As we all settle into new routines that respect the rules of social distancing due to COVID-19, many of us find ourselves working remotely for the first time. Working from home can be more difficult than you think. It requires you to make changes to your routine and might have you miss the comfort of your normal work environment in the office. For some, like myself, it was hard to focus at first without having the same setup at home as I do in the office. Eventually, I was able to adapt to my new temporary work environment and stay focused. Below are some tips that have helped me adapt to working from home.
We have a weekly sync call in addition to our regularly scheduled Monday morning team meeting to stay up to date on what we are working on and just check in with our team members. We’ve also found ourselves reaching out to each other more often to stay connected and check on how the other is doing. This helps a lot because we are so used to popping into one’s cubicle or office to ask a question and check in on them.
2. Develop a Routine
Having a routine is one of the most important things that will have a huge impact on how productive you are during the day. It can be tempting to stay in bed until the very last minute for some, but once you develop your routine and see what works best for you, there will be no turning back.
For me personally, I save almost 2 hours of commute time each day by working remotely. By saving that time, that does not mean I use it to sleep in or wake up the minute before I need to hop on a conference call. I take advantage of that extra time by keeping a routine. Every morning around 7:30, I take my dog for a quick walk around the neighborhood before getting my day started. By doing this, it gives me a kick start to my day and gets my brain juices flowing.
Working from home while trying to practice social distancing can cause some people to feel cooped up and unmotivated. Stepping outside for a few minutes will have you feeling refreshed. Go on morning and evening walks, take 10-minute breaks and sit on the porch to get some fresh air, or walk around the neighborhood while on a call to get out of the house for a bit.
By the end of the workday, I am drained and need to get out for a bit, so I usually end my day by going on a bike ride or another walk around the neighborhood.
3. Stay Productive with the Right Tools
Microsoft Teams has been a great tool while working remotely. Turning on your video camera while on conference calls can help everyone feel connected with one another.
Several onsite client meetings had to be canceled. With the ability in Teams to have virtual calls with clients, it makes it feel like you are sitting right there with the client in a conference room.
Softphones allow me to feel like I am still in the office when answering or making calls. Our company uses the 8×8 Virtual Office softphones and it has helped me stay connected with my clients.
4. Set Goals and Tasks
Every morning, set goals and tasks for yourself on what you would like to accomplish. It is easy to let the day slip away from you and realize you completely forgot to do something that has a deadline.
When I am in the office, I use sticky notes and have a to-do list, along with setting tasks reminders for myself in Dynamics. I have kept up with doing that at home as well. If you are not used to set tasks and goals for yourself, slowing start by setting a goal for yourself each day and see how much more productive you become.
COVID-19 has presented everyone with unexpected schedules and routines to adapt to but I hope my tips can help you transition into your new work environment and help you stay productive.