March 20, 2020
Home office: Tips and tricks on how to successfully work from home
With the advance of COVID-19, more and more people are finding themselves moving to a telecommuting or work-at-home situation. Under the current circumstances, you may feel confused or out of your normal routine. With the stress of the situation, it can be easy to have difficulty with a work-at-home transition. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you adapt to your position. Here are just a few things to consider.
Establish a schedule
More than anything, you need to establish a schedule for yourself. If you are not accustomed to working from home, it can be tempting to take care of your daily domestic needs instead of your paid work. To best maintain control, you should keep a similar schedule as your normal workday.
If you typically wake up at 6 a.m., continue to do so when you work from home. If you exercise early before your workday, continue your normal routine each morning. Get yourself ready and dressed for the day, and plan to start your workday at the same time as you normally do. Not conforming to your normal workday routine can cause you to become disorganized, flustered, and ultimately unproductive.
A great way to outline your day and stay organized is through time blocking. Time blocking is a scheduling method that consists of planning your entire day by the hour. This includes your work along with breaks, meals, time with your children, and so on. When you see your day planned out in this way, it helps to eliminate underutilized or wasted time. You will find that you are more productive and can achieve all you need for each and every day.
Make arrangements for your children
If you are a parent, more than likely you also have your children at home during this time. This can make your work-from-home plans more difficult only because you have to factor in how you will care for the children each day. Every child has different needs, so you may find your new situation difficult at first. If your children are very young, the will need more attention than those who are older and more independent.
If you have to work from home alongside your children, it is crucial that you include them in your daily schedule. If your school-aged children have to do school work from home, plan in a block of time to help them. Create a schedule for mealtime, snack times, playtime, school time, outside time, rest time, and so on. By sticking to a schedule like this, you will find that you can easily add in your own work while also taking care of your children’s needs.
The key to taking care of your children while also working from home is to establish a schedule that works for you. If you are allowed to do your work on your own timetable each day, you may find it easier to work when your children are asleep or napping. You may find doing your work at the kitchen table while your kids do their studies easier. Take the first few days to determine which working option makes the most sense for you and your family.
Communicate with your employer regularly
These are uncertain times, and you may be new to the concept of working out of a home office. Now more than ever you should remain in constant communication with your employer or direct supervisor. If you have questions about any part of your job or are confused by a task, do not try to figure it out on your own. Just because you are at home does not mean you cannot pick up the phone or message your team for help. When it doubt, ask rather than making a major mistake.
Decrease your own distractions
When you work from home, it is very easy to get distracted. You may see a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and feel the need to take care of it while you are supposed to be working. You may find it tempting to check your social media channels or your personal email because it is so accessible while working at home. However, these activities can quickly absorb the time you should be spending on your work. If you spend too much time on your personal tasks, you will eventually get behind in your professional work. Instead, turn off access to your social media and email. Ignore the projects around the house that need attention. Take care of these items during your break time or when you are finished with your work for the day.
With these tips, you will find that working at home during this global crisis more manageable.