As today, probably thousands of workers are “forced” to work remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis. Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, and more companies have sent or suggested their employees working from home.
I work most of the time in that way, so I share my personal experience (and non-solicited advice), in case your mind or body is struggling with this new setup.
1. Set your availability
How is your work schedule when on-site? 9 to 5? On which timezone? Do you usually answer the phone after hours? Do you work on weekends?
Advice: Keep the same availability, if you are at home doesn’t mean you are on vacation, nor you are working 24/7, are you? Inform your team, boss, and clients that you keep the same availability, even from home.
I work with people from distinct timezones, this is key to have the work going on smoothly.
2. Set your spot
Do you dream about working from your bed? From the bathtub?
Advice: Find a place where you can work comfortably, you will need a table and a chair. No matter if it is in the kitchen or in the dining table. Don’t work at the bed, your back, and neck are not designed to support that position for more than a couple of hours, not even thinking about weeks. Avoid using a very low living room table, your back will hurt.
If you definitely cannot find a good spot to work or the noise is impossible to manage, you may need to book a coworking space or to visit your neighborhood cafe.
3. Start early
At what time do you get up every morning when on-site? 5-6-7?
Advice: Keep the same schedule, take off your PJs and have your daily shower, and take advantage of your commuting time to exercise, drive the kids to school, read or take an online course. Don’t get caught by laziness, besides, your biological clock will thank you when you come back to on-site. Do not turn on your TV during the day.
4. Eat and drink
Thinking about eating Doritos the whole day? Pizza anyone?
Advice: Have the same breakfast as if you were leaving for the office, at the same hour every day. Lunchtime: Keep the same schedule, and block your calendar, there is a tendency to skip the lunch or to have it at any slot available during the day, don’t do it unless it is a very important meeting, and not more than once a week.
Have your water bottle next to you the whole day, and don’t forget your daily coffee time, if you are used to the caffeine of course.
5. The family
Your partner and/or your gang will be excited to have you 24/7 at home, there are a lot of errands waiting for you!
Advice: Be kind, but inform that you are working the same schedule than in the office, but you won’t be fully available during that time. Use the same flexibility that you may have when working at the office. Inform your team and boss if you have some personal stuff to do. Keep your pet away if he wants to play the whole day.
Do you remember when you go to the printer at the office? do the same and have a quick chat with the family every now and then, you are not alone in the world.
6. Open your channels
Will anyone from the office find you if you close the laptop?
Advice: Be connected during your daily work schedule, use your company tools, MS Teams, Skype, Zoom and lots of different apps are available to chat, video chat, and desktop sharing. It is critical to maintaining verbal and non-verbal communication among your team, boss and clients. Don’t worry to have your kids passing by the background, it is not a secret that you are working from home. Evaluate if your Internet bandwidth is enough to work productively (especially when the roommates start Netflix), otherwise, you need an upgrade.
I hope you find my experience valuable, I have achieved very good productivity levels when working remotely, you can make it too if you are a little organized.