Thursday, March 26, 2020 / by Vinny Steo
Are you one of the millions of Americans who have ordered to work remotely? Many companies have rolled out mandatory remote work. If you are working from home for the first time, this can be incredibly stressful. I have had to pleasure to work from home on and off for 8 years now. So how does one prepare themselves to work from home as we increasingly self-isolate during these trying times? The process does not happen overnight. There will be many missteps.
First, working from home doesn’t lead to productivity. When you are away from work you tend to well, not work. Your home is full of distractions. The tv, the kids, your favorite couch. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to treat it like you are going to work. This might sound obvious but treat it like a real job. What I mean is you need to go through the same routines as you would if you were going to work. Get up, take a shower, get dressed. Trying to work in your pajamas isn’t conducive to productivity. Wherever you decide to set up shop in your home to work, it helps to get things organized. Sitting on the couch with your laptop isn’t helpful. try to be more deliberate. Sitting in an upright chair will give you that office feel. Find an area that you can organize and retool for work.
Once you have an area set up and your morning routine down, the next step is to verify exactly what is expected of you with your boss. Setup clear communications with you and your boss. This is something that must be ongoing. Figure what is the preferred mode of communication. Does your boss want you to use a collaboration tool, email, text, phone call, or another medium to communicate? You need to know exactly what is expected of you.
If you like working with an office full of coworkers working remotely can become incredibly lonely, quick. Good workers will reach out to other co-workers and managers regularly. Don’t be afraid to engage and interact with co-workers. Not many people can work in isolation well.
The next step is dealing with your family. If you are like me, your kids are home from school for an extended period. They are still doing schoolwork and will need help. Still is where the real struggle comes in. You must be able to balance the needs of the family with your work needs. This is no easy task. Communication with your family members like your boss will be key to your success. You are able to communicate with the people you live with that you are working with. Because I have worked remotely before my children understand, that when daddy is in his home office he is working. I create boundaries. When my door is closed, I’m working. Knock if you need me as I might be on a videoconference, is what I always tell my kids.
You have to put yourself in the mind frame, that I’m working. Doing household chores like a load of laundry or the dishes isn’t helping you accomplish your task, especially when your boss has set expectations. Cabin fever can really set in. Set aside some time to take breaks. Stretching, going outside for fresh air can be extremely helpful.
Being able to cope with your boss, family and isolation is critical to your success working remotely. Remember you will have highs, and lows, but they will pass. You will usually be right down the middle. Take care and be safe.