By Jennifer Parris
As the cases of Coronavirus continue to climb, more and more people have become remote workers. While that might sound exciting to most (hello, no commuting!), working from home certainly takes some time to get used to, especially if you haven’t done it before. And then, add in home schooling children, and, well, a remote job might sound more like a nightmare than a blessing right about now. But there are ways to make working from home work for you, so that you stay successful–and sane. Here’s how.
Set Up A Workspace
If you thought that you could work from any old space in your home, think again. In order to produce the best results, you’re going to need to have a dedicated workspace where you can set up. But don’t choose a high-traffic area (like your kitchen counter) where you’ll be subject to incessant interruptions. Ideally, choose a room where you can work in peace and quiet (like a guest bedroom). And if space is at a premium, look for a nook where you won’t be disturbed, like the dining room table.
Troubleshoot Your Tech
When you worked in a traditional office, you didn’t think twice if your computer suddenly stopped functioning. When you work remotely, though, you become the IT guy, too. So, take some time to go through your equipment to make sure that it will be capable of the demands you’re about to put on it. Ask your company for a computer loaner if need be, so that you don’t put too much strain on your own personal gear. And be sure to test your WiFi connection, since you’ll need it to be lightning fast so that you can get your work done at a proper pace. For security purposes, be sure your server is secure and change your password often so confidential information is not compromised.
Stick To A Schedule
If it’s possible, try to stick to the same work schedule you had when you were working outside the home. Although it might be easier said than done, having a set schedule can offer some semblance of normalcy in these challenging times. It will help to keep your productivity up and avoid spending too much time doing non-work-related things, like surfing the Internet or going to the fridge for the fourth time this morning for a snack.
Even if you do everything in your power to be productive, understand that working from home is definitely a challenge. You’re subject to a whole host of new challenges that you might never have faced before (i.e. working from home with children). So, try to manage your expectations and be realistic about what you can really get done. You might find that you’ll have to stop and start your workday at various points to accommodate your kids and get your work done, too. Just try not to get frustrated and know that many workers are now dealing with the same issues as you.
Stay In Touch
One of the cornerstones of remote work is the ability to communicate effectively not just with coworkers, but your boss as well. In fact, when your company goes remote, there’s really no such thing as too much communication. You should keep everyone informed of what you’re working on and report any issues so that everyone is on the same page. Also, it can help to create a connection that you might be missing now that you’re telecommuting.
When you work from home, it’s easy to get caught up in work and trying to perfect that presentation. Studies have found that remote workers take far fewer breaks than their in-office colleagues. So, if you have a tendency to lose track of time, be sure to set a timer every 90 minutes or so, even if it’s just to get up and stretch your legs. You’ll actually be more productive if you take a break, and then return to your desk more refreshed than before.
As more companies adopt remote work policies, it’s important to know how to understand what it takes to work from home. With some practice (and some trial and error), you’ll find a groove that allows you to reap the benefits of remote work life—and prioritize you and your family’s health.