For many newly remote employees, working from home is a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of the office. The lack of commute, greater independence, and having a furry friend nearby are all wins. For others, the WFH experience leaves something to be desired. Whether you fall into one category or the other, or even somewhere in the middle, we can all agree on one thing: working from home is a very different experience.
Thankfully, we’re not all first-timers here. The trend for remote work started in the early 2000s and has grown exponentially since. A few veterans of the MTM remote workforce kindly offered their best suggestions on how to make the most of your WFH experience.. whether it lasts a few more months or indefinitely. Below are MTM’s top ten tips for working from home.
1. Have a designated workspace.
It is very important to have a dedicated space to do your work without interruptions. Designate an office or even just a specific chair at the kitchen table to set up your at-home workspace. And don’t be afraid to rearrange if you need a change of scenery!
2. Set priorities.
Begin each day by reviewing your schedule and setting priorities on what must get done. Setting priorities not only helps you to accomplish the most pressing matters but allows you to filter and sort through possible projects and distractions that will inevitably pop up.
3. Make sure you have the right tools to do your job.
Working from home is easy to do short-term, but requires a lot more when setting up shop for weeks or months at a time. Review what you’ll need to make yourself the most productive (a small stand for your computer so it is at a better height, extra ink and paper for your home printer, etc.), and don’t be afraid to ask for those items. Oftentimes they are pre-built into the budget.
4. Separate your work and personal life.
Take your lunch break away from your desk and let your work be done once you close your laptop. Without the traditional car drive home, it can be difficult to decompress from the workday, so try to take a quick walk around the block if possible.
5. Do not forgo your break time.
Remember to take breaks, especially when you are very busy. It is easy to sit and focus on the task at hand for long periods of time when there are no interruptions, but taking a short break each hour to stretch or walk actually increases your productivity when working!
6. Be approachable on the phone or video call.
Body language, tone, and facial expressions make up a large proportion of human communication. Make sure your teammates and clients feel comfortable asking for help. Be approachable, and always give some extra kindness and grace.
7. Know when to ask for help.
Computer issues? Company platform password expired? Don’t suffer in silence or get accustomed to workarounds. Ask for the help you need in order to do your job with excellence.
8. Stay connected with your team.
Since there is now no “water cooler” talk, it can be easy to feel forgotten. Connect with your team by arriving 10 minutes early to a call/meeting and engaging in a similar discussion with your fellow co-workers. Ask how they’re adjusting to remote work, how their weekend was, etc. They’ll appreciate you taking the time to engage with them.
9. Have a friend at work.
Just because you are not physically in an office does not mean the benefits of having close friends at work don’t hold true. Having a Zoom lunch call or chatting about upcoming life events can help you to be a happier and more productive team member.
10. Be patient and give some extra grace.
Many of us are working from home for the first time. For those with kids, pets, additional people in the home, and those struggling with internet service or various platforms, there can be some new difficulties. Give extra grace to those around you – we are all doing the best we can.
Working from home looks like it is here to stay. What are some of your favorite tips? Drop us a comment below and we will add them to our list!