9 tips for working remotely, unexpectedly…
But for those suddenly forced to work from home, it can be a shock to the system (after the initial excitement).
So, I thought I would share 9 Tips for those unexpectedly finding themselves sent home, by their employer, to work.
Tip#1 Create a dedicated space
Position a table or desk in a separate space, preferably with an outside view. Do not use the living-room table or places you have to pack-up every night.
If you’ll be making phone-/video-calls, position it in a quiet(er) area to reduce background noises & distractions.
Ensure you have easy access to powerpoints and telephone or modem connections (if needed). If using WiFi, ensure that the chosen area receives a strong signal.
- For a temporary & low cost option, get a desk from Gumtree, eBay or Facebook’s marketplace.
- Sit & stand desks are excellent if you get restless easily. Ikea & Officeworks deliver.
- Desk & foot-rest
- Internet connection
- Telephone Line
Tip#2 Give your space a li’l personality
Add a few touches that bring you joy to be in this temporary environment; consider plants, a salt-lamp, photos or a colourful poster.
- Download an inspirational poster for your wall; support a local artist or Etsy shop.
- Check out Pinterest for great tips&tricks for setting up small workspaces efficiently.
- Create a water, coffee &/or tea station (Just add a kettle).
- Coloured folders and display wallets
- Stapler, staples & hole-punch
- Pens, pencils & highlighters
- Post-it Notes, page-markers and stickers
- Printing paper, notepads & paper-clips
Tip#3 Accessing your work
A computer or laptop access is a given, and hopefully your workplace will be providing it, but don’t forget you still need to be able to access, from home, the data, information and files that allow you to achieve your work.
Additional set-ups may include a phone connection, internet/nbn connection, modem access, internal work servers, VPN, email, intranet, and remote log-in details, etc.
Additional equipment may include a phone, audio head-set, microphone, webcam (if not built-in), a telephone, mobile phone or a scanner/printer.
Work systems needed may include files, forms, documents, manuals, training materials, system processes, letterhead/fax forms, etc.
Tip#4 Planning, recording & job tracking
Working from home means keeping yourself motivated and keeping notes on tracking how long was spent on individual tasks and/or clients.
It is important to be able to clearly show where your time, in case requested at a later date (and especially if your business is new to having remote staff).
- Whiteboard, pinboard or magnetic board.
- Create your own memo-board using a picture frame with string & pegs.
- Get a variety of daily or task-based diary pages from online, eg. Etsy
Tip#5 Keep the team connected
Working from home for a business may still require a lot of meetings and keeping each other in-the-loop. These days, despite being in remote locations, there are lots of great online options to to assist in collaborative working; whether just for conversations or for group projects required detailed planning and tracking.
- Every morning have a team/department face-to-face meeting via an online system, eg. Zoom.com; check-in how everyone is going and outline the day’s goals or any outstanding problems that need attention.
- Email end-of-day achievement summaries to your manager and/or team.
Tip#6 Start & stop the day, like normal
When starting to work remotely, especially temporarily, it is important to keep to your normal morning routine. Get up at your usual time, prepare any foods & drinks like usual and maintain family and/or exercise routines. And, at the other end of the day, stop at your normal time. Turn off the computer, disconnect from work. It is too easy to let it start taking over your life! Instead, treasure how easily the day ends; no fighting traffic on the roads or for elbow-space on public transport.
- Pre-make your lunch as usual, so you can take time-out to just relax during your lunch-break.
- Prepare snacks in containers & keep them at your desk. Avoid over-grazing the fridge.
- Put aside the money you save on transport, parking, tolls or coffees and shout yourself something special later.
- Remember every hour while working, to stand up, stretch and pace a few times.
Tip#7 Put your pants on & hair up
It is easy to become lazy with dressing and personal hygiene when working from home! In fact, it seems to be business goal of most self-employed to at least once have a Skype meeting with your PJ-pants still on! However, maintaining clothing and general dress standards keeps you in the professional frame-of-mind.
[!] If you do choose to wear PJ pants (or less!) during an online-meeting, just remember not to get up and walk to the printer!
Tip#8 Make commute-time, you-time
By getting up at your usual time, and sticking to your routine, you can gain one special thing to yourself… the Commute time!! This is the window to use to make this temporary opportunity really work for you. Make it something to look forward to, something that you gift yourself with that you couldn’t do otherwise.
- Watch personal- or business-related motivational youtube shows, eg. TED talks.
- Get outside, garden or take a walk
- Take an online course to upgrade your skillset, or learn a new one
- Put on music and dance, or exercise
- Start or continue a hobby that you’ve always wanted to do
- Spend some time playing with your baby/kids (if at home) or pet/s
- Read a book or magazine you’ve been wanting to.
Tip#6 Start & stop the day, like normal
If work becomes unusually slow and it’s still paid-time, do not start cleaning the kitchen or watching television. Prove you’re invaluable. Be proactive.
- Research information, a skill or technique that will help you with a work project, that you couldn’t usually spend time on.
- Take time to think, explore and make notes about ideas that could benefit the team, department or business you work for. Show initiative, and present your findings when back in the office.
- Find a short, online course for a skill that assists you specifically in your role; eg. creativelive.com, lynda.com, udemy.com or youtube.com. Ask your employer if they would sponsor it for you and explain how it will help them in the big picture.
- [!] Off-the-clock spare time? Explore linkedin.com and update your CV.
Let’s Start Something new
In the meanwhile, if you have any questions please feel free to drop a line.