week five. Learn from the experience of others and listen to your body. Trial and error will help you navigate how to work from home successfully. Ask your co-workers, friends, and neighbors how they are doing it! We are all in this together.
Tip #7 from Steve in France:
⏳Longer Lunch Breaks🥪
“Unfortunately, some places in the world are implementing earlier curfews due to COVID-19. Meaning, they are struggling to make it to the market in time for their groceries or to walk their dogs. If you need a longer lunch break in the day, take one.”
As we mentioned before, working from home is an adjustment. An adjustment that many of us are still navigating. New rules and regulations are implemented daily to help contain the spread of the virus. It is essential to take breaks while working from home, and if you require a longer one to get necessities, please take one. Aside from the required meetings, employees have the ability to set their own schedules.
Tip #8 from Steve in France:
📅Daily Meetings to Collaborate👨👩👧👦
“Even though you aren’t in the office, it is essential to still meet and collaborate with coworkers. Of course, the spontaneity won’t be there, and you will need to do a little more planning but nonetheless, is still important.”
Whether it is a phone call, video conference, or group chat, do not forget to meet! If you find you lack creativity, check in with your co-workers. Quick meetings may sound like a waste of time to some, but for others, it can really help. Especially if they live alone and are lacking social interaction. Remember, check-in, meet, and collaborate!
After reading these eight tips, the basics are simple. Stick to a typical working day and don’t get sucked into working after hours. If you don’t stop, you’ll end up burning out faster. The location in the world really doesn’t matter if you have the proper tools to communicate.
Stay safe, stay connected and employers remember, productivity will be affected. But, this too shall pass.