If you’ve just started working from home – whether it’s one day a week or full time – there’s a lot you’ll have to get used to – if you normally go into the office every day. From avoiding long commutes to having greater flexibility, there’s a lot to like about working from home. But before you start, there are a few things you need to be aware of and plan. Here are our top ten things you need to work from home.
1. Have a designated space
If you’re going to be as productive as you would be in the office, you need to think like you’re in the office. Make sure you don’t confuse your office space with the places you relax. Working in your favourite armchair isn’t always the best idea – it might be too easy to get distracted by the TV. A kitchen table is a good place to work from, or if you’ve got the space for a desk in a spare bedroom, or a designated study, that’s even better!
2. Your home office
Your home office should set you up for success. Try and replicate your regular office at home – if you have a monitor (or monitors), do the same at home – if you have the space. A comfortable desk chair is a good idea as well – the more comfortable you are, the less likely you are to find yourself on the sofa! And if there are other people at home with you, try and keep them separate from you by keeping the door shut.
3. Dress the part
One thing a lot of people like about working from home is not having to stick to the office’s dress code. But wearing your pyjamas all day long can significantly reduce your productivity. Would you wear loungewear to the office? It’s best to leave that for the end of the working day. Wearing smarter (but not overly smart) clothes can put you in the right frame of mind. And it may sound strange, but try swapping your slippers for a pair of shoes.
4. Your work laptop
You’ll need a device to do your work. If you have a work laptop, taking it with you for your home working days is the easiest solution. But what if you don’t have a work laptop? If you normally use a desktop computer, you can do a remote session from your own personal computer. The speed and quality may be lower, so it might be worth asking about getting a work laptop. Alternatively, send yourself any files you’ll need – or ask a colleague to do so. And speaking of files…
5. Access your files
If your files are kept on a shared drive, you will probably need a VPN set up on your computer to access them. Having a VPN to your office lets you access shared files as if you’re in the office. Alternatively, keep your files in the cloud – using tools like SharePoint or OneDrive. You won’t need VPN access for these, and you can access files from any device anywhere in the world – all you need to do is login!
6. Internet access
For most people, the internet is key for getting things done. To effectively work from home, you’ll need a good, reliable internet connection. There’s nothing worse than waiting for slow internet! If your home connection is too slow, consider taking your work away from home – to a local library or coffee shop if you’ll get a better connection there. Plus, the change of scenery might be good! Working in different places might help increase your productivity.
7. Phone service
The best type of phone service for working from home is VoIP – a phone system over the internet. Say goodbye to old fashioned handsets – and say hello to a headset! You can make calls anywhere from your work phone number, and some services will have their own mobile apps if a headset isn’t for you. Top tip: if you want to check in with your colleagues, try Microsoft Teams – make audio or video calls as well as sending instant messages.
8. Check in with your team
Working from home can feel isolating at times. Check in regularly with your teammates and hold meetings over tools like Microsoft Teams – video calls with several colleagues. It’s also important to have regular contact with your bosses – keep them in the loop with what you’re working on, and don’t let them get any ideas that you’re not working as productively as you would in the office. Teams is one of the most important tools for home working – it makes it seem like everyone you communicate with is in the same room!
9. Stick to a routine
Do you work 9-5? Well, try sticking to these timings at home. If you have flexible working hours, work out when you’re most productive. Without the commute to the office, you might find starting earlier suits you more than waiting until your usual start time. Try and stick to the same start and end times. There will be occasions when you have to work later, but the more you stick to a routine the easier you’ll find working from home.
10. Be disciplined
Discipline is vital for home working. Try and avoid all distractions – try and avoid working with the TV on in the background. A bit of background noise can help with concentration, but a TV can attract a little too much attention. Discipline works both ways as well – make sure you keep you distance from work at the end of the day. Switch off your work devices when you finish – and don’t be tempted to check and reply to emails sent after hours. A healthy work life balance is important, especially when working from home.
If you or your staff need to work from home, but need help getting set up, get in touch with ACUTEC today.