I’m lucky enough to be one of those people that just find technology fascinating and not frightening.
By embracing technology over the years, I’ve found that I’ve slowly migrated a lot of my day-to-day business communications to the “home environment” much to the consternation of my wife and family. With me “bringing work home” I’d adjusted my working practices to the point where I was confident that I could do much of my work away from the traditional office and in the hours that suited me.
However, this all happened back in the day when I was working in the corporate world. Traditionally the approach to work then was very much based on the Industrial Revolution age of travelling to and all working together under one roof.
I’ve since been working on my own full time, at home for the last 12 months with 3 years previously working flexibly for a small local agency. The agency did still like me to drive to and from the office almost every day just so that we could all be “around the one table to work”. A bit of a blast from the past which I tried to resist on occasion since I hated that daily commute!
Fast forward to today and we find this Coronavirus health crisis that is literally enforcing everyone to stay at home and where possible continue to work and try and remain productive.
Here are a few things I’ve learned (the hard way) in how to get the best out of working from home.
- Set up a working space
- Preferably a room with a door that you can close. You will need a place that becomes your new office. This isn’t always possible of course, so there are a couple of tips below if you do end up on the kitchen dining room.
- Get up early
- Avoid forming new habits of lying in on the hope that you’ll catch up later. Try to maintain your discipline and get up and ready for work in the normal way.
- Time block your diary
- Set aside time slots in your diary where you will do your deep work. Set aside blocks of regular time where you will not be distracted by things that will be going on around you in the house. Done properly and you can have amazingly productive days.
- Watch your posture
- If you set yourself up on the dining room table on in the kitchen, then just be careful about how long you sit and work. Your office chair is designed with your overall occupational health in mind. That breakfast bar stool most certainly isn’t.
- Invest in a laptop riser
- Turn the TV off
- You might think you can work productively whilst the TV is on in the background, but my experience is that you can’t. The distractions the TV causes and constant. Especially with so much news of the Coronavirus on the TV at the moment, don’t fall into the very obvious trap of filling your head with the negative and sometimes worrying information constantly. And stay away from Netflix!
- Get familiar with the technology
- Zoom is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to communicate via video links
- Use Google Docs to collaborate on documents easily, although your company may provide Microsoft Office to do the same.
- Check out Slack as a way of keeping chat professional and away from WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger where there is already too much noise.
For most, this will be their first real venture into working at home and will be a challenge. But it is something that can be done and perhaps this crisis will help us all benefit from a future with a more flexible working life. If you need some help with the technology, then let me know what your challenge is and I’ll see if I can help.