Working from home? Avoid the pitfalls with our 10 tips to WFH successfully

August 26, 2020  

We’re all coming to terms with a new world order. A significant part of the way COVID-19 has changed our fundamental lifestyles is working from home. Despite the romantic notions of WFH increasing productivity, there are many challenges associated with working from home. Managed well however, remote work can bring advantages to productivity and work-life balance. Here are 10 ways to do it right.

1. Set a schedule

To stay ahead, try to do a bit of work as soon as you get out of bed. Don’t be afraid to spread out your tasks into the evening if that is what helps you achieve your goals, but set a specific time for each day after which you consider yourself to be off the clock.

2. Create a dedicated workspace

Settle on one or two places where you will separate your work and leisure. Getting away from home can help to minimise the stress of confinement, but logging on in a coffee shop or co-working space may not be feasible during particular lockdown stages. A carefully considered home office or corner of your home – ie, not your bed or the couch – is important psychologically. 

3. Get dressed each day

Unfortunately that does mean getting out of pyjamas and into similar clothing you would wear to the office. (Shoes optional.)

4. Collaborate more than ever

You are not alone when it comes to working-from-home loneliness. That seemingly time-wasting chit chat over the proverbial water cooler contributes to mutual assistance and brainstorming. Reach out by email, phone or social media, connect with co-workers and ask the questions you need the answers to. 

5. Set boundaries

 This can be a delicate discussion with your family. Discuss different times you may need more quiet than usual for phone or Zoom meetings. You might need to close a door or two to maintain adequate distance between yourself and pets or children. Work together to find what is the best way forward for everyone. 

6. Take frequent breaks

When you’re on your own, it’s easier to become absorbed and burn out before the end of the workday. Set alarms to make a cup of tea, or get some fresh air. 

7. Schedule online meetings and phone calls for the afternoon

Mornings are great for tackling big tasks and inboxes; keep afternoons for meetings. Some remote workers also prefer to ease their way into the day and others are in completely different time zones, so it’s a better time for collaboration. 

8. Switch off social alerts

Until the day is over, stay away from your social media accounts, unless you need them for interaction with co-workers.

9. Listen instead of bantering

Context is often more difficult to interpret through a technological medium. Also, during videoconferences, look into the camera instead of searching for on-screen eyes.

10. Be available

If you’re the boss, provide “any time” access for your employees. Offer daily proactive check-ins to provide reassurance, should they wish. Encouragement and assistance are crucial in times of transition, as well as any internal developments, so those outside the office won’t feel outside the loop.

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