Right now, plenty of individuals who never considered working from home have no choice but to do so. They have been told by the local government or their employer that it’s the safest thing to do, so they’ve been thrown into a situation they have never had to deal with before. Working from home always sounds like a fantastic idea (usually when you can’t be bothered to get out of bed and commute to work), but the reality is very different from the idea of lazing around the house in pajamas.
Working from home due to Coronavirus is also very different from being given the choice. It’s not a comfortable situation to be in because the choice has been taken away from you. Choice is one of the most important things that you need when you are at work, but here you are along with everyone else, waiting for the virus to go and working from home. You need to make this work from home setup as comfortable a setup as possible, and we have a list of things for you here that will help you to do that. You need to be supported by your team, your employer, and your own IT system and that takes some time and some tweaking to get right.
So, with this in mind, let’s take a look at a list of ways you can ensure that your work from home experience is comfortable enough to feel good about it!
Start With What You Have
When it comes to working from home, you need to make sure it’s feasible. If you’re running the business, you need to make sure that you have a policy in place that people understand. If you are not the boss, you need to make sure that your space is comfortable. You need good lighting, the right kind of desk or table to work on and you need good seating, too. You have to build on what you already have to know that you are going to have the right setting in which to work. Working from home is not easy but it is much easier when you can be comfortable while you do it.
Socialize (Kind Of)
Working from home – especially during a pandemic – takes away a lot of the office camaraderie you may have had. The thing is, you are committed to this way of working for as long as it’s unsafe to commute to an office full of people. For your own team, you need to establish policies about working from home and stick to them, but you should also implement Zoom and Skype for more than just meetings. Empowering a team of people to stay connected when they can’t even move desk to desk to chat and socialize is hard. However, it can still be done from home and you can still keep up with the fun from the Zoom calls you make together.
Focus On Work
One of the hardest battles anyone has when they are working from home is to focus on the task at hand. There’s a dog to walk, a refrigerator with all of your favorite things and there are household chores to enjoy, too. It’s not easy to stay focused on work, not when there are a hundred other things to do at home. When you work in your living room, you need to create the right working environment that keeps your mind on your tasks and not on your distractions. Creating a good routine with a timetable of things that you need to do is a must, as is finding a space you can work in that doesn’t have a ton of things that will pique your interest.
Show Your Face
Working from home means that the only way that you can communicate with others is to video conference. Every single laptop has a camera, and every single one of them will work with Skype or Zoom. A big part of feeling connected to your team is going to be in showing your face and chatting. Everything could be done over email, but where’s the fun in that during lockdown? You can hear the tone of voice intended, too, which isn’t always to decipher in an email. With video, you can get your point across and make your meetings far more productive, too.
Don’t Blur The Lines
It is exceptionally hard to know when to stop when you’re working from home. You can go to and from your computer all day long, and then forget that if you were in the office, you’d be home by now. You have to set some strong boundaries, to remember to leave your work for a few hours every day, or you just won’t do it. You have to give yourself permission to stop work at the right time each day and refuse to answer emails and texts after a certain time of day. If you don’t set these boundaries, you will find that you are spending all of your time at work and that’s not worth your mental health.
Get Out Of The House
In a lockdown, you are allowed to walk each day for exercise. You may not always be able to do that, so think about getting away from your desk every hour at the very least. You need to consider your personal wellness so take breaks from your screen and remember to move and hydrate. You have to have success with your work from home plan, and that means that you have to look after yourself.
Get The Best IT Help
If you are working from home with a whole company of other people, you need to know that your data is as protected as possible. For that to be the case, you should consider hiring in the best IT team possible, even if that means using an outside agency. A VPN is going to help you to keep your business and personal data safe – but you have to have the best help.
Stick To The Agenda
If you have to host any meetings in any way, you need to make sure that you have an agenda to stick to for the entire thing. It’s hard not to talk over each other in an online meeting, especially when there is a lag in the system, but you should make a point so that everyone sticks to the right agenda.
Have Fun With It
You may be working from home, but you need to remember that this can be a very isolated situation. You can still have fun as a team, so host a weekly quiz night or send a daily email with a lot of fun and jokes, recognizing that your people need support. The more you make it fun, the better the morale for everyone who is working from home. Be very deliberate about the time you spend chatting and reach out to people on a personal level, too. Don’t overstep the line, though. You’re still at work – even if you don’t share the same four walls.
You need to be in touch with your team and that means that you need to agree with how you work together from a distance. Keep each other accountable and on track to get your tasks done and you’ll be able to continue your business as normal. As you are all working separately, you have to trust each other with the tasks set so that you can keep the team harmonious.
Communicate Your Goals
Where you can, you need to communicate your goals with your leaders and your team. You want to share your successes as well as your failures so that you can work together and keep the whole team motivated. Motivation is hard enough to come by when in the office, so it’s not easy to feel motivated at home, sometimes. Recognize this and then remember to communicate.
Stay Flexible & Patient
Everyone is dealing with working from home in different ways and you may handle it differently from your colleagues. Stay flexible with your working practices and you can adjust as you need to for others.
Once you have a good list of practices and policies in place for working from home, think about inviting others into the circle and make your team calls more interesting. Use the breakout functions of online conferencing and have fun with it. You can have guest speakers come online and chat with everyone, and you can change the way you work from home when you do
Working comfortably from home isn’t always easy but with the right policies and processes in place, you can remain connected to your team and working in your business. You can even keep your practices going in the future if others want to work from home once more. Lockdown won’t be forever, but your staff may choose to work from home on occasion, and you now know that it can be done successfully!