How to make the most of working from home
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and firms are asking employees to work remotely. London in particular has been highlighted as high risk due to the high concentration of people living and working in what is a relatively small area.
New guidelines released suggest that social contact be reduced and all unnecessary activities be ceased. This includes restaurants, pubs, entertainment venues and large social gatherings and events. As countries across the globe prepare to combat the spread of this virus in different ways it is important to heed the advice given and prepare accordingly. As many companies are asking their employees to work from home for the first time there are some who may not be familiar with the practice. Below we set out some thoughts on ensuring you and your colleagues get the most out of it.
Working from home isn’t for everyone. For those of you who already do it (either on a full-time basis or a few days a week) it should be business as usual. The possible down-side is that your routine might be slightly out, because there are other people in the house, whether it is your partner or your children. If you now have an additional person working from home, there may be a strain on the wi-fi or there might not be enough space. For those of you who are working from home for the first time, it is imperative that you have a number of provisions in place.
With most devices capable of connecting wirelessly it is vital that your in-home Wi-Fi is up to par. If you are using a router that is five years or older it is recommended that it be replaced with a newer model that has updated capabilities to withstand your technology. New wireless routers offer dual- and tri-band wireless networks that can be segmented into a 2.4GHz or a 5GHz network. The 5GHz network is faster and will run less interference when using business applications, transference of large files and teleconferencing. You can also use your router’s internal settings to set a preference for which devices in your home get access to the network. Updating firmware internally can also increase your home router’s performance. You may also want to consider installing a mesh system (such as Google Wi-fi) which will ensure that your wi-fi connection reaches more rooms than just the one the router sits in.
Checking with your internet service provider to ensure that your current status can support the increased level of activity within your home is important. Download speeds and connectivity issues can hamper productivity and these can be avoided if informed decisions are made at the start. Using a secure network is also vital as the flow of information will follow you home from the office. It is paramount that a secure network is in place so that important documents are not lost in the shuffle and information is protected.
Performance issues can also hinder productivity and it is important to make sure your laptop or home PC is running adequately. Many of these changes require an internal review of your computer’s diagnostics and whether it is as simple as making sure you close unnecessary tabs on your web browser or are connecting to the home office software needlessly, these simple steps can go a long away in increasing performance. You may also need to defragment your computer, which will organize files and internal software in a way that helps your device run at its peak. It may also be a good idea to ensure that all software installed and running is necessary for your daily output.
An appropriate work space can be a vital piece in the success of your venture home. It is important to choose a space that you feel comfortable in and free of distractions that may deter you from being productive. A change of pace may be felt and it is important to use this familiar environment to your advantage. Taking short breaks to reflect on the task at hand or spending a lunch hour with your family who may also be housebound can be a welcome addition and can boost morale while dealing with the daily grind.
This is a key component to any workday and this aspect of your job will become even more important away from the office. Increased communication will be necessary to understand what is expected of you on a daily basis and email, teleconferencing and your phone will be the tools with which you tackle this obstacle. Over communicating under these circumstances is warranted as you want to ensure that you and your colleagues are on the same page. This may add to your workload, but if done effectively your job could actually become easier.
Creating a Routine
Having a routine can benefit you as well. You probably already have a morning routine as you navigate your way to the office. Keeping that routine and staying home can be a welcome surprise to how you feel as you start your day. Taking a 20 minute coffee break in the morning or a 30 minute exercise session in the afternoon can reinvigorate your senses and provide increased motivation to continue your work. Find things that work for you and make them habitual and you will find that your day gets a little easier as you approach familiar tasks under the impression that these will lead you to those moments of clarity.
When approaching a work-from-home lifestyle, it is important to remember that this is a temporary installation for most, and has been generated out of necessity for public health. Following these aforementioned guidelines can afford you an enjoyable and productive experience that will be a unique departure from your daily grind. With the Coronavirus spreading throughout the globe it is essential that we do our part to ensure that the effects are minimal.