Companies are continuing to adhere to extended work from home policies in response to the current pandemic. While no one is certain how long this could last, we’ve shared some early tips from our guest blogger Vera Anderson in her post “Stay Focused on Your Potential and Legacy: Three Steps to Upgrade Your Work-From-Home Routine And Reduce Stress” — and now we’d like to share five more simple measures you can take to continue to ensure your time spent at home remains as productive as if you were still in the office.
1. Dress for The Job You Have
Dressing as you normally would for the office can have a great impact on your mindset while working from home. Plus, you’ll want to be ready and dressed to impress when video chatting with coworkers and clients. If you would normally have breakfast before leaving to commute to work, take time to get your normal morning fuel before heading to your at-home workstation. You can stick to your regular morning routine this way and immediately get your brain ready for a day of hard work. Which brings us to point number two.
2. Use Online Meeting Tools
Whenever possible, turn your camera on and use video chat to speak with coworkers and clients. It personalizes communication and seeing each other’s facial expressions will help convey your messages better. Again, be sure you are dressed and appear appropriately. Start each call by asking how the other person is doing. Make your client or coworker feel supported by checking in about their well being. Throughout the call, wait until the other person is completely done speaking before you speak. Remember that it is easy to talk on top of one another in video chats and should be avoided for effective communication.
3. Be Mindful of Written Communication
Use of email and chat programs, such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, increases when working remotely. Always proofread what you have written before hitting “send.” Make sure you are providing clear context for your message, pay attention to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and double check that any attachments or links mentioned are included. And remember: if it warrants a longer or more complex conversation, a phone call or video chat is best.
4. Manage Your Time and Accountability
With less direct supervision, you’ll need to ensure your work is still being completed in an effective and timely way. If you don’t already, consider using a project management software, such as Asana. It can help you set goals and timelines, track tasks, and serve as a log of the work you have done or plan to do when checking in with coworkers. Keep your time as structured as you can and try not to let yourself get distracted by such temptations as watching TV and doing laundry until the workday is done.
5. Double Check the Tech
Make sure you have all the tools you need to work successfully. This goes beyond just turning on your computer. Place your charger nearby in case you need it. Test out your video conferencing software before the time comes to use it. If your home internet is slow, be sure to shut off any apps in the background that may be using bandwidth such as streaming music or video. We recommend reading our post Cybersecurity Tips While Working from Home for information on keeping your data secure.
Some final thoughts. Before diving into the workday, clean your space! If your surroundings are orderly, you’re more likely to stay focused on your work. Try to get up and walk around from time to time. Stretch your body when you need to and get fresh air when you can. Remember to drink water. Take care of yourself and remind your coworkers and clients to do the same.
Be sure to Check back and follow our #WORKINGREMOTELY SERIES
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