More and more companies are implementing work-from-home policies. While every job is different, here are some helpful strategies and additional resources, as you navigate your new world of work.
Routines are hugely important in any environment; however, it is very important in a remote environment to ensure success and prevent burnout or lack of productivity. If you have recently transitioned to a remote environment or you are a seasoned expert, it is important to always act as if you are going to work. That means keeping your same routine: waking up at your normal time, breakfast, shower, getting dressed, etc. It helps you get into the productive “I’m going to work” mindset.
Keep your schedule that you have in your “normal environment.” If permissible, keep your daily schedule, whatever that may be. Make sure you include your normal lunch and breaks to use that time to eat, hydrate, get up and move around, and connect with your family. These breaks are important to prevent burnout and maintain productivity. You will want to work with your supervisor(s) for guidelines and policies on hour / workday schedule and expectations.
You will want to create a workspace that you can solely dedicate to work. Whether you have a guest room, home office, or any other extra space in your home, you will want to utilize that space and keep to it. This can be your quiet work only space – where you ask your family members to give you the quiet time to be productive. In creating a workspace dedicated to work only activities, you potentially avoid distractions and the “creep” of work into your home life. It is important to leave your work at the end of the day to recalibrate your focus to meet your individual, family, and academic priorities.
Maintain all normal communication you had in your normal day. In fact, in the early transition of work to home, you may want to be overly communicative. Firstly, keep open communication with your supervisor. With a change in environment, your priorities/tasks may have changed, so it is important to have open conversations with your leader to ensure that you are both feeling supported, are on the same page as far as expectations.
Keep communication with your team. If you had normal morning chats over coffee, keep those morning chats. Schedule quick calls, Zoom, Skype, Teams meetings with your close colleagues to check in. By keeping this norm, you are able to keep team spirit and morale strong or make it stronger.
If you are a people leader, make sure you connect with your team to ensure that they are supported in completing their work, have clear expectations and guidelines, and in are compassionate to their needs with meeting the work and home needs.
Being at home comes with the myriad of distractions: family, pets, chores, social media, doorbells, deliveries, and the list goes on. It is important to remember these distractions are a part of all of our current work landscape.
If you are a parent and have kiddos at home, explain to them what working from home is and try to set clear expectations. Partner with your family members: spouse, older kids, neighbors, to help with the care of young kids. In addition, tell your team or clients about potential distractions – this is a shared experience across the globe, so anticipate and ask for understanding and flexibility. Additionally, it may be a great team building experience to introduce your family – this can make understanding easier and be a fun experience for everyone.
This is a new and ever-changing, day by day situation that we as a global society are facing. Have grace for yourself, family, your team, your leader, your employees and the like. This may be new to everyone in your close work community. Until you have a routine, you will have to be okay with trial and error. What works for you? What didn’t work last week that you want to try differently moving forward?
As you are navigating what works for you, it may be helpful to journal times that you are the most productive - keep those times dedicated to high priority projects. During those less productive times, use that to work on low-priority tasks or use that time to connect with colleagues, your team/manager, or use it to take a break.
These are just a few tips and strategies. You can always reach out to WGU Career & Professional Development to set up a 1:1 appointment to request additional help and strategies on working from home.
Here are some additional articles and resources that you can utilize in your transition to a remote work environment:
- NPR: 8 Tips to Make Working From Home, Work for You
- Forbes: 5 Tips to Balance Working While Your Family is Home
- Computerworld.com: How to Survive & Thrive While Working from Home
- Lifehack.com: 10 Things You Need to Successfully Work from Home
- The Muse: How to Be Productive When You’re Working from Home
- PC Mag: 20 Tips for Working From Home
For People Leaders