As COVID-19 spreads, many people are being asked to work from home—sometimes for the first time in their careers. It’s a transition that requires some planning and adapting.
For the past 8 years, I’ve been working remotely for Business Talent Group, a company that was built to champion new ways of working. Our team has been highly distributed since its inception more than a decade ago, while successfully serving clients at F1000 companies.
Here are my tips on how to work from home and be just as productive as you are in the office:
Designate a workspace
Just because you’re no longer in the office doesn’t mean you don’t need an office. When choosing a workspace, here are some things to consider:
- Stay away from your bedroom and try to find space that is quiet, away from household distractions, and ideally has a door you can close.
- Take a look around and make sure your background is presentable and you have adequate lighting for any video calls.
- Set this workspace up as you would your desk in your office, with all essentials nearby—pens, notebook, water bottle, etc.
Maximize the value of your tech
When thinking about how to work from home, it’s important to go the extra mile to stay connected with your colleagues. Here’s how:
- Whenever possible, turn regular phone calls into video calls and ask all participants to turn their cameras on.
- If a topic requires discussion, opt for a quick video call instead of a lengthy email—you’ll get many of the same brainstorming benefits as you would in a regular office setting.
- Missing out on watercooler chats? Schedule a virtual coffee with colleagues and clients using a video call.
Don’t lose yourself in your work
It’s easy for your work to bleed into every hour of your life when working remotely, but there are several easy ways to combat this:
- Create a start time for yourself and stick to your morning routine—including putting on real clothes—before starting work.
- As the day progresses, make sure to take breaks to eat and stretch before returning to your computer.
- If you’re craving a little more physical activity, try taking phone calls while walking around the block.
- Designate a time when your day ends so you can wrap up and move on to other parts of your life.
Set clear expectations with family and roommates
For family members and roommates, it may take some time to adjust to the fact that while you may be at home, you’re not actually available to them. Here’s how to make the transition easier:
- Have a conversation with them in advance about your work schedule and availability
- Figure out a signal for anything truly urgent
Go easy on yourself
Lastly, don’t forget that it’s challenging to have your entire work routine upended on short notice. So go easy on yourself the first few days and weeks as you figure out how to work from home:
- Build in extra time to tackle new technology
- Think about what improvements you can make to improve your work from home set-up
About the AuthorMore Content by Laura Klein