If you are not used to work from home over a longer period of time, here are some ideas and suggestions on how to do it best and what to keep in mind. One day at home does not significantly change your working habits, but working at home for a longer time can bring in completely new aspects that you have never encountered before.
The following is all based on personal experience and is valuable to know:
1. Make an area at your home that you can call a “Home Office” (if you don’t already have one).
While it is nice to have an hour or a couple on the couch or armchair, it is not very reasonable for a longer period. The same is true of working at the kitchen table. The kitchen is also needed for other activities, and sometimes there is a contingent that can interfere your concentration :-). Also, it’s good to create a “Home Office” area for you can step out of there for a few moments so that your home does not become a place of inconspicuous overwork. Of course, your Home Office could have an office chair that supports sitting, a desk, and a larger desktop screen for computer work, so you don’t just have to hunch over your laptop.
2. Talk to your manager about goals and metrics for the upcoming period at home office
Discuss and agree on what is needed to measure Home Office performance and to provide feedback. You do not want to be in a situation where you are dissatisfied with your job after 1.5 months and despite the personal effort, it is rated “poor”.
3. MAKE AN ACTION PLAN FOR EVERY WEEK AND DAY
Yes, it may seem annoying and pointless, but in the long run it will help you to keep track of what has been done and what is ahead. It also supports your daily performance.
4. Agree with your colleagues how and when you communicate, what information you share
Which channels do you use and whether the nature of the work requires daily information exchange, both written and oral. Of course, the main communication tools are ICT tools, find the ones that are right for your team. Certainly, email is not the only and sufficient means of communication. However, it is important that all agreements and arrangements needed for the work are made visible to the team, or in writing, in one (team) space.
5. Also take care of yourself:
- take pauses and exercise regularly (get up, move, stretch)
- eat (warm) lunch
- spend time outdoors in the fresh air, every day
- drink enough water during the day
These suggestions may seem too simple, but believe me, they tend to get lost very easily, especially when you find yourself working hard and being in the Flow. While working from home, I have noticed that I tend to work every moment. There is often no real overview of how many hours have already been done. Make sure you do not overwork.
6. Stick to your agenda and plans
At the very least, try and do your best to ensure that the planned activities are done and the work is purposefully completed.
7. Communicate and be active
A person working in a Home Office needs to interact with other people, needs every now and then refresh own thoughts and gain knowledge. Various webinars, e-learning forms and video based discussions / meetings are ideally suited for this.
And finally, one suggestion that may sound funny, but I assure you, it can happen to you:
Replace your (bath)robe with “work clothes” every morning and “GO” to work at your home office!
You can reach out to me if you need tools or ideas on how to better organize yourself or your team’s work in home office. I myself have benefited greatly from MyPlan tools to organize my work.
There are also a number of solutions in SinuLab management software that supports companies and teams who need to be highly flexible, having team members who are not in one location, and need to collaborate and share the information with each other. Ask for more: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by: Maarit Vabrit-Raadla
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