For most of us, the comfort of our home has also become our newest office space because of the global pandemic COVID-19. This change in the work environment powered by the internet revolution comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Technologies like Skype, Facetime, Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, authenticator apps, and cloud computing, along with texting and emailing, have taken the work-from-home landscape by storm. It is no longer necessary to be in the office all the time to be considered a beneficial member to your team. Come to think of it, many kinds of work can be done just as effectively from home as from an office.
To remain a productive and vital cog of the team while working from home, you need to identify the differences between your office and home surroundings and make changes to your work habits accordingly.
Through this comprehensive guide, we help you recognize these differences and take the right step according to your existing working habits and personality. Each person works in their own way, and a single solution is not applicable to everyone.
The essence of becoming a pro while working from home can be brought down to two fundamental steps. The first step on this journey would be to make sure you have everything you need to work from home efficiently. Next, identify what makes you go on a work spree, and what distracts you. Once you have answers to these questions, you’re halfway working from home successfully!
The pandemic prompted quarantine does not mean you have to turn into the most productive person ever, take the opportunity to create the work-family balance you've been trying so hard to achieve.
Make sure you grab a snack before we dive into the process of becoming a work-from-home superstar!
Get the Tools You Need
The first advice you will get is to invest in various work tools, such as a standing desk or a separate work computer. If you have the resources and opportunities to do this and think it will help you (all the more, if your company will compensate you for these expenses), go for it. Find out what tools will be provided for by your company and what you will have to pay for.
- Reliable internet service (no bargains here)
- Separate office space
- Proper cell network connection
- Clothes that aren't pyjamas (for meetings that now happen over video calls)
- A good desktop setup
Once you have these essentials, you can add to your office materials depending on what the company requires, improves your productivity, and maintains your standard of work. Remember, your home is not your office, and you may not have the same tools as the ones you are used to working with. Make the most of what you have, and if your work gets affected in a significant way, make sure you communicate this inconvenience to your company.
Having the right furniture to get you in the groove can help you stay focused longer and provide better results. Your bed is meant for sleeping, not for you to type reports in. Find a space where you are comfortable in your home and dedicate it for work purposes. This way, you enter the zone the minute you're in that space and have a physical barrier between your work and personal life like you did when you went to the office.
Establish a Routine, Including Non-Work Hours
This can be the hardest part to get a grip on when you start working from home. Technology that allows bosses and clients to keep in touch continually can leave you working 24/7. Instead, try to start working at the same time every day if you can, and schedule breaks (including meals) around the same time if possible.
As mentioned before, avoid eating in your work area to keep your supplies and hard work smudge-free. Yes, I know it's tempting to take your plate to your laptop and continue working but better safe than sorry.
Ideally, you would get a little physical activity during your commute to work. Now, try to get some free time at least once a day, even if it's just standing in your balcony, so you don’t go too crazy working.
Remain Socially Active!
Working remotely can make you feel isolated at times. As part of your routine, try to interact with your co-workers and family regularly (alternate between them when you've had enough of the other). Texting via messaging apps like Hangouts and holding meetings over Zoom or another video app are two quick and easy ways to keep in touch. Keep your conversations light-hearted and avoid discussing work-related subjects.
The last social advice and the one most of us are guilty of violating is – trying to end work at the same time every day. Obviously, there will be times when a late deadline or project needs after-hours attention, and you have no choice. Next time that 10 PM work email can wait until the following morning for a reply.
Know Your Body and Mind
Go the extra mile and splurge a little extra on a good desk chair if it motivates you to work. You may find that it's a worthy expense; it’s hard to work if your back is bothering you or you’re uncomfortable all the time.
Maintain a proper diet and eat at the right time. It is not okay to push your lunch by a couple of hours because you need to get some work done. By maintaining healthy eating and sleep habits, you've already fought half the battle.
Your eyes are probably going to be the most strained due to the constant need to work on a screen.
Here’s a tip: The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look away from your screen and focus your eyes on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Take care of your mental health too, do not overload yourself with work and then start stressing about it. You may be working from home, but you are still a human. By keeping your body and mind sound, working from home will become a piece of cake.
Remote work is not all sunshine and yoga pants, but it can make life a lot easier by erasing the time of commute to and from work and allow you to figure out what kind of work environment suits you the best. By keeping the above tips in mind, the next time you sit down in your personalized home workspace, you will be prepared and motivated. Happy quarantining!