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How to Work from Home the Right Way During the Pandemic

By: Maria Bychkova

Published On: April 9, 2020

Due to COVID-19 outbreak many companies in Canada and abroad are forced to implement remote work arrangements. Although, some employees might enjoy it, others will feel frustrated and can face a number of challenges. During these times of uncertainty, when organizations are struggling to keep afloat and manage the crisis, it’s essential for the employees to learn to work from home effectively. The tips below can help you make the most out the situation and contribute to your organization’s success.

Although working remotely is generally very convenient and saves a lot of time for daily commute, it can make for a number of unexpected challenges. For some people it’s the feeling of “being out of the loop“. Others are faced with a bad Internet connection and unexpected technology hiccups, which they have to solve on their own all of a sudden. And of course, when you're at home, it's easier to slip into bad habits with easy access to the fridge, sofa and TV. Now it’s up to you to motivate yourself and get as much out of your time as you would in an office setting.

Create a designated work area

This is probably the most important advice for those working from a home office. Once you start working remotely, choose an area of your home specifically for getting work done. It can be a spare bedroom that you can covert to a home office. Or you can just set up a desk for your computer and office supplies in any other place you find comfortable.

Regardless of the space of location, you need to commit to working in this area every day. Be sure your workspace is well-lit, warm, air-conditioned and quiet so you can focus on the task at hand. This will help to add structure to your days and set your brain for working productively and without distraction.

Avoiding distraction is key. And it might be the biggest challenge of working from home. To keep your brain in the right mode, refrain from doing any nonwork-related tasks during your office hours. Doing your laundry, cooking lunch, checking social media should happen before or after work, during the time specifically scheduled for these activities.

If in the morning you find it hard to self-discipline and tune yourself up for a working day, create a certain routine. When you’re getting ready and commute to the office, your brain gets ready for the day. When you work remotely, you can establish these “start the day” triggers yourself, such as exercising, reading the morning news or drinking coffee. Just remember to shift to work on time.

Make a schedule for all activities

Another major challenge while working from home is keeping track of the time and managing the schedule. You should remember to hold yourself accountable for how you spend your working days. After all, your performance will be assessed by the results only. Keep this in mind and try to make the most of your working hours.

When planning your days, take into account the regular breaks to refresh yourself mentally and physically. Consider any other commitments in your life and find a routine that will enable you to take care of them as well. This may include caring for your child, attending classes or seminars, scheduling appointments.

If it’s possible, share your work calendar with your coworkers. This way they will know when you’re free to meet and when you have blocked out work and personal times. It’s also important that your family members understand and respect your schedule as well. Set boundaries and let them know that working from home doesn’t mean you’re available any time during the day.

Manage a to-do list

Maintaining a simple list of tasks can help keep yourself organized, productive and motivated as you work from home. Set big, long-terms goals and break them down into smaller, tangible tasks. Once you hit milestones, check off those smaller goals and see how you’re making progress. This will give you a sense of achievement and positive reassurance that you’re going towards your big goal.

Have this list in written instead of having it in your head. You won’t have to worry a lot trying to constantly remember what you need to do and how to set priorities. You will also make sure nothing falls through the cracks. And the pleasure of crossing the completed tasks off will help you stay motivated.

Set up a process for collaboration

In many work environments communication and interaction with others is an essential part of business process. Even if you and your team work from home, being able to collaborate is key, whether it’s for getting or giving assignments, making decisions, giving feedback, asking for help. So, you need to think about the methods of collaboration.

Today, there is no shortage in communication tools. Emails, messengers, chats, video conferencing applications provide a great number of options to choose from. What’s important is to remember to respect each other’s time and schedule and keep the communication effective and to the point.


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