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Working from Home Productively

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By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

You may find yourself suddenly working from home due to COVID-19.   Working from a home office is not necessarily an ideal set-up. The reality is that you are most likely trying to figure out how to juggle a number of balls such as: making space in your home for video calls and meetings, keeping yourself productive, keeping your kids occupied so you can work will trying to maintain a grip on your overall mental well-being.

 

Below are a few more tips to assist you for working at home productively from your new home office, and help you maintain your overall mental well-being:

1.) Setup a Dedicated & Separate Workplace:   

If you are used to going into an office every day, the separation between your job and your home is physical separation. Working from home removes this separation.   It is important to your productivity to recreate separation with a designated physical workspace in your home. If you do not have the space for a dedicated room, a quiet corner of a least-used room will work. This space just needs to feel as separate as possible from home life.

 

Tips for a good home workspace:

  • Make it as comfortable as possible
  • Make sure it has good lighting
  • Make sure you include every item you need to perform your job (printer, computer, phone, paper, pens, etc.)

 

2.) Establish a Clear Routine & Stick to It:

You and those you live with need to understand when you are working and when you are not. Staying close to the hours you normally worked from your office is a good plan. Working from home places you in charge of your environment and your work schedule. This means that you will have to hold yourself and be disciplined.

 

3.) Know When to Stop Working and Actually STOP:

Once you have established your work hours, you need to make sure that you stick to them and stop working at the “end” of your day. Do something at the end of your designated workday that helps you mentally shift from work mode and unwind such as a walk, yoga or reading.

 

4.) Organize Work & Plan Tasks for Each Day:

Regardless of where you are working, it is essential that you not only set a regular schedule for your day but you need to also keep track of all of your tasks including both pending and completed ones. You can use a variety of methods for this but here are some free online tools to consider:

  • Tasks and project management: Air Table, NovaTools, Trello
  • Sharing documents: Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, GoogleDocs
  • Video conferencing: Skype, Zoom, Google Meetings
  • Team communication: Whatsapp, Slack

 

5.) Take Regular Breaks:

Working from home may isolate from some interactions you would normally have each day. Make sure that you take regular breaks from work as you would if you were in a traditional office. Grab a cup of coffee, take a quick walk, make a personal call.

 

6.) Stay Connected with Others:

Make sure that you schedule regular talks with coworkers or managers, even if these chats are only a couple of minutes long. You need to be sure that you are still properly communicating with your coworkers and managers as issues or challenges arise and avoid problems.  Never hesitate to reach out to the same people that you would normally turn to for help. It is also a good idea to schedule informal chats with your coworkers  such as a virtual happy hour after work for a catch-up session.

 

7.) Consider Those in Your Home:

If you are suddenly working from home, you are probably not the only one in your house who is facing this new work-life balance. You may find yourself at home with your spouse, children, other family, roommates, etc. It is best to establish clear boundaries and share them with the other people in your home. Set times or queues for others so they know when you cannot be disturbed. Clear communication keeps your home happy!

 

Remember to be easy on yourself and others. We are all navigating a whole new way to work and live during these unchartered times. These tips should help you to setup your home office and keep your day flowing smoothly.  It is more important than ever to communicate, reach out, connect and take care of one another.

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies are implementing work from home policies for those employees who can reasonably complete their work from home. A lot of people suddenly need to learn how to work from home which is very different from working in the office.

 

Below are some tips to help you get into the swing of working at home, being productive from your new home office and maintaining your overall mental well-being:

 

Do Not Become Distracted from News or Anything Else:

Distractions are rampant at home and are one of the biggest challenges for people who work from a home office. There is always something that needs tending to at home whether it is your chore list, a lingering project, or a loved one.

 

It is important to be discipline and limit distractions in your workspace. If you need to toss a load of laundry in the dryer or quickly check the news, be sure and do so but refrain from large cleaning projects. It is important to take regular short breaks from work as you would at the office.

 

If you are susceptible to distraction each  time you receive a text message, news alert, or someone poking their head into your workspace, remember that all of that will still be waiting right where it is when your work day has come to a close.

 

Manage Your Time Wisely:

Regardless of whether you are working or not, it is essential that you set a regular schedule for your day and keep track of your tasks including those pending and completed.

 

You can use a variety of methods for this but here are a few cool, free online tools you may want to consider:

  • Tasks and project management: Air Table, NovaTools, Trello
  • Sharing documents: Dropbox, Box, GoogleDocs
  • Video conferencing: Skype, Zoom, Google Meetings
  • Team communication: Whatsapp online, Slack, Workplace by Facebook

 

Designate a Quiet Workspace or Home Office:

If you are used to going into an office every day, the separation between your job and your home is a physical separation.   You will benefit from recreating that separation as much as possible with a designated physical workspace at home. If you do not have the space for a full room to devote to this, a quiet corner in the least used room in your home will work.  This space should feel as separate as possible.

 

Tips for a good home workspace:

  • It should be a comfortable space
  • It needs to have good lighting
  • Include the things you need to perform your job (printer, computer, phone, paper, pens, etc.)

 

It is important that your workspace is separate from your home space so that you can mentally turn “on” at the beginning of the day when you enter the space and get down to work; as well as turn “off” at the end of the day.   If you never fully disconnect from work, both your productivity and your home life will suffer so try to balance both.

 

Create Realistic Boundaries with Others in Your Home:

If you are suddenly working from home, you are probably not the only one in your house who is facing this new work life balance. You may find yourself at home with your spouse, children, other family, roommates, or others. It is best to set clear boundaries and share them with the other people in your home. Set times or queues for others to help them understand when you cannot be disturbed.

 

Get Dressed Everyday:

This might seem like an odd tip but putting yourself together as you normally would to go to work will help you mentally prepare for your day. It is very tempting to stay in your pajamas but doing so generally leads to a slower overall start to the day and less productivity overall. It is not necessary to dress up such as wearing a suit.  It is good for your head to shower, brush your teeth do your hair, shave or put on makeup and put on something nice.   You will be surprised how much doing this will improve your outlook and keep you positive.

 

VAMBOA encourages everyone to practice social distancing and STAY SAFE!   Stay tuned for more tips in Part 2.

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