Welcome to your new home office! No doubt this week is not your typical work week. Maybe you are working from home for the first time, maybe you’re used to working at home, but have some friends (aka kiddos) hanging out with you, too! Whatever the case may be, here are some tips on how to make the most of your new office environment.
Play by the Rules
Be sure to understand the requirements of a work-from-home schedule, like if you have specific hours to be available, or if it’s more flexible. Be sure you and your supervisor, as well as direct reports, are all on the same page. If you’ve already been working from home, be sure to provide your supervisor with an update on whether you have children home with you and how that may impact your working.
Set the Stage
If you’ve never had a home office, having the right set-up is the key to success. Create a workspace to help keep you focused and feeling like a pro! A laptop, or access to a computer that will connect with your office network is essential. Can you use your work phone at home, or will you be using your mobile phone or landline for office calls? Be sure to do trial runs before your first day of at-home work so you can trouble shoot any technical difficulties. Set “office” hours so you can be productive and not feel like you need to work around the clock.
Get in the Zone
One of the obvious benefits of working from home is, well, you’re in the comfort of your own home! You may be tempted to stay in your pj’s, or work in bed, but for a better rate of success, act like you’re going to work for the day. Take a shower, get dressed – do your normal, morning routine. This will help you mentally prepare to be focused and thinking about your job and not that pile of laundry.
Being at home has a whole new list of distractions you don’t find in the office. You’ve got cleaning to do, bills to pay, errands to run! Remember that the main objective is to get work done. Schedule break time to do household chores, or check things off your home to-do list between calls or sending emails. If your kids are home during this pandemic, this will be extremely difficult! This is probably new territory for them, too, so be kind to all of you! Try to set a schedule and be as productive as you can be.
Keep Up the Communication
Check in with your co-workers regularly via email, chat, video conferencing, or plain old-fashioned phone calls. Have regularly scheduled check-ins with your supervisor and/or direct reports to gauge how everyone is doing, especially if working from home is new. Communicate your home work schedule so people know when and how to get ahold of you best.
Working from home is not always easy, so be kind to yourself and be kind to your kiddos if they’re home unexpectedly with you. We’re all in this together! If you have any tips, please share!