The situation is unprecedented. Thanks to COVID-19, companies are encouraging their staff to work from home. For many, this new reality brings questions and uncertainty. While there can be drawbacks to working remotely, there are also benefits. Begin your work-from-home journey on the right foot with these five tips and tools.
Create a dedicated workspace. To the best of your ability, make sure you have a comfortable chair and pay attention to the ergonomics of your work surface. If others will be at home with you, communicate your expectations and needs during work hours. As a bonus, you get to use your favorite mug that isn’t office appropriate.
Secure Your Computer
The security of your computer is always important. Now that you are accessing work materials from home, ensuring your data is secure is paramount. If not already, password protect your wireless network. Many businesses utilize remote virtual private networks (VPN), make sure your internet provider allows for this. If not, you may have to upgrade your wireless package.
Want to feel like you’re sitting at your desk at work? Remote desktop software does the trick. Consult your IT department for their preferred program and get started.
There’s a popular meme going around that says work from home will finally reveal how many meetings could have been emails. When meetings are necessary, there are numerous video conference tools available. Zoom is a very popular choice that offers HD video and audio, recordings and transcripts, collaboration tools, and more. In addition to video conferencing, Cisco WebEx also offers cloud calling and WebEx teams which allows you to start a meeting without a host and continue the conversation once the meeting has ended. GoToMeeting has the added appeal of not requiring attendees to download software before using it. Additional features include: 250 participants, up to 25 active webcams, and unlimited recording, to name a few.
Even though you are away from your workplace, there are many excellent tools that allow you to coordinate and communicate with your team. Slack, Microsoft Teams, and GSuite all offer secure platforms for organized conversations, file sharing and project tracking. Other options like smartpen Livescribe can increase your meeting efficiency by digitizing your handwriting or the note-taking app Evernote to keep your notes organized and in one place.
Working from home can be very enjoyable. Pants-free work anyone? However, it can also bring with it many distractions. Staying on task is easier with the help of Chrome Focus Mode. This app allows you to block websites of your choice to prevent tempting sites from stealing your productivity. If this feels too extreme, begin your day by signing out of your social media accounts. Or you can go the low-tech route and set a timer for focused work—laundry works great and comes with its own buzzer!
The situation created by COVID-19 means that companies, schools, and organizations are all trying to go virtual at the same time. Many of which are hastily creating procedures and support systems to meet the need. There will be a learning curve. Remember to be flexible and you may just discover a whole new work-life balance.