Working from a home office requires different thinking. You must stay connected and maintain or even improve your productivity to keep work flowing. There are many things you can do to stay on target and in touch with your colleagues.
How Can I Make Working from Home a Success?
Working from home (or working from anywhere, for that matter) becomes a way of life once you get into your groove. Here are five crucial tips and tricks to get you started.
1. Self Motivation
You are in charge of planning your day. No one will be holding you accountable for in-person supervision. You are responsible for the volume of work you produce, so it’s helpful to be self-driven. I work from home every day and find that creating a daily task list keeps me from becoming easily distracted.
I also suggest that you keep Parkinson’s Law in mind. As articulated by its namesake, Cyril Northcote Parkinson, this concept suggests: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Set goals for yourself and stick with them or else the task that you allow yourself three days to complete will indeed take you three days to complete.
2. Eliminate Distractions
Working from home most definitely comes with a whole new level of challenges. Is your laundry basket overflowing? Does the dishwasher need to be emptied? Does the living room need to be vacuumed? Stop. Just like when you work in an actual office, all of these things can wait. I recommend you knock all these items out in the evening so you can “walk into work” the next day without these worries.
Also, while it’s tempting to have visitors over during the day, this can be incredibly stressful. If someone drops by while you are working, make sure you tell them they’re only welcome to stay during your lunch break or to come back after work hours. The same goes if you have children. If they are not old enough to take care of themselves, you should arrange childcare just as you would if you worked physically in the office.
3. Maintain a Dedicated Workspace
Can you think clearly with clutter around? I most definitely can’t. I have a dedicated home office and this is incredibly important for me. It establishes both a physical and mental boundary for my workspace. When I enter my office, it’s time to work. When I walk out of my office, everyone in my house knows my work is complete and they can talk to me. It’s really as simple as that. My office is, well, my office. It’s my personal workspace, and I expect my family to treat it the same as my colleagues would if I left home and went to work at Onix HQ for the day.
Until I exit it, I request they pretend I’m not in the house. This is important for maintaining my productivity. Having an organized desk to work at and this physical office boundary is equally important. And if you are in a meeting, close the door or have a predetermined way to communicate to anyone who is home that you can’t be interrupted.
4. Office Technology
This is important. Your corporate-issued technology should be used only for work purposes. This is for the protection of your company and to protect your customers. Remember to maintain this boundary.
Also, ensure your internet speed is sufficient for the work you need to complete. If you are on a video meeting, and the video begins to lag, disable your camera. Also, be sure to remain on mute if you have any background noise and aren’t required to be talking. It’s so hard to control things like a dog barking, the garbage truck driving by or a Ring doorbell being set off when a package is delivered. The mute function will be your friend for all things that make noise but which are completely out of your control.
Be sure to control the disruptions you can like making sure the dog is not in your office when you are on a client-facing meeting, because you never know what noise might come from this spunky fellow.
5. Maintain Communication
Just because you aren’t working in the corporate office, that doesn’t mean you need to work in a silo. Communicate with your co-workers and stay in the loop to avoid remote worker FOMO (fear of missing out).
Embrace all the G Suite (or similar) online collaboration tools you have at your disposal. Instant message with your co-workers, use Google Meet for video conferencing and collaborate together in Google Drive. It’s easier to stay virtually connected than you think. In fact, keeping you in the loop likely is one of your supervisor's goals when they are strategizing how to effectively manage a remote team.
While you might not be face to face with your co-workers and management, you will be shocked at just how smoothly technology will keep you connected. And if you are struggling with more work or meeting deadlines, it is essential that you communicate this early and often. Again, you are in control of your own performance.
So if your work from home situation is only temporary or a new way for you to work on a long term basis, keeping these essential tips in mind for working remotely in the cloud will make life easier and keep you feeling part of things at the office.