Suddenly, WFH is now a buzzword. For the uninitiated, WFH or ‘Work From Home’ seems to be the new norm in these extraordinary times. Thousands of people have suddenly been thrust into the reality of working remotely from home. And with “Social distancing” becoming another buzzword, WFH could be here to stay.
Look at the bright side! WFH now saves you precious time and money in commuting costs alone. While WFH can offer some cool benefits, it also brings along unique challenges. Here is your beginner’s guide, with 10 tips to ace these WFH times and enjoy a productive, remote-working lifestyle.
1. Create a dedicated work area.
Begin right. Set up a separate work area, ideally in a space or room where you can close the door and shut out everything else. If you don’t have a home office, do as much as you can to create a space exclusively for work. One of the biggest challenges of working from home? The distractions that come with it like your family, pets, the kitchen and more! That’s why it’s extremely important to have a dedicated workspace. If you have room for a separate home office, perfect. But even if you don’t, you can make do with a small desk or table. The separate, secluded space also creates the psychological barrier and stops family from barging in on you at odd times and helps you focus on your work. Also invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones or some quality earplugs.
2. Start early, get in the flow.
Remember, you have swapped your morning commute for the transition from the bed to the computer. Use this precious time to log in early and finish the big, important tasks first. One way to be more productive in your WFH is to dive into your to-do list as soon as you wake up. Simply getting a project started first thing in the morning can be the key to making progress on it gradually throughout the day. Otherwise, you will prolong breakfast and let the morning sluggishness wear away your motivation.
3. Control your schedule.
To remain productive and be in control, set regular work hours and, as much as possible, adhere to them. It is also a great opportunity to adapt your work schedule to your natural body clock or chronotype. One of the best things about working from home is the flexibility it gives you over your own schedule. Without a good structure in place, you could go haywire and easily run out of time or energy for work. With a little practice, you can figure out what works best for you.
4. Remember to clock-out.
The danger of working from home is that your work and personal life start to blend together, and you begin to feel like you’re always “on.” You might end up working longer hours than normal and this can be very unhealthy.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, pick a time in advance to “check out” of work. Even if the checkout is simply mental, it will provide the separation you need to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
5. Set up your workspace for efficiency and comfort.
It pays to invest in a work environment that will keep you healthy and ache free. Set up an ergonomic home office, by investing in an upright chair, like you would at your office desk. Along with this, your WFH tech set-up could include a top-end computer monitor with a large high-resolution screen, a comfortable keyboard and mouse, as well as an effective webcam and other essentials.
6. Invest in Broadband.
Given the fact that you may be working long hours and may need fast and uninterrupted internet connection, it makes sense to invest in a Broadband service. You could also consider having an alternative device – a smartphone or tablet with a Bluetooth keyboard, or a spare laptop – and an alternative way of connecting to the office, even if it means using a hotspot while running errands.
7. Get digitally savvy.
In today’s time and age, no one can afford to say that the Internet is not their cup of tea. While there’s no true replacement for an in-person meeting, online conference tools like Zoom, Skype, Webex, GoToWebinar, Slack and many more make it easier to work collaboratively in remote teams. Once you master these tools, conducting meetings online can be a breeze, allowing you to see your client’s or colleague’s facial expressions and body language, in addition to hearing their voice.
8. Take proper breaks.
Just because your home has also become your office doesn’t mean you should stay still all day. There’s enough research today that proves that indicates humans work best by taking short breaks in between bursts of high activity. The key is to make sure you take the time to refresh your mind and body. It’s important to take regular breaks, ideally every 60 to 90 minutes. Remember that a 10 to 15-minute break will make all the difference, as will a proper break for lunch. Stay hydrated – having a water bottle near your desk helps.
9. Dress for work as usual.
While it is tempting to stay in bed and work on your laptop, in your T-shirts and pajamas, dress as if you’re going to work each day. Putting on some form of “work-wear” can help you get into the right mentality. Always dress as if you are going into an office when working from home. Do remember that if you appear in a Skype meeting wearing pajamas, others will notice.
10. Stay positive, stay in communication mode.
It’s easy to get lonely as you do serious office work from an unconventional space. That’s why it’s important to keep the spirits up and relieve the stress.
Remember, good relationships are built on a foundation of trust and good communication. Regularly check in with colleagues, stay in the loop, and find opportunities to connect with people after work, either through social media or in person, keeping social distancing in mind.
Follow these simple 10 tips and your WFH opportunity may turn out to be the best thing that has happened to you.
5 Bonus Tips to Make Your WFH Fun
1: Exercise while you work. You can invest in cool products like the Deskcycle and burn the calories when you work at your desk.
2: Play some music. If your work permits, why not play lyric-free music. It could even help you increase your focus.
3: Let in the light. Why leave the curtains closed and create a cave-like atmosphere? Another option is to simply have a plant or two around you to spruce up the surroundings.
4: Choose a themed-background. Whatever the state of your home office, you could simply blur the background or add custom images when you are getting on video calls. Many sites like Zoom offer this feature.
5: Embrace nature. Go for a walk. It’s okay to leave your computer, stretch, and step outside. Just a short 10-15 minutes walk can do wonders to get the juices flowing.