With new guidelines in place for businesses, millions of employees around the world are now working from home — often abbreviated as "WFH." Telecommuting may be a great way to maintain social distancing, but sometimes it can be hard to make your relaxing home environment feel like a productive workspace. Whether you're a WFH first-timer or a veteran telecommuter, use these tips for working remotely.
- Set up your space - Make sure you have everything you need to do your job, whether that's a laptop, mouse and charger, or a more sophisticated setup that includes an external keyboard or additional monitor. Then, find a spot in your home that can be just yours during work hours — like a table or desk — and make that your dedicated work space.
- Set up your schedule - One of the many benefits of working from home is flexibility, but it's important to maintain semi-regular hours. Set clear guidelines for your daily routine — including wakeup time, work hours, breaks, lunchtime and more. If you find that you're more productive outside of your typical work hours, ask your supervisor if it's OK to extend your day or start early.
- Lay ground rules - For those with family members, roommates or pets at home, set ground rules for work hours. Make sure children understand when you need to be alone for calls and meetings, and divide up any chores and tasks with other people in your home. However, these arrangements can change, especially with children and partners also staying home during the day. Keep your supervisor updated if you need to adjust your work hours on short notice.
- Stay in touch - When everyone's out of the office, keeping in touch throughout the day is incredibly important. Check your email regularly, and share your phone number with team members who may need to reach you. Many teams are using programs such as Slack, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and more to hold meetings and stay up to date on daily processes. Determine what you'll be using, and make sure you've downloaded the appropriate programs so you don't miss any important updates.
- Manage expectations - Going fully remote may be a new experience for many companies and their employees, so initial expectations may not be realistic. Speak with your supervisor about what you can actually accomplish from home, and be honest about what's working and what's not. You'll likely have to tweak your typical processes a few times until you find something that works for everyone, so keep that line of communication open.
And, most of all, stay positive! Celebrate small victories, and encourage your coworkers to do the same.