Working from home effectively
With the current demand to work from home increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I'd share a few tips on making the transition from office work to working from home. Having been a work-from-home worker for the last two years, I wanted to share my top 6 tips for being a successful home worker.
Create a routine
Early in my work from home journey, I found one of the challenges with staying focused at home was that we seldom think of our homes as a place of business with the distractions of our leisure vices around. It's important to stick with the working model you're used to as if you were in an office. Mine for example would include making my coffee at 8am, stretching at 9:30am, having a lunch at 12pm, etc. It's very easy to let the day slip away from you by sitting in front of the screen for 8 hours straight, so satiate your mental health by sticking to a routine.
Keep a dedicated office space
Further to my point about mental health, have a space to yourself that is dedicated for work. This space will allow you to make that distinction from the rest of your home so that when you decide to embrace your downtime, you can mentally disconnect. Furthermore, while you are in your work space, it will assist you in staying focused on work as you've denoted this space away from home.
Just because you're not an arm’s length from your peers doesn't necessarily mean we can be any less connected, there are great tools like Teams and Skype that do an excellent job with bridging the distance through screen sharing/calling/video chat. I regularly find myself messaging team members as if i'm emulating the experience of having them with me in my space. Socializing helps a great deal with the isolation that can seep in from time to time of working from home!
Keep a positive/professional attitude
This might be debatable, but I feel the best way to communicate the positive business-savvy presence that is a hallmark of the service we provide is through face-to-face communication which obviously makes it difficult when you are working remotely. To further compound on this, the lack of meetings can dull the practiced edge of our communication as well which leads to our communication becoming more direct and impersonal. We can combat this by reminding ourselves of our tone and by staying active in communicating with ourselves so that when we need to communicate, your voice is already warmed up and you're ready to dazzle your clients. Keep up a positive & social attitude throughout the day and it'll show in the way we communicate.
It’s normal that as the day goes on there will exist peaks and troughs of productivity and focus. When you find yourself waning, take advantage of the flexibility that exists around you such as taking a walk and getting some fresh air or sitting on the couch and watching your favorite show. The little mental respite you offer yourself will be just what you need to re-gather your focus.
Much like being in an office can have a fair share of disruptions, these too will exist at home whether it’s a visitor at your door or having children at home while you’re working. As much as we want to be isolated while we’re concentrating on a task, disruptions will occur and when they do, provided you’re not with a client, embrace these interactions when possible rather than suppress them as they arise. When I’m busy and my children come for typical toddler chat, I give them a few moments and a few smiles later, I return back to work feeling more energetic and inspired.
- Terence Narain, Development Team Lead