The Ultimate Guide to Working Effectively from Home
As more and more companies adjust to the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic, many have made the transition to a remote working environment. Working from home has its benefits, but it can also be challenging to get the same level of productivity while facing the many distractions of home life.
However, with the right tools, mindset, and structure, you can learn how to work effectively at home, and make the transition as smooth as possible for yourself and your team. This ultimate guide will break down the key steps for starting, establishing, and achieving success with working from home.
Get the Right Tools
Firstly, it’s essential to have the right tools to ensure you can effectively do your job from home. If you have physical objects from the office that need to come with you, use secure delivery services and ask a family member to help you acquire essential items for your home set-up. You’ll need to ensure you have the following:
- A laptop or computer with the right internet connection and programs
- A comfortable home office space, such as a dedicated area or desk where you can access necessary files and paperwork
- A reliable and secure communication system, such as email, chat, and video-conferencing software
- A device to answer and field calls
- Document sharing software
For businesses, it’s also important to invest in virtual private network (VPN) technology to secure data, allow remote access to internal systems, and enable communication with colleagues.
Establish Rules and Boundaries
When you’re left to your own devices and there’s no one to check on your work schedule and projects, it can be hard to stay motivated and on track for success. To ensure you stay productive and focused, it’s essential to establish rules and boundaries for the working day and make sure you’re sticking to them.
- Set Working Hours: Of course, be mindful of your team’s/company’s needs, but also think of what’s best for you. Get some practice working during times that work for you, but make sure you’re working a full 8-hour day and taking regular breaks.
- Schedule Breaks: In addition to lunchtime, have scheduled breaks throughout the day to give yourself time to get away from the desk. Not only will this improve your focus and productivity, but it’s essential for your mental and physical wellbeing.
- Limit Distractions: Boundaries will help you to stay focused and productive throughout the day, so make sure you switch off any potential distractions. Ensure your phone notifications are off, TV’s are off and doors are closed if possible.
- Manage Your Time: Time management is a critical parameter of successful remote working, so invest in project management tools and find out what best works for you. Dedicate part of the day to responding to emails, and manage your tasks through to-do lists.
Working from home can be a lonely experience, so it’s important to stay in regular contact with your peers and team. Schedule regular check-ins where you can ask questions, collaborate on tasks, and have a general discussion on any project-related issues.
Collaboration tools such as Trello, Slack, or Monday are invaluable for remote teams, as it allows for communication and the tracking of tasks, as well as the sharing of files. For teams, schedule a short team meeting every day and have an open door policy on all communications.
Manage Your Wellbeing
Maintaining your mental and physical wellbeing is just as important as productivity when working from home. Make sure you’re getting enough exercise and fresh air, eating healthy, and staying hydrated throughout the day. Set regular reminders that encourage you to stand up, stretch, or move around, and don’t forget to take regular breaks throughout the day.
Be mindful that you may be prone to feeling isolated at home, so reach out to trusted friends and family members who can help with any worries or anxieties you may be feeling.
Finally, take a proactive approach when working from home by setting achievable and realistic goals each day. Setting yourself goals will motivate you to stay focused and on top of your workload, and finally create a sense of accomplishment when you meet each milestone.
You may also find it rewarding to push yourself and find new opportunities when working from home. Consider upskilling in your field, perfecting certain processes and techniques, or even working on any personal projects you may have.
Whether you’re new to working from home or a veteran to this new chapter, this guide was designed to provide a comprehensive overview on how to stay productive from home. Working from home can be an enjoyable, rewarding and stress-free experience, so follow these tips and you’re sure to successful navigating this new way of life.