Today I learned that I am able to help others who are suddenly having to telework due to the current situation with Coronavirus. I began working from home about 6 years ago and have learned a lot about what to do and what not to do in order to stay productive. I decided that it would be a good idea to post a few of the main lessons I learned through the years.
- Always keep the same hours that you worked in the office. The temptation to “flex” your work time can be irresistible, but you have to maintain discipline and stick to a routine if you want to be successful at working from home.
- Never work in sleep clothes or PJs. Even if you have no conference calls to attend, and even if those calls have no video functions, always get yourself up and take a shower and put some regular work clothes on. Obviously, it doesn’t have to be a suit and tie, but at least give everyone the impression that you care while you work from home.
- Find a quiet location where you won’t be disturbed often during the day. Distractions are common at home, and we respond to them without thinking. Isolate yourself, especially in the beginning so you can learn to ignore the things that aren’t critical. Remember that if you can work from home successfully, you might have the opportunity to do more of it in the future.
- Remember that working from home is not for everyone. If you cannot stay focused, tell your boss as soon as possible rather than just sit and get nothing done until the boss realizes you aren’t producing. That never ends well.
- Keep family and pets at a safe distance while you work.
- Take mini-breaks throughout the day to keep your mind fresh and focused.
- Make a plan of what you want to get done each day and then try to reach those goals.
- Answer your phone professionally, remember that you are still at work.
- Make time for conference calls. The interaction will help you to break the monotony and maintain contact with your coworkers.
- Enjoy lunch at home.
I hope that anyone thrust into teleworking without time to prepare finds some of these hints to be helpful.