How to Make Working from Home a Success
It's March 2020, and we sure are experiencing challenging times during the current Coronavirus Pandemic. For a lot of people in the corporate environment, working from home has become a key employment alternative, and for others it has become a necessity..
In fact, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2016) one in three Australian employees were regularly work from home before this current outbreak. The benefits of working from home are obvious :
better work/life balance
saving time and money on travel
However, many people don't stop and think about whether their home work environment is actually conducive to increasing (or at lease matching) productivity as compared to physically being at the office. Furthermore, many people who work from home don't put as much thought into their home workspace design and usability compared to those of us who work in a corporate office.
Below are some simple tips that may help you get the most out of working from home:
1. Separate your work area
Resist the temptation to simply set-up a laptop on the kitchen bench or fall back onto a comfortable couch in front of the t.v. Even if you don't have enough space for a complete home office, just by moving some furniture around (and being creative) you can easily create a small work "nook" that becomes your dedicated workspace - free from other distractions.
2. Combine the right furniture
We see less emphasis placed on home office ergonomics as compared to the regular corporate office, even though the repercussions of an improperly designed home workstation may be just as detrimental to your health.
If you don't have the budget to revamp the whole home office, start with the chair - adjustable seat height, armrests, lumbar support are all a necessity. Make sure the armrests fit under your table. Even better, a height adjustable table will allow you to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. If you're on the phone often, a head set or hands-free is essential. And if you use a laptop, make sure it's mounted on a stand and connected to a separate keyboard.
3. Use technology to your advantage
There is a constantly growing and evolving amount to technology to support working from home. Apps for teleconferencing, document sharing, remote access to shared networks and task management combined with fast internet (both fixed and mobile) support efficiency when working from home.
4. Set Boundaries
Be able to draw a line in the sand. When its time to work, avoid answering social calls. At first, family and friends may not understand that you're actually at work so learn to say no to innocent requests for a social catch-up or for help with a chore. Set the tone early on and create good work and social habits that will serve you in the long run.
5. Be Accountable
Having a routine is very important to avoid overworking and burnout. Set a realistic start and finish time with regular breaks. Make sure your colleagues know when and how to contact you e.g. if school pick-up is your responsibility make sure everyone knows you're "out of the office" for that time.
Touch base regularly with colleagues and/or managers to keep them up to speed on your progress and so they know what you are achieving. Schedule meetings with key people "in-person" (read via phone or Skype)... a video call can be just as powerful (if not more) than actually meeting in person.
If done correctly, working from home can be a positive and successful experience for both the employee and employer. Are you working from home during the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic?
Our prediction is that after the current health crisis passes (and it will), many businesses will transition to permanent work-from-home environments. Will you be prepared for this change?