This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.
With COVID-19 stay-at-home mandates in place all over the country, working from home (#WFH) is the norm now, and more people than ever are now telecommuting for at least part of their week. To set yourself up for success, follow these three tips to ensure you remain engaged and productive.
Set a Schedule
Working at home since 1996, I’ve learned that staying focused when you’ve transitioned to working at home can be challenging. While you may be fortunate enough not to be required to put in a full 8 hours each day, sticking to routines and schedules can help ensure that you still meet your commitments and are less tempted to fritter away time.
Many people find it helpful to work a traditional shift, beginning and ending their work at the same time each day. Because being at home often presents a lot of distractions that aren’t present in a traditional workplace, others prefer to plan out the number of hours they will work each day and deal with interruptions as they arise. For a sense of accountability, many use a time-tracker app to measure the hours they are putting in to ensure they are not overly distracted. This is especially important when you’re working on social media and it’s easy to get sucked into a black hole!
Create an Office Space
Having a dedicated workspace can also help you maintain the right mindset when working from home. If an entire room isn’t available for conversion into an office, try to find an area that can be carved out into a functional workstation. Ideally, the room in which you’re working with have good lighting, as well as a door you can close to limit noise and intrusions. There should be adequate room for your computer, phone, printer, and other equipment so you can reach it all easily without feeling cramped.
Don’t overlook the need to feel comfortable and happy in your home workspace. A good office chair will put you in the optimal position for typing and viewing your screen, and it can prevent you from slouching or stressing your back muscles. (My favorite is the Aeron.)
Think, too, about decorating your space so it doesn’t feel sterile and uninspiring. Hang artwork, bring in some accessories in your favorite colors or add greenery. Successful home workers often find that playing music helps them focus, as it can wash out sounds coming from elsewhere in the house or provide background noise if you’re new environment is a bit too quiet.
Prepare for Staying Connected
Once you’ve planned your schedule and set up the perfect work area, it’s time to think about how you will stay in touch. Many remote workers are still called upon to attend meetings and otherwise engage with their clients and co-workers, and more and more often those communications are happening via Zoom or other video chat apps. Seek out tips for video calls so you are presenting yourself in a clear and professional manner.
You will also want to make sure your technology is optimized for communicating remotely. If you aren’t working with a monitor that has a webcam built-in, you’ll need one for online meetings. The upload and download speeds of your internet connection should also be a consideration. If you don’t have adequate speed you may not be able to participate in video calls, and you might experience lag when accessing large files. There are websites at which you can test your bandwidth and find minimum recommendations for various applications. If your speed is falling short, your internet provider probably has faster options available, for a price.
Now that you know some of the key areas to address, you’re prepared to be successful when working from home. Following a routine and creating a workspace that helps you stay in touch and remain focused will help you thrive in your new environment.
What tips would you add to this list that are must-haves for working at home? Post in the comments!