Tips on Working from Home
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and on the advice of public health officials, businesses and organizations have moved to telework operations for many staff members. As such, SLTX has some helpful tips for employees who may be experiencing remote work for the first time.
It will take time to transition
You might be used to working with multiple monitors and sitting among peers and colleagues during the day. In your new work environment, it may take time to adjust to completing tasks on your laptop and having minimal social interaction. Likewise, working alone may make you feel isolated or anxious or, on the other hand, productive and energized. Many people have weeks or months to adjust to working from home so cut yourself some slack if you need time to get used to your new work environment.
Have a conversation with your supervisor or team so you’re on the same page about what your priorities should be and how you can reach each other, whether it’s by phone, email, or chat. Make sure you talk about the projects you’re working on and let your colleagues know if something changes so you’re all informed. If you’re used to catching up with co-workers during the day, check in with them to retain that element of human connection. Additionally, set a time when you’re “in the office” and communicate these times to your colleagues and family.
Create a routine
You’re used to following a schedule every morning and during the day. Even when you’re working from home, go through the same steps to get ready as you would to physically go into work. This will put you in a professional mindset and create a separation in your mind so the hours don’t run together. If you usually work from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, keep those hours while you’re remote. Likewise, if you usually complete tasks in a certain order, follow the same pattern while you’re at home. Use the time when you would usually be traveling to the office to make breakfast, take a walk, or accomplish another personal goal.
Keep your workspace separate
Set aside a desk or table that will be used as your “office” while you’re working remotely. Make sure you feel comfortable in this space and it’s quiet enough that you can take phone calls and won’t be distracted. Keep it separate from the rest of your house so there’s a distinction between when you’re at “work” and when you’re at “home.” Once the workday has ended, leave this space for the night and close the door, whether literally or just mentally.
Create a to-do list
Go over the tasks and projects you’ll work on throughout the day so you don’t lose sight of your priorities and deadlines. Set goals and time limits for each task. This will help you stay focused on each one and keep you from jumping from one item to the next. If you need to, break up large goals into smaller pieces and set individual deadlines for each part so you can continue making progress without getting overwhelmed.
Even if you don’t realize it, most people take natural breaks at work, whether it’s grabbing a cup of coffee, walking to the printer or mail room, or chatting with a colleague. When you’re at home, it may be easier to sit in front of the computer without realizing how much time has passed. Incorporate breaks into your day where you can step away from your work. If you need to, set a timer for breaks and lunch. The change of scenery will make you feel refreshed and can increase productivity.