Working productively from home
by GEO Strategic Partners Team
COVID-19 has forced many office-based workers to work from home. Before COVID-19, working from home was slowly increasing. In the US around 5.2% of workers worked from home, in the Euro zone the average is 5.2% and in Australia its over 30%. Now that many find themselves having to work from home, without necessarily ever wanting to, how do we work productively from home?
The right tools
At the office, the employer provides the hardware (computer, desk, chair, related office equipment) and the software (writing, spreadsheet, communication, cloud programmes). It is very easy to connect and work from the office from day one. But at home this may not be the case if your employer did not have systems in place previously or perhaps you do not have a room specifically for office-based work and must use the kitchen or dining room. Whatever your situation, getting the right tools is critical. Be creative, if you don't have a home office, use boxes and other furniture around the house. In terms of software there are many free options such as Open Office,
Working from home has many benefits: no commute, you can wear what you want, less costs (eg. transport, buying lunch), start and finish when you like, depending on what you achieved. But there are challenges too in distraction and procrastination. These tips can help you be productive while working from home:
• Get dressed, change out of your pyjamas, have some fun with what you wear, one recommended wearing shoes, as you're not bare foot or with slippers at the office.
• Set a start and finish time each day and try to keep to it for the rest of the week.
• Set goals for what you want to achieve in the day, be realistic.
• Virtual meetings should have an agenda, a timekeeper, a facilitator and some rules about how the meeting will run, other tips for a successful virtual meeting can be found here.
• If you have to make an office in a shared family area be sure to pack it up each night.
Wellbeing at home is just as important as it is at the workplace. Working from home can be sitting for long periods, lonely and isolating. Being at home you can work standing, walk around during work calls and use apps that remind you to get up and move. If you start to have feelings of loneliness or sadness, call someone, perhaps a work buddy who is probably also feeling the same way you are about working from home. Sometimes we are not as self aware as we should be and sometimes checking in with yourself is a good idea. There are online quizzes that help you assess mental wellbeing, there are apps that keep your mental wellbeing on track and if you're going through a tough time look up how to get help in your area, governments offer help for people who are finding COVID-19 isolation tough (eg. UK, US, Canada).
Be kind to yourself, if you've never worked from home before you cannot expect to be an expert overnight!