For many of us, the “new normal” involves working from home (WFH). Sounds like a fun idea until you look around your house and find that it is, indeed, a home and may not be equipped with all the office amenities we are all used to!
You may take comfort in knowing we are all in the same boat and making the best of this situation. Currently, all of our CT Corporation Service teams are working from home, so we’ve certainly experienced similar disruptions to routine and have had to adjust to new ones.
Setting up to work from home
In order to work more efficiently, it helps to create the right environment. Here are some tips for setting up your new daily workspace:
Designate a workspace
If possible, designate a workspace that is off-limits to other members of your household during your working hours. This might just be a desk, counter or table depending on the space you have. Someone told me the other day that their designated workspace was their balcony or deck. This might be a possibility for those of you living in warmer climates.
Establish a routine
It may not be the same as when you worked in the office, but setting a routine helps you to focus on your work. That routine might include having breakfast, walking the dog or even getting dressed.
Determine a schedule
Identify work hours — both a start and end time. Share this with your at-home workmates. If you have a schedule for your children, add yours as well. For younger children, maybe it is a special sign you both make for the door of the room you are in or older children where you can set a timer of when you will be available. Or for those tweens and spouses, you can send them your calendar!
Don’t forget to take occasional breaks, and do make time for lunch. And at the end of the day, turn off your computer and notifications, and dedicate the evening to you and your family. Think about taking PTO, if available, when you need additional time to spend on yourself or to attend to other important matters.
Outfit your work area with the essentials
Hopefully, your company has provided a laptop/workstation, but working from home can benefit from a few other staples. These include:
- A good set of noise-canceling headphones with microphone for conference calls
- Comfortable sturdy chair
- Lighting and power cords for keeping all equipment charged
Meeting platform options
Many companies have subscriptions to online meeting platforms with toll-free dial-in numbers. Popular tools include Skype and other meeting services like Zoom video conferencing (which allows for free usage).
You may even want to increase your Internet speeds if you find your computer is running slow. Check with your local service provider for any deals they may be offering.
Additional working-from-home tips
While productivity is a top priority, it’s important to maintain healthy routines and habits during these stressful times.
Try to stay active
This could mean taking a short walk outside to help clear your head, which can help you work better when you return to your tasks.
Make time to socialize
Although your co-workers, friends, and family may be virtual, you can stay connected by calling them on the phone or having a video chat. Some of us have a late Friday afternoon “sanity call” just to share news, concerns, and tips.
How about setting up a fun email string, like Mugshot Mondays, snap a photo of your favorite mug at your work-from-home space and share it with co-workers? It’s important to stay in touch!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Many of us are new to this working-from-home situation. If you want to know what someone else is doing or how something works just ask a co-worker. It’s always a good thing to know how to mute and unmute your conference call or even to change the background of your web meeting so they can’t see your new makeshift office. Learn and try new types of technology. This will help in connecting with others during this WFH time.
Take online classes
If you find yourself with extra time during the day, consider taking an online class. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to speak another language or improve your technical skills. Use this time to brush up on Excel or PowerPoint skills, or take that DocuSign tutorial to stay ahead of the game!
Don’t be too hard on yourself! We have all been on phone calls and web meetings with babies crying, dogs barking or the occasional spouse walking through your background. Everyone understands, and for all of us it is a reminder that we all are only human. Have a good laugh about it!