If you have always got up in the morning, poured your cup of coffee, and headed out the door for work, staying at home can be a real shock to the system. Here are 10 must-dos for business professionals to make the switch to working from home.
Choose A Dedicated Workspace
Just because you have been asked to work from home doesn’t mean you have to be unproductive. Create an environment that feels like working at the office. If possible, find a quiet spot in your home free from distraction. Pretend that you are going to the office. When you consider your new workspace as an office, it can help you be more productive. Use to-do lists, calendars, and filing systems to make the workspace feel like a place of work.
Solid Internet Connection
A stable internet connection is the cornerstone of working from home. If you’re giving a remote presentation to staff, prospects, or clients on a conference call, then a fast and flawless connection is a must. We all love Wi-Fi, but if you have multiple devices connected throughout your home, you may want to connect your business computer or laptop to a wired connection.
Online Collaboration Tools
While working from home might help you focus on work in the short term, it can also disconnect you from others and cut you off from maintaining healthy working relations. Instant messaging and videoconferencing tools can help with connecting with coworkers and remind you how important communicating with your team can have a significant impact on results.
Sometimes it is not possible because teams are separated by geography or mandated by government to work from home due to a virus pandemic. In that case, video chatting, online document sharing, and other functions like screen sharing can help bring teams together in an effective way.
Business-class software like Microsoft Office 365, Zoom, MS Teams, and Google have great options worth considering.
Secure Access to Corporate Data
How and where we work is constantly changing. To accomplish what you need in business, information must be available on demand as we need it. Line of business (LOB) applications must perform reliably and securely whenever and wherever we use them. When working from home, businesses are challenged in securing access to corporate data.
Not everyone is an IT specialist, and updates and patches for computers and home networks happen so often, especially on smartphones, that your people don’t always keep up to date with the latest security software or firewall updates.
Requiring strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, single sign-on, time-out locking, endpoint detection and response software, and setting up mobile device management is highly recommended.
Just because you're not in the office doesn't mean you can’t work with the same level of productivity. Online shared applications and platforms like Office 365 provide businesses with a tremendous ability to create, share and collaborate with others from the comforts of their own home office. Customer Relations Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Document Management Systems (DMS) are perfect to help streamline business operations and provide teams to work anywhere.
When communicating online, see that you are using technology that will send the right message. Don’t go cheap on microphones and web cameras. How you appear to those you work for and with can make all the difference. Also, the same body language that’s required in person needs to be enacted online. On camera, of course, posture and positioning can be the difference between appearing like a fool or like a prize employee. When booting up Skype or FaceTime without first considering what’s in the background can be a mistake. Take a look around, is there something in the room that shouldn’t be there? See that you are in a clean and organized environment with the tools that will reflect your true self.
Maintain Schedule and Routine
When working from home, prepare yourself to keep to a schedule and routine. To help children and others at home, have a door hanger or note you can post to the door so they know when you are in a meeting.
Don't let the guilt of working in the building you sleep in prevent you from taking five to relax. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day for lunch and exercise. These breaks will help you focus more on your work. Try to work during normal business hours. This makes it easier to work with clients, coworkers, and your supervisor.
The only thing that is constant is change. When it comes to the change in your work environment, it is best to have the right mindset. Consider the benefits of your new work environment and make attempts to find new creative ways to get your work done. Instead of thinking you are stuck at home, consider this a chance to work close to your loved ones. If you feel there is too much uncertainty, focus on those things that are still in your control, connecting with others, maintaining proper nutrition, and resting. With the right mindset, you will gain confidence in the many things you can accomplish while working at home.
Make sure you are in constant communication with your boss and colleague. If you manage a team, set up regular check-ins to allow enough time throughout the week to stay connected. Create boundaries for your family while you’re working. Let them know that there are times you will need to limit distractions throughout the day. Be sure to take breaks throughout the day to socialize with those at work and foster friendships by creating discussion groups for fun interactions. Be social!