The last few weeks have been, in a word, interesting.
With the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, and hitting the United States hard in the last few weeks, people are being encouraged to socially distance themselves and work from home when possible.
As many of us know, however, the transition from office life to working from home isn’t always seamless for those of us who have never done it before. If you find yourself being asked to work from home and are still trying to get your sea legs under you, here are a few of our recommendations for getting started:
- Have a routine. Chances are, you have a routine for work: shower at 6am, grab a cup of coffee on the way into the office, check emails when you get in at 8am, etc. The same should be true when you’re working from home. While we’re all tempted to sleep in till 10 and log into that Zoom meeting in our PJs, we’ve found that productivity increases when we have a routine. This is obviously going to look different for different people, but whatever this means for you, try to favor routine over spontaneity.
- Create a separate workspace. If you have the room for it in your house or apartment, set up your workspace in a separate room. (A quiet corner will do in a pinch.) It sounds silly, but the physical segmentation of space makes a difference. You’re not at home–you’re in a home office! Separating your workspace from the rest of your home can help keep you in the right frame of mind–i.e., working rather than slacking off at home.
- Use technology to your advantage. This one is big for us as enterprise mobility solutions providers. If you don’t already have a good handle on work-sanctioned apps and tech (we hope you do!), touch base with someone at your company who can give you the rundown. Whether you’re using Slack to keep up with coworkers, Zoom to facilitate conference calls, or proprietary company apps to manage client information, there has never been a better time for working from home. Use the tools your company provides to your advantage as we all work together to navigate this difficult time.
- Take breaks. Just like you would at your office, it’s essential to take breaks. Every hour or so, stand up, step outside, make yourself a coffee, or find a good way to step away from work for a moment. Segmenting time into “work time” and “break time” is usually a better approach than trying to do multiple things at once.
- Be flexible. Most importantly, be flexible. (This goes for managers and employees.) While many of us have worked from home at some point in our careers, the recent coronavirus pandemic has catalyzed an essentially unprecedented transition to work-from-home for many employees. There will be speed bumps, there will be frustrations, and the first few weeks probably won’t be as productive as regular time in the office. But with the right attitude, we’re all going to get through this together.
For those of us who weren’t already working from home, this is sure to be a difficult, and sometimes frustrating, transition. The good news is that we’re all in this together.
While these tips don’t cover every contingency you may come across as you make the move to working from home, we hope they’re helpful. Before we know it, the world will be back to normal and working from home will be an optional choice rather than a necessary mandate. Good luck!