With the recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Seattle area, many large and small tech companies have asked employees to work from home. If that includes you, but you’re not accustomed to working from home, it can be a real challenge.
Here are a few tips for a successful work-at-home day:
Maintain regular hours
It can be tempting to sleep in now that you don’t have to go through the effort of getting showered, dressed, and hitting the freeway for the commute. But starting work at your regular time and ending your day like you normally would, can help you keep to your work routine and make you more productive.
Make sure you have the right equipment
If you’re used to having a second/larger monitor at your office, you might consider using an external monitor at home as well. Ask your manager if you can take your work monitor home. You may also need to create a workspace in your house that is comfortable and free from distraction. Propping your laptop up on your knees in bed might not be the ideal way to work—especially if it’s eight hours at a time. Having a desk and office chair can help you feel better physically, plus it will “feel more like work” than sitting on your couch or bed.
Many employees are not the only ones working from home. Your spouse may be home as well, and your kids’ school may be closed. It’s hard to focus with so much activity and distraction. Consider setting house rules with family members. For example, “I need to focus from nine to noon today. If you need something, you can ask me right before or right after that time.” Use a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to avoid household noises and distractions.
Stay connected with your teammates
Connection is important not only for your work, but also for your sanity. Check in with your team a few times a day! Use Microsoft Teams or Skype to collaborate and brainstorm so you don’t feel like you’re working in a silo or a cave.
Take regular breaks
Here’s the real perk. While breaks at the office might mean going to get a cup of coffee, breaks at home can mean taking the dog for a walk or going for a bike ride with the kids. It’s amazing what a little daylight and exercise will do.
For more tips on working from home, here’s a great article from GeekWire to peruse.