As coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreads across the globe, many companies are taking proactive steps to protect their employees, including shutting offices and transitioning to working from home. Our company is centered on enabling professionals to achieve this, so we put together some recommendations to ensure you, too, can work productively from home.
- Familiarize yourself with your company’s technology. Given the current environment, it is very likely that your company has already set up the ability to access your documents from outside of the office. Companies use services like Citrix, LogMeIn, remote desktop, or cloud services such as our private cloud service, Boxtop, to enable employees to stay connected to their work remotely. Telecommuting tools like Zoom for Video, Basecamp, and Slack can help you stay connected and collaborate with your teammates. VoIP phone services offer apps to easily transfer your office phone to your cell phone. Keep in mind that working with remote access platforms like Citrix, remote desktop or LogMeIn, etc., will not be the exact same as working from your office. It will be very functional, but it will be different.
- Check your home equipment. Ensure that you have the necessary equipment at home and that it’s ready to go. For example, you may be used to working on dual monitors at the office, so perhaps bringing another monitor home to pair with your personal laptop may be necessary to be just as productive at home as when you’re in the office. We all have W-iFi at home, and it makes our working from home experience some much easier. However, if you are having issues using a Citrix, LogMeIn or remote desktop platform, wire up! Connect your desktop or laptop to your internet connection using a hard line.
- Force social interactions. If you’re working at home without anyone else around, it can become very lonely. You can no longer swing by your colleague’s desk to ask a question. Instead, you should pick up the phone, or even better, set up a quick video chat. Not all interactions need to be formal. It’s ok (and probably even beneficial) to maintain some positive, humorous “water cooler” chat. Zoom Video Conferencing is a great tool. Anyone can sign up for a free account and Zoom has lifted a lot of limitations, which means everyone can use this tool to keep that face-to-face and intimate work environment while working from home.
- Separate “work” from “life.” Ensuring you maintain a work-life balance, even when your work happens at home, is extremely important. We recommend separating your spaces by dedicating a work space in your home to maintain productivity and bring some normalcy. Create a daily routine and stick to your normal schedule as much as possible, such as getting dressed each morning. These measures will also help ensure you take some time away from “work” for your “life.” It is very important to break like you normally do. Go out and grab lunch, like you would typically do, you will interact with friends and neighbors who doing the same thing.
- Don’t forget to de-stress. Working from home does not mean that you are bound to your work for every waking moment. It is extremely important to take breaks to keep your energy up and to help maintain a positive attitude. Take a 15-minute walk every 90-120 minutes to keep your blood flowing. It may be beneficial to repurpose your commute time to a simple in-home workout or meditation session to gear up for a great day ahead.
- Be flexible. Understand that everyone is operating in a stressful environment that we’ve never seen the likes of before, and everyone will deal with these stresses differently. Many people have partners or spouses who will also be working in the same space as them. Some will have children home as schools and daycares are closed. Be patient, flexible, and respectful of your colleagues.
- Remember your team and colleagues: This is new for many people. Many may never have worked from home, at least not for a number of days. Structure check-ins with your teams. Have casual conversations! Remember when things are new for people, anxiety can be high, especially when it is already so! Be sure to ask your people what they need, whether that be support or something to feel more productive.
- Remember, this too shall pass. Very quickly, it seems, we’ve been forced into a bizarre world that we’ve never experienced before. As we are adjusting to the new, yet temporary, situation, it’s important to remember that eventually, life will resume again.