Top 5 WFH Tips
Top 5 tips for working from home
Ever since many of us have been required to work from home, some of us have realized that we don’t want to go back to the office. Working from home is a popular conversation companies are having with their employees right now. While some employees miss going to work, others don’t or are afraid to get sick. Many companies have decided to stick to fully remote work, while others have decided to go the hybrid route, meaning people go into the office a few days a week and the others they get to work from home. Either way, most of us have found ourselves in a position where working from home is a reality at least some of the time. Whether you are full-time or part-time at home, you’ll need a set of skills to make sure it’s successful—for you and your company. Ahead, five tips for making work from home a breeze.
Working from home means you are no longer a cubicle or an office away from your coworker. So make email, Slack, and Zoom your best friends. It's easy for things to slip through the cracks when you’re not in the same space as your coworkers so communication is incredibly important for both the big matters (like deadlines and major updates) and small things (like where did that document go?). Having regular on-screen meetings with your team to touch base helps you avoid projects falling through the cracks. It keeps everyone on the same page and provides structure, and it also promotes a healthy virtual-office culture. Seeing people (albeit on screen) is helpful in gauging morale and keeping any employees from feeling too isolated.
It was difficult to miss a team meeting when your coworkers walked by your desk on their way to remind you. Without the physical reminders, it’s easy to lose track of time and forget. It’s so important to keep your Google Calendar up to date and to set alerts that remind you of any upcoming meetings. You can also share your calendar with team members or allow team members to see when you are free so that they can schedule time to meet. Knowing who has RSVP’d yes to a Google Calendar invite lets you know who to expect to hop on the Zoom call. Google Calendar is not only great for scheduling meetings but it's also great for putting in other reminders, like big deadlines or even a reminder to go outside and take a walk if you tend to forget to schedule breaks.
A major perk of working from home is that you have more freedom to decorate and organize your workspace. If you have the room in your house or apartment, converting a space into your office is ideal. Obviously, you’ll want a good desk and chair, one that keeps you comfortable throughout the workday. But it’s just as important to decorate your workspace in your personal style—it doesn’t have to be elaborate but it should be some place you enjoy aesthetically. The environment you work in can really have an impact on the way you work. Have you ever tried to work from bed and found it’s difficult? It's because your body is used to sleeping and unwinding in that space, not working. Not having a proper workspace can affect your productivity and efficiency if it's not to your liking. Having an “office space” helps your body and mind to know that when you are there, it's to work.
This is probably going to be the trickiest one out of all the tips, but being interrupted by family members or roommates is one of the quickest ways to have your productivity derailed. Working from home can become extremely stressful depending on your living situation. Working parents who share their space with their kids have it particularly tough. It’s helpful to communicate with those you live with and establish boundaries. This is obviously trickier with young children, but try to set up signals so that they know when you are on calls, when you are taking a break, and when you need to not be distrubed. It can be difficult for children to understand you are “at work” when you are technically “at home,” so talking about it is a very good first step. Even with other adults, it’s helpful to communicate what you need out of a work environment and stick to your ground rules so you don’t find yourself catching up on work well into the night. If you are living with roommates or a partner who is also working from home, establish a schedule for any shared office space so that you aren’t talking over each other on calls.
If you’ve been working from home for a year now, you’ve probably learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. As working from home becomes more permanent, it’s good to remember that you can always change things up and sometimes it’s necessary. What worked last season or last year may no longer be working. Perhaps working from your office has been really productive in the past but you are starting to feel burnt out and uninspired. Maybe it’s time to go to a coffee shop to work a couple of times a week. Perhaps your team has had good communication but you have a bunch of new members and you feel like some people don’t feel as connected. Maybe it’s time to schedule some more Zoom team-bonding sessions. Or, maybe you feel like your team has Zoom fatigue—too many on-screen meetings has everyone mentally exhausted. Suggest catch-ups with your team members via phone while you go for a walk instead of being glued to your computer just to change it up once in a while.
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Written By: Aixa Brandt