Originally Published 03/18/2020
As a lot of businesses are moving their employees to a remote work environment because of the Coronavirus, I wanted to share some quick tips for working from home.
- Dress for Work
It can be tempting to roll out of bed in your PJs and just get started working. Maybe you wear athletic shorts and no shirt because you can. However, to help get you in the right frame of mind I find it helpful to get dressed like I would for the office. In my case, that entails putting on a 3-piece suit (the picture is staged, I wear the full suit). Furthermore, at the end of the workday its helps get your mind off of work by changing out of your work clothes. This might seem useless. A lot of remote employees may disagree, but it’s just a small trigger that might help you to be more productive.
- Create a Separate Space
Just like dressing for work, creating a separate workspace can help you get into the right mindset. I have an entire office at home that helps me separate home life from work life. If you have never worked from home chances are you do not have a home office, but can achieve this with what you have. It may be as simple as converting an existing room you do not use much into a makeshift office. It also can be done by create partitions with household objects to block distractions. To further this separation, if you are working in the kitchen or dining room, it also may help to go eat lunch in different room to create another trigger of taking a break. The key is don’t just work on the couch or in your bedroom because it may be hard to resist temptation and you brain may feel like you are not supposed to be working.
- Don’t Forget Security
Make sure you have a proper firewall or using a VPN connection to access a secure network. A typical residential internet provider does not provide much security for your work. This is always important when working from home but in times likes these there is an increase in fraud and hacking.
- Professional Background
Chances are you will be on a video conference call when working from home. It does not take much to prepare the background, so you look professional. A simple plain wall will look fine. Try to avoid a messy bookshelf, toys, random pictures, and food. Plain and simple work best.
- Create an Action Plan
Working from home can bring a lot of threats to productivity because there are many temptations around you and no one to see you. One of the ways to stay on task is to create a daily action plan. My team and I create a daily list of to do items and we call them Rocks for our top 3 items that must be done first, Pebbles for our next 10 action items that are a priority and Sand and non-essential items that can be done another day. The priorities of these items and seeing the list can help you stay focused and on task. These terms come from the popular story of a college professor.
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