Typically, we would post a blog about sales, POU systems, or other topics to support your B2B POU venture. The times, however, are not typical.
So, we will change tracks and address the big challenge that many of you are facing right now, how to work from home.
Right now, your company is probably encouraging or requiring people who can work from home. If your company and your employees aren’t already using remote work practices, then you may feel like you are climbing a mountain with a boulder on your back. You are not alone.
The great news is people have been working remotely for years now. So, there are a lot of tools and tips out there to help you keep your employees and yourself, productive and focused.
Although it can be a significant shift, working from home offers many positive aspects.
- Health advantages
- Ability to schedule your day around quality family time
- No commute time or dress codes
- No in-person micromanaging and co-worker interruptions
- Financial savings on
- Dry cleaning costs
- Lunches at restaurants
- Child care costs
Challenges and Solutions
But working from home also has its challenges.
- You may have distractions at home that you don’t have at the office.
- If you thrive in social settings, the isolation may cause depression.
- You can become sedentary and isolated.
- There is no support staff and no IT department to help you.
The good news? There are plenty of solutions to help overcome the challenges inherent in remote work. First and foremost is to take the time to set up a workspace.
Six Tips How to Set up an Efficient Workspace
1. Create a dedicated workspace.
Having a dedicated space where all you do is work will keep you from falling prey to the myriad of distractions that come with working from home.
If you aren’t able to have a dedicated space, then create an office ritual that tells you, “it’s work time.” For example, when your laptop is hooked up to an external monitor, “it’s work time.”
2. Two computers are better than one.
Ideally, employees who work from home would have a computer for work and one for personal use. Not only does this ensure more security for the employer, but it also helps minimize distractions.
If your company has already provided separate computers or laptops for employees, then you are ahead of the game.
If employees have to work on their computers from home, this is not ideal, but these are imperfect times, and we have to work with what we have for now.
3. Keep the supplies you use most often within reach.
It may take some time to figure out what those supplies are. Getting up to find supplies or files could give you a little exercise, but it also wastes time and opens you up to distraction.
A quick tip: the first time you have to get up from your desk to get something, find a place for it to live in your work area.
4. Set up your space for video-conferencing.
This one is easy to forget until you get on a video conference and realize that your cat’s litter box, a box of Oreos, and your dirty laundry are all in the frame.
Skype calls, and zoom meetings may happen daily. Set up your desk and background so that it looks professional and represents the employee that you want people to see.
5. Consider setting up a separate phone number
If your company can’t forward calls to employees, then you may want to set up a work number that is separate from your number for use by clients, customers, or colleagues.
If a work call comes in on your private phone outside of your work hours, you’ll be tempted to answer the phone. And vice versa.
Having a second number will support your work-life balance. The other number could be a second mobile phone, a SIM card, or even a free VoIP service, such as Google Voice or a Skype number.
6. Learn how to use tools for remote workers.
Odds are your company has already chosen project and time management apps to support their newly created remote workforce like:
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Services
If you weren’t already using these tools, you need to take time to learn how to use them. You may also need to pull up a few for yourself to help manage your time now that you are working at home.
Let’s Talk Work From Home Do’s
Remote workers have to decide:
- When to work
- Where to work
- How to create boundaries between work and personal life
For many who have been working in office environments, this is a whole new world. Don’t fret.
We’ve made a list of do’s and don’ts to help you and your employees create your own “work from home” best practices.
1. Be computer savvy, and if you aren’t, find someone who is.
The majority of your work will be done on your computer. Do your best to know everything from how to use a variety of software, how to update programs, and how to keep your computer running smoothly.
If you already know that navigating your way around tech issues and concerns is not your strong suit, ask for help.
If your company:
- Has IT support they can help you over the phone.
- Doesn’t have IT support, find a friend or colleague who excels at technology.
2. Cut yourself and your co-workers some slack.
Right now, people have to juggle intense amounts of:
Not only that, but employees who have never worked from home are being thrown into unknown territory and having to do their best to climb a steep technological learning curve.
If you get frustrated with yourself or a colleague, take a few breaths, and walk around the block before you react.
3. Find socially responsible ways to get out of the house.
Getting penned up in front of the computer for days on end will make anyone crazy. During your breaks, go outside.
- Take a walk.
- Pull some weeds.
- Talk to a neighbor.
- Clean the car.
- Get some take-out from a local restaurant that could use your support.
- Walk a dog.
- Get sun on your skin and fresh air in your lungs.
- Be creative.
Just find ways to get out of the house and participate in life!
4. Make healthy choices.
It’s easy to get sedentary when you work from home. Schedule time to:
- Take walks
- Dance around the house during
- Keep healthy snacks in your fridge
- Drink plenty of water
5. Maintain regular hours.
If you liked your work schedule when you were going into the office, stick to it. If it’s easy to lose yourself in work or play, then having regular hours is imperative to maintain a work-life balance.
You may like some flexibility with co-workers and excel at self-supervision. If so, you may not need to keep the same hours every day.
6. Create routines.
Routines are habits that will help your mind and body know when it’s time to work and when it’s time to quit.
In the morning, your routine might be as simple as pouring a cup of coffee, setting it on your desk, and turning on the computer.
A close of workday routine might look like shutting down the computer and going out to get the mail.
7. Set boundaries with yourself and others.
If you share your space with your family, you will need to set ground rules around your work time. It may take time for your children to understand that you are not available to play or help them with schoolwork during your work hours.
You may also find it necessary to set some boundaries with yourself about what you are allowed to do during work and what you are not.
8. Take scheduled breaks in their entirety.
Follow your company’s policy on break times and take them. It may be tempting to cut your lunch short, but don’t do it! That is the fastest way to burn yourself out.
9. Ask for what you need.
If you need equipment or support, let your company know as soon as you realize that you need it. Your company may have a budget to cover specific equipment.
If you’re working from home unexpectedly, be reasonable about what you request, but don’t hesitate to ask. You should be as comfortable as possible and have what you need to be productive.
10. Socialize with co-workers.
To combat loneliness, disconnect, and isolation, find ways to socialize. Likely, your company has already set up chat channels where employees can talk about common interests or offer each other support.
If your company has not set these types of venues, ask them to or be proactive and set up your own if necessary.
It’s up to you to decide how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even highly introverted people who don’t like socializing should attempt a few interactive experiences to familiarize themselves with the process so that they know how to use them if they ever need them.
11. Attend meetings and be visible.
Attend all required meetings- and any optional meetings that you can. This will help you stay connected with your team.
It’s essential to make your presence known, especially on phone meetings. Even if you just say hello or goodbye.
12. Get Face Time.
Even if you are required to stay at home, face time is essential for a work culture to thrive. Being face to face doesn’t have to be in person; weekly video calls will work just as well until we can all be in the same room together again.
13. Use your sick days.
If you are not well, take time off, especially if you have sick days built into your compensation package. If you don’t have a compensation package that includes sick days, take them anyway.
It’s crucial you stay on top of your health, rest when you need to, and get better quickly so that you can be at your most productive.
Make sure everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability knows about it. When you finish a project or task, communicate that to your team.
When working remotely, you may need to repeat yourself more than you did when you worked in an office. That’s okay. Better for people to remember than for something to be missed and be a problem.
15. Positively communicate.
Concise and clear messages are crucial when your team works remotely, but don’t sacrifice courtesy and positivity. Try using exclamations points or emojis if appropriate.
You might feel a little overly positive, but it’s better to come off excessively positive than rude. Remember, people can’t read tone in a text or email.
Dress to impress.
Wearing your pajamas all day long may be easy, or even fun, but over time it can have adverse psychological effects.
- Eat breakfast
- Brush your teeth
- Get dressed
You’ll feel better.
Work at Home Don’ts
1. Don’t discuss your personal life.
Because you’re at home, it may be natural or tempting to slip into discussions about personal activities with business colleagues, but don’t do it. Keep all work-related conversations professional.
2. Don’t multi-task.
Do your best to stay focused and avoid starting on one project and then bouncing to another without finishing the first one. This will leave you in a state of confusion and exhaustion.
3. Don’t give in to distractions.
Remote workers must be accountable for themselves. Put off household tasks, errands, and other domestic distractions until you’ve ended your workday.
Limit your time reading emails, scrolling through social media, and searching websites that are unrelated to work.
4. Don’t be hard on yourself.
If you haven’t been working from home, then this is all new to you, and it will take time for you to adapt.
And the truth is, not everyone has the personality traits needed to work from home effectively. Be compassionate with yourself and others during this time. And remember, it’s only temporary.
We Are Here For You
If there is anything we can do to support you during this time, please reach out. Even though some of us are working from home too, our doors are still open.