March 23, 2020
Working from home was once considered a luxury that few could experience. But in today’s fast paced, interconnected world where you can access just about everything you need from any device of your choosing, working from home is a fairly common opportunity.
But there’s a difference between having the option to work from home and having no choice but to work from home.
With the recent quarantine measures enacted to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, almost all office workers are finding themselves with no choice but to work from their homes day after day. While some people can do quite well from a home computer, others find themselves struggling to get much of anything accomplished.
Meanwhile, schools are out, so parents are having to tend to their children throughout the day. Partners, spouses, and roommates are competing for table space while trying to keep from distracting each other. Pets are wanting constant attention now that their owners are home all the time.
It truly is an unprecedented time and, unfortunately, we don’t know how long it may continue. In the meantime, businesses will need to make adjustments to operate more efficiently from a distance. The good news is, when this is all over, your business’s flexibility and mobility will likely be stronger for it.
As an IT company, we’re well experienced in working with people from remote locations. Here are a few tips and tricks that we’ve found to work for us.
There are a number of basic tips for working at home that you’ve probably heard before:
- Keep a routine
- Dress like you’re going into work
- Create separation between your workspace and personal space
These are good starting points, though unless you have a video conference, don’t stress too much about what you’re wearing. As for the other two, with everyone at home and news announcements regularly popping up, keeping a routine and separating work from personal life is going to be a challenge at times.
Ultimately, it’s more important to maintain balance vs separation. Don’t feel as if you need to be working every single minute you’re at home. When people are in the office, they move around. They socialize. They check the news or make a phone call. It’s okay to do that at home too.
And when you’re not working, make sure you’re fully disconnecting.
But it’s equally important that you are putting the necessary amount of time into your work overall. Don’t use the chaos of current events to justify not doing work. Now more than ever, having a job that you’re able to continue from your home is a privilege, and you should treat it as such.
The truth is, successfully working from home looks a little different for everyone. Rather than doing exactly what you read in an article or see your friend doing, try to switch things up. Find what works for you.
Work from a different spot in the home. Try rotating back and forth between a laptop and a desktop. Take timed breaks. It doesn’t hurt to ask other people what they’re doing. You don’t have to work exactly like they do, but you can try implementing some of those things into your own routine.
There will be some trial and error, but eventually you should start to understand what does and doesn’t work for you. For those who have kids and/or chaotic houses during the day, see if you’re able to split your workday a bit.
Not everyone will be able to do this, but for those who can, it might be worth trying to work five to six hours during the day and two to three at night.
Keep in Communication
Staying in regular communication is very important during this time of quarantine. We don’t just mean answering emails and phone calls, but simply keeping in contact with your coworkers, bosses, etc. Message them. Call them. See how they’re handling things. If you have an office message board or Slack channel, keep conversations going on there.
We have more tools than ever to stay in touch. Use them. Even if it feels a little strange at first, eventually, things will start to feel more normal.
Set Up a Space
Those who are used to working from a company office are probably also used to their setup they have there. Whether it’s multiple monitors, a nice chair, a standing desk, or something else, you probably have a station that helps you sit and work for extended periods of time.
Many do not have a similar setup at home.
Working from a single, small laptop screen while sitting at your kitchen table is going to get old very quickly. It’s also likely to put a strain on your neck, back, wrists, etc. Put a little effort into creating a comfortable setup at home. It doesn’t have to look pretty. You could stack a monitor or laptop on some books to raise you the angle of your view, taking the strain off your neck.
If you’re an office manager or company owner, you may want to let your employees take their monitors/chairs/etc. home during this time if they wish. It will ultimately result in more productivity on their end.
Get the IT Support You Need
With things as scattered and uncertain as they currently are, consistent, professional IT support is more critical than ever. An experienced IT team can help keep you running while also assisting in the implementation of additional communication tools and software.
At Expedient Technology Solutions, we provide a range of information technology services in Dayton, Ohio and beyond. As an IT company, we specialize in operating remotely, allowing us to effectively help you and your employees, no matter where you might be working from.
We’re also a Microsoft Silver Competency Cloud Partner, which means we can assist your team in setting up, maintaining, and getting the most out of the Microsoft Office suite. With the latest Office 365, collaboration and sharing features are baked into each program, allowing your team to work together from wherever you are.
Don’t try and make it through the quarantine alone. Contact ETS today.