Worried about working from home? Here are my tips and tricks:
Hello everyone and welcome back to my lifestyle blog!
Today I wanted to take a moment and go over all my tips and tricks of working from home in order to better help and support a positive experience for anyone going through this transition due to the COVID19 pandemic.
To start off, I will mention that in my current job at the University, working from home was implemented, however it is not a place where people normally would work from home due to the nature of our jobs dealing with faculty member and or students.
Back when I worked at TD Bank in downtown Toronto, we all had laptops and it was a flex work space at the TD towers. This meant that you went in for the day and sat down at any desk, and it was all first come first serve. My job there was 100% electronic and able to work from home without any obstacles.
About a week ago, our IT department set every staff member up with a loaner laptop and went over all the steps with us on how we can connect to the network and our servers via a VPN connection.
This came as a challenge to certain staff members that I manage. If you have never had to work from home on a laptop and you are a little bit older, the technology can be quite challenging to grasp.
Here are my 10 tips and tricks which I have learned in my past 5 years of working for multiple companies that are sure to set you up for success in working from home!
1st Tip: Proper Technology and Set up
Having the proper technology is the first step in successfully working from home. Making sure you have tested and understand everything while you are in the office where you will have your coworkers or IT department to help explain anything to you.
It is important to feel comfortable with your home set up as you did with your work set up. If you need to grab your office chair, your keyboard and mouse...whatever it may be, do so as it will ensure that you are as comfortable working from home as you are in the office.
2nd Tip: Working Environment/Space
You need to be honest with yourself weather you have the proper environment at home and or space to set up a work from home station. For me, with my husband being deployed at the moment, I bounce back and forth between his office and my desk area that I have set up in our living space.
The office is nice for certain tasks as it has a door if I need to get away from Gunner or take a conference call. If you have young children, you need to consider how their routine will positively interact with you working from home so that it benefits both parties. Is it doable for your life?
3rd Tip: Maintaining regular working hours
It is extremely important to still have the same or a similar routine. Humans thrive off of having some sort of routine day to day. Set a schedule and stick with it! Having clear guidelines for when to work, when to take a break and when to call it a day helps achieve a good work-life balance. One of the benefits to working remotely is that you may be able to set your own hours and have more flexibility. If you start 30 minutes early, end 30 minutes early and get outside for a walk.
4th Tip: Set rules with people in your space
This tip kind of goes hand in hand with the previous one. Setting rules is a very important factor to take into account as you normally wouldn't have to deal with this being at work and away from your family. If you have children at home with you or maybe your spouse is also working from home, make those rules early on and stick with them!
5th Tip: Take breaks in their entirety
It is extremely important that you are still taking the same amount of breaks as if you were at work. I personally get two 15 minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon as well as my 60 minute lunch. It can be very easy to just work through those breaks being at home with less distractions, however it is extremely important to take breaks as it will help keep you from burning out.
For those more stubborn people, there are a couple of apps on the market that I have seen which can lock you out of your computer for your lunch or breaks so that you are forced to stop working and go take a break!
6th Tip: Maintain socialization with colleagues
You may start to feel like you are lacking socialization as time goes on. Personally for my work, we have an internal software where we are still able to chat online as a group or send individual messages to our colleagues, ensuring that we are still able to get a hold of people quicker than sending an email as well as for daily socialization purposes.
Ask your IT department if you are able to get any software such as Skype for business, that way you can still keep in touch with all your coworkers during this self isolation time.
7th Tip: Make it PERSONAL!
What I mean by "make it personal' is that what may work for one person may not necessarily work for another. For my job, we all agreed that if there was a certain task that had to be completed in person due to a lot of our files being paper and not electronic such as end of the month reconciliation, we would individually go in, complete the task at hand and go home. Ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks and all tasks carry on as normal. It is very important to make your work space personal to what works for you.
8th Tip: Dress to Impress
It is easy to wear pajamas every day and become unmotivated when working from home. Not having as clear of a view on what the goal is can create problems. I suggest still getting dressed as though you were going in to work as this will still separate relaxing on the couch with family from getting work done.
You may still have to be on the phone or video conference calls, so dressing the part is still as much part of your job while working from home as it is when you go into the office. Even if someone can't see you, they can feel your energy through a phone when you are feeling your best. Dressing in pajamas every single day will not elicit feeling your best during this unknown time.
9th Tip: Ask for help when needed
Just like you may have done when being in the office, it is still okay to ask for help from your coworkers. This is when the chat software would come in handy to quickly reach out to someone when/if you have a question or need help with anything.
I know it can feel kind of everyone for themselves during this time, but it is still important to know we all work together for the same corporation and it is okay to ask for help when needed!
10th Tip: Take time to yourself if you are sick
Don't feel like you should be logged in to work if you have become ill. Take sick days even if you are already at home and take care of yourself first. Communicate with your manager and coworkers that you don't feel well and take care of you!
I find that a lot of the time when I worked at TD Bank, even if I was sick, I would still work from home because I didn't want anyone to think I was lying or slacking off. I remember when I took my wisdom teeth out about three years ago, I only took the Friday and Monday off work yet my recovery was a total of 2.5 weeks!!! None of the medication helped and it was the most painful experience I had ever been through. Instead of taking sick days to relax and heal, I worked both weeks from home which probably made the recovery longer than if I had taken the time to myself.
As long as you don't call in sick all the time, people will understand especially now with the pandemic if you get ill and need a couple of days to yourself.
And now for for motivating and pretty quotes: