As we’ve seen in the last few months of 2020, working from home is becoming a trend with more and more companies. Previously, remote work has been a possibility for few employees under special circumstances, but with the rise of COVID-19, remote work is becoming the new normal. Facebook and Twitter have both announced plans to keep many of their employees on a remote work basis and are even building plans to switch to a remote workforce entirely. However, as some of us have come to realize, remote work isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.
Working remotely typically requires more self discipline than an office environment and places time management directly in the hands of the employee. Children, pets, and the temptation of getting back in bed, are all big distractions that we have to learn to manage before we can truly make a work-from-home situation just as productive as the office. We know how difficult this can be, so we’ve compiled a few tips on how to get there.
Build Your Workspace
As many of us have come to realize, a laptop in bed is possibly the worst wfh setup possible. In order to effectively begin the work from home transition, we need to build a setup that allows us to focus. As ideal as a desk is at the office, it is understandable that this is not always possible. A seat at a clear dining room table can be a great starting point. If you’re ready to take it up a notch, consider investing in a desk. A computer monitor to connect to your work laptop can go a long way in boosting productivity. Don’t force yourself to go big from the start, and don’t spend a fortune replicating your typical office environment, but also be sure that you are allowing yourself to escape common distractions. Get comfy, but not too comfy.
Download All of Your Daily Software
If you are using a computer that is not your daily work computer, as many of us are, be sure that your current computer is loaded with the software you use on a daily basis. It can be a huge burden to suddenly realize that the software you need in the moment is only installed on your work computer. Be sure to connect with your employer regarding all of your software needs as they might have licenses that you will need to use the programs. If you find yourself running out of storage space after downloading your files and programs, look into using a separate hard drive or a cloud based storage option.
Minimize Your Distractions
One of the biggest issues that working from home presents is all of the distractions that you are typically free from in the office. This can include outdoor noises, pets, children, and the temptations of the home. A great way to go about handling noise distractions is investing in a good pair of noise cancelling head phones. These can work wonders and you might even find yourself surprised at how much they are able to block out. Polishing up on your self discipline skills might be needed for the first few weeks of working from home. Avoiding temptations starts with you! As far as children and pets go, daycare options should still be considered when possible. If you have a spouse that is able to take care of things while you are busy, be sure to explain to them how they can help. If all else fails, it might be worth talking to your manager about working different hours when you know distractions will be minimal.
Make Sure You Have Reliable Internet
Reliable internet can sometime be hard to come by in the home. Connect with your service provider to ensure that the internet package you have is the one you need. Connect with your employer to discuss your options if you don’t typically have internet access at home, as they might be able to provide you with a plan. Remember that WiFi is typically never the most reliable option. If you work involves internet phone calls or other communication forms where a secure connection is required, consider using an ethernet cable. An ethernet cable will hard wire the connection to your computer so that a dropped connection is much more unlikely. If your computer doesn’t have an ethernet port, do some research to find out if you can purchase an adapter.
Realize That Some Distractions are Inevitable
As you will come to find out, and as your employer likely already understands, you can’t cut every distraction that working from home will bring. The best way to go about working from home is to consider your freedom from the office as a way to restructure your own productivity. Stepping away from your desk does not need to be a bad thing, be sure the your computer volume is up and if possible, have your notifications forwarded to your phone. You will learn how to manage typical distractions to maximize your work from home setup, but until then, don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t let the minor distraction discourage you from your work.
We hope that these quick tips have helped you gain a better understanding of how you can prepare yourself for working from home. Working from home can be a great thing if you are ready to adjust, but it can also be a productivity killer if you are not prepared. Remember not to force working from home, it works great for some of us, but not so great for others. If you are able to go back to the office, and you are finding that your productivity is taking a hit while working from home, it might be best to do so.