Going forward many of us may be working from home, for the summer…or the rest of 2020. This is the current state of affairs we are faced with. The coronavirus pandemic is and will be pushing many skilled workers to home offices. Time will only tell if we will be returning to our pre-pandemic offices or not.
Those that have a history of working remotely report that they enjoy the freedom to manage their schedules, work anywhere and little or no commute. If you find yourself in need of a home office to function as your primary work place, here are a few things to consider.
Setup a focused workspace
A top priority for working from home is to ensure that your designated work space is equipped properly, comfortable and has good lighting. Additionally, you’ll need to have a comfortable and supportive chair as well as an area large enough to accommodate your computer and paperwork needed for each work day. TIP: If your work space is small or dark, consider hanging a mirror to bring in natural light.
Establish a routine
Those in leadership positions report that they worry remote workers will be distracted by household responsibilities or social media. However, when surveyed most employees report that when they are working from home, the challenge is more about breaking away from work. TIP: Schedule several 15-minute breaks during the day for light chores or set timers as reminders to get up and move around throughout the day. Finally, consider making a clean break from work at the end of the day by working out, playing with kids or pets.
Employees that enjoy remote work report that they do miss some of the routines of a shared workspace, including bonding with co-workers like coffee breaks, lunches and celebrations. TIP: Intentionally schedule meetings to replicate the in-office experience. For example, coffee hours or happy hours are a great way to keep remote workers in the loop, boost morale and stay connected.
Tips to quickly create a home office
If you find yourself in a position to quickly set up a remote work space, consider:
- A desk with plenty of space
- An uncluttered area or bare wall to serve as a background for virtual meetings
- A computer with a built-in webcam, microphone and speakers
- Noise canceling headphones
- An internet speed of up to 30 Mbps for downloads should be fine
- Check with local internet service provider for best pricing options
- Sufficient outlets to keep devices powered up
- Printer and printer paper
- A room with a door that you can close
- Plenty of natural or artificial light
- A solid wi-fi connection – (a hard-wired connection, if possible)
- Locate a solution for free file storage – OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc.
- Online productivity tools that allow for low barriers to collaboration with colleagues (Google or Microsoft)
- No or low cost video conferencing and project management solutions
- Lastly, develop a plan to keep your hardware and software updated and secure