Working from Home (WFH) Best Practices
COVID-19 has taken the world by storm since late 2019. This pandemic has forced many people to work from home who normally wouldn’t have done so. However, even before our current state of affairs, 43% of Americans already logged some remote work time during their workweek. With COVID, this percentage will grow and it’s important to take best practices into consideration, since it will be a new experience for many. Below, we have listed 5 things that you should pay special attention to while working from home.
1. Keep a Schedule
While working from home, it can be difficult to establish boundaries. It’s easy to let yourself get distracted by things that you would normally leave for outside of work hours such as household chores and talking to family members. On the flip side, it’s also easy to get carried away and work way beyond your required number of hours. This is because your “office” is always accessible, and it can be difficult to detach and stop working when you should.
Therefore, it’s important to keep a schedule so that you get your work completed during the time period that you set. It’s important to remember to take regular breaks. Utilizing the Pomodoro Technique can also help. With this technique, you work in 25-minute intervals with a 5-minute break in between. This ensures that you rest regularly and allows you to intensely focus on the task you’re working on for a reasonable amount of time. It’s difficult to maintain your concentration levels at your peak after about an hour. The Pomodoro technique takes this into consideration and helps you to break your work down into manageable chunks.
2. Get Your Software Tools in Order
Working from home will require you to have software tools that allow you to do your job. You will need software for communication. Tools like Zoom, Skype, and WebEx are used frequently. In addition, software like Slack and Microsoft Teams are great for remotely collaborating on projects. Tools like Toggl and Timely are great for helping you keep track of time. This will depend a lot on your line of work, but the tools mentioned are helpful regardless of the field you’re working in.
3. Pay Attention to Any Additional IT Infrastructure Requirements
Working from home has its perks but there are some things that should be taken into consideration. You need to ensure that you have a strong network set up so that you have a decent, secure connection to the Internet. If you’re going the wireless route, you should make sure that your WiFi router provides adequate speeds so that you’re able to do things like making VoIP and video calls easily. In addition, you will need to have a strong Internet connection. If you’re an employee, it may be worthwhile talking to your employer about providing you with better internet. Employers should consider this since home Internet needs may be vastly different from work-related needs. It may also be worthwhile for employers to consider consulting with an IT consulting company like Exigent Technologies to see how best they can accommodate their workforce working remotely. Things like VPN access and cybersecurity measures will need to be taken into consideration to ensure that workers can work securely from home.
4. Set Up a Functional Ergonomic Workspace
Repetitive motions and awkward positions can injure you while working. It’s important to ensure that your furniture and office equipment allow you to work comfortably and effectively. Unfortunately, ergonomic workstations and tools are often disregarded as unimportant to the detriment of employees. This is especially important to consider when working from home for an extended period. Your home office may not have the right equipment and new ergonomic equipment may have to be acquired to accommodate new work habits.
5. Make Time for Social Interactions
It’s important to get caught up with friends and family even if you are physically distanced from each other. If it isn’t possible to catch up in person, it’s important to schedule in both audio and video calls with your family and friends. Yes, this article is about work, but you won’t be able to work to your full potential if you neglect your relationships. Humans are social beings and for you to stay mentally healthy, you should stay connected however you can.
While in some places you won’t be able to watch movies at the cinema, you can still watch shows together with your friends. Tools like Netflix’s party extension make this possible. In addition, apps like Bunch for mobile devices allow you to combine video calling and gaming.
COVID-19 has sped up the rate of adoption of working remotely. It was bound to happen, so in order to usher in this new era there are things that we need to take into consideration. It’s important to keep a schedule, to have the right software tools, to make sure that you have the right IT infrastructure in place, to have an ergonomic workspace, and to stay connected with your friends and family. Making sure that these things are in place will ensure that you have a pleasant experience while working from home.