For many, working from home is a luxury. For others, it’s life as they know it. As employers continue to adapt to the technology-first era of workers, working from home has become a real prospect for many people. Companies are starting to allow more flexibility with respect to employee schedules and location of work.
You may be considering working from home or have found yourself in a position where you have no other choice. Working from home does require some adaptation and the following tips and tricks from someone has both had to manage remote work and work from home themselves may come in useful.
1. WFH is Normal Work
There is often a misconception that because most people work from the office, someone who works from the comfort of their own home is less productive. In many ways, this is just simply untrue. Employees who work in the office and remote employees alike possess the same ability to “slack off.” In fact, in my experience, remote employees have been some of the most engaged and communicative individuals I have worked with.
On the flip side, as a manager, it’s important to understand this concept as it is easy to fall victim to this line of thinking. Treat your remote employees just like you would someone in the office. Be sure to setup recurring check-ins with them and allow them space and time to ask/answer questions.
2. Find A Space To Work
Let’s start at the top: working from bed is never a good idea. For starters, taking video calls from your bed is just a bad look. Mainly, working from your bed mixes ideas in your mind. It can become difficult to sleep at night as you may begin to feel like you’re still in work mode when it’s time to chill out. To this end, it’s important to find a place in your home that is free of distractions (as much possible, that is) and allows you to re-create a workstation that is tailored to your needs. If you do not own one already, consider buying a desk for your home. Finally, as you may be making calls from home, be mindful of the noise around you. If possible, let others know that you will be on the phone so that they can support you and environment you need.
3. Get The Right Tools
The tools at your disposal are probably the most important part of your workflow. If you are working for a company, you may already have dedicated applications that help capture your workflow. If this is the case, test your home environment to ensure you can access all of the tools remotely. Some companies have their tools under strict authentication parameters, so it’s advantageous to get ahead here and save yourself the headache.
If you’re still searching for tools, there’s a few that I can recommend that have helped me out in my professional life:
- Slack (free w/ paid options | Web, iOS, Android) — Slack is probably the number one chat tools in the world and have proven it’s self to be the most used and reliable asset for many individuals and companies. Slack provides features like channels and robust chat features that help keep everyone on the same page, all the time.
- Zoom (free w/ paid options | Web, iOS, Android) — Zoom is the most reliable video conferencing tool — hands down. It allows companies and individuals to bring together from anywhere.
- Trello (free w/ paid options | Web, iOS, Android) — Trello is a task management application that allows you to record all of your work and the status of that work in one place. Think of this a task list on steroids! It’s awesome.
- Apple & Google Productivity Suites (free | Web, iOS, Android) — My go-to here is the Apple version of the productivity suite. Pages, Keynote, and Numbers are all great, free applications that allow you to collaborate with anyone, anywhere, on any document you with to create. With 1.5 billion (yes, billion) active devices, these applications are accessible to virtually anyone. Of course, Google is another leader in this place with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. It’s tied to a Google email address, if that’s your thing. Find what works for you and get settled.
4. Take The Breaks You Need
Working from home, much like working from the office, can get tedious. Be mindful of your emotional and mental states and take the breaks that you need. It’s equally as important to make sure you have breakfast and lunch like you normally would. Scheduling our your day is important, but giving yourself the time you need is even more important. If you’re working with a team, be sure to communicate your away status so people don’t think you’ve abandoned them.
I hope these quicks tips help! Free free to reach out to me on Twitter @kyleurb if you want to chat more. Always happy to help where I can. Finally, I’d really appreciate it if you shared this resource with others who may find it useful.