Working at Home? Here’s What to Do:
Telecommuting, or working from home, has been on the rise for several years now as improved technology has made it easier to connect and collaborate. All of a sudden, however, many more workers have been asked to stay home in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, and with very little time to prepare.
If you’re new to telecommuting, here are some tips to get you off on the right foot.
Find your space. While you don’t need an office in the literal sense of the term, an area that’s private and free of distractions – and still within range of your Wi-Fi router – is best. If there’s a door you can close to shut out distractions, better still. Pay attention to what you’ll be sitting on and using as a desk, also. Office furniture is designed to be used all day, but your dining room chair and your back may not get along all that well.
Dress for success. Theoretically, you could work all day in your pajamas if you don’t have any videoconferencing responsibilities. But studies show we do better work when we’re dressed for the work we do. Prepare yourself as though you’re going to the office.
Discipline is key. There are more distractions at home, especially if the kids are around, as they are for many of us. It takes some discipline to stay on task when Netflix is calling you to the couch, or when it’s a nice day outside. Try to observe the same work routine as you would if you weren’t at home.
Take breaks. Having discipline doesn’t mean chaining yourself to the desk for eight hours. Set alarms to remind you to get up and move around for at least a few minutes every hour. This is especially important at home, where your work setup may not be as ergonomically friendly as the office.
Be a video star. If you are videoconferencing, see the previous tip about how to dress (at least from the waist up). The best spot for this not be the space where you’re doing most of your work. You want a well-lit area (lit from the front, not from a window behind you … you’ll disappear into the shadows), and a neutral background so as not to distract other participants. Test out your webcam and speakers well before the call, especially the webcam, so you get a good look at how others will see you and can make adjustments if necessary. And again, if you can be away from kids, dogs and outside noises, your meeting will go more smoothly. Know where the ‘mute’ button is on the software and use it as needed if things get noisy on your end.
Finally, relax. We’ve just undergone a seismic change in the numbers of people working from home, and everyone understands that many of us are new at it. People won’t judge you too harshly if a dog barks or if your child goes running through the background on your video call.
Questions about getting set up at home? Contact OFL.