How can an employee unexpectedly have to work from home without losing productivity, focus, motivation, and efficiency?
This question is playing on repeat mode in the mind of every working professional for whom this work-from-home culture came as a sudden surprise. Just a few months back, employees used to see WFH as a refreshing breather from their mundane office life. However, now, it has become the new normal!
What do People Feel?
In the recently conducted State of Remote Work 2020 survey, 32% of the respondents felt that work flexibility is the biggest advantage of working remotely. Whereas, 20% of them found collaboration and communication as the biggest challenges when they operate from their home.
But what really makes work from home so challenging?
The consistent distractions at home can sometimes make it impossible to work productively. Pets, kids, family, neighbors, and household chores - the list of distractions can seem endless!
How can you add more quality to your work from home? How can you break the monotony and mind-blocks, and finally, how to successfully work from home?
Find the answers to all these questions from ten experts who hail from different industries, and make your work at home a successful affair.
Ten Expert Working From Home Tips to Unlock Success at Work
1. Set Boundaries and Respect Them
Paige Cohen, Sr. Associate Editor at Harvard Business Review
Setting boundaries in terms of time and space is a must for work at home success. Paige suggests working in a dedicated workspace to avoid distractions and disturbances. Make sure that you can shut the door (literally and figuratively) to the rest of the world around you. Schedule your tasks and stick to them. Don't do anything that you won't do during normal office hours. Set a range of acceptable and unacceptable things for your home office and make sure you quit at quitting time. To inculcate a sense of heroism and to motivate yourself, celebrate the wins at work by writing them down daily. Paige points out that doing so creates a virtuous cycle for more productive work from home.
2. Follow the ROutine
Holland Haiis, Productivity Expert and Business Consultant
Holland highlights the importance of having a morning routine and sticking to it no matter what. Wake up at the same time that you used to do before the pandemic, get ready for work, wear work clothes, and of course, don’t skimp on the physical preparations. She emphasizes avoiding the traps such as wearing home clothes, avoiding the shower, sleeping a little more, etc. Focus on the routine, and don’t forget to clock-out on time.
3. Rethink Work, From Hours to Style
Jared Spataro, Corporate VP for Microsoft 365
How to work from home with kids - this is a burning question!
Jared says that with kids at home, you have to rethink your work, not only the hours but also the style. He points out that he works early in the mornings or late at night as he has to watch Tori, his daughter. This rethinking helps him to prioritize his work and concentrate on the most important tasks at hand. Further, to make this a success, you can talk to your higher-ups and team members to decide task priorities, select working hours, leave, etc. with kids in the picture.
4. Stand-Up for Meetings
John Brandon, Writer and contributor, Forbes
In his Forbes blog post, John talks about the importance of standing for meetings and calls. This not only introduces a change in your work posture, but also helps you with a lull that sets-in because of prolonged sitting. For typing tasks, you can resume your seating position. This is one of the innovative work from home tips that is also good for your health and body posture.
5. Simple and Basic CommunicatioN Strategy
Boston Consulting Group
Robust, reliable, and efficient communication strategy is the key to a successful work-from-home model. In a recent survey, BCG found that companies with simple communication models such as direct communication via messaging, calls, and emails, get more out of meetings and collaboration instead of more complex communication models.
Further, such companies have protocols for emails and meetings as well. Engaging in meaningful, direct, and efficient communication speeds up your work and helps you reduce email-threads and misinterpret facts.
6. Embrace Technology Tools for Effective Collaboration
Deloitte Nigeria released an impressive short video-guide on how to work from home. One of the key points was to embrace technology tools. Having an impeccable suite of smart and intuitive tools for automation, such as work from home help desk offers you the edge over your competitors, all the while simplifying your job.
Technological disruption and innovation should drive your business agenda for a successful operation in the digital age.
7. Productive Applications for Better Collaboration
Nathalie D’Hers, End User Services Engineering, Microsoft
Enabling remote working for such a huge workforce is a feat that deserves a salute! When it comes to the question - how to be more productive at home, Nathalie gives one of the best answers - productive applications. All the employees can share their work, documents, and all kinds of files across the entire suite of Microsoft Apps over the internet. This comes in addition to saving the files traditionally on their computer. Doing so allows real-time editing, commenting, co-authoring, sharing, and collaborating in a highly flexible manner.
8. Have a Set Space and Stay Organized
Jacquelyn Smith, Former Staff at Forbes
Stay organized by having to-do lists and doing tasks in the order of priority, says Jacquelyn. She points out that doing so keeps us focused on the most critical tasks of the day and helps us have a clear-cut understanding of the daily goals. Further, don’t take your work to your bed, as you are comfortable there. Have a set workspace or corner with a chair, table, and other necessities that you generally have on your office desk to have the right environment.
9. One Tab Working
Laura Mae Martin, Executive Productivity Advisor, Google
Laura points out the best way to work from home in a disciplined manner, by the one-tab-working rule. She suggests to open your work and focus on that tab only. Shuffling between different web pages and windows makes it hard for us to focus and produce results. If you are working online, open just one tab and focus on it until you have reached the milestone. Similarly, close the laptop and concentrate on your phone calls and vice versa for more attentive work-from-home.
10. Don’t Overlook Team Collaboration
EY - Ernst & Young Blog
EY rolled out a commendable set of guidelines for remote working in which it talks about team collaboration. Let your availability, calendar, and agendas, be clear to your team. You must have a daily morning meeting to discuss tasks, deliverables, and troubleshooting. If you are going offline earlier, let your team be informed about that. Sharing the work and availability details with your team makes you feel more responsible for your to-do list.
By incorporating these expert tips into your new work from home routine, you can strike the perfect work-life balance.
About the Author: Jared Cornell is a customer-support specialist, a marketing evangelist and a book lover, associated with ProProfs Help Desk. Jared is passionate about customer support and loves to solve customers’ queries. He is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking Help Desk assistance for a delightful experience.