During this unprecedented time of social distancing, companies – where possible – have shifted their non-essential employee base to work from their homes, otherwise known as WFH. I am happy to say that at Farland Group, we have always been set up to work remotely, work anywhere. And anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge advocate of working from home. The benefits are numerous, but there are also some drawbacks that come with not physically being in the office or not being co-located with your colleagues.
Whether this is the new normal for you, or you are a veteran remote worker, WFH doesn’t have to cause you anger and WTF moments. Here are 3 things that I find really help to keep me productive (and happy) working remotely.
Set a regular schedule. When the commute no longer takes up 30 minutes or more of your time, and your workspace is only steps away, it is very easy to fall into the trap of starting your day early and staying on late. Try as much as possible to stick with your regular work schedule and use the newfound time on the front or back end of your day to get some exercise, catch up on personal activities, or connect with friends and family. Sure, we all have those times when our workloads are heavy, and we do need to start early just to get it all done. Creating a solid start and end time, as well as regular breaks throughout the day, helps to define a work zone, and you don’t end up feeling like work is taking over your life.
Create a space for work. If you are working out of your home office, take the time to make your space clutter free and clean, even if that means throwing personal paperwork and other items in a drawer or box until you can get to them. For me, having a clean and tidy work surface really sets the tone and helps me relax and get to work.
If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, pick an area of your home that will enable productivity. If you are on the phone a lot during your day, try to pick a space where you won’t be competing with other sounds. Bottom line: select a spot where you will be as physically as comfortable as possible. That may require moving an extra lamp in for additional light, changing out a chair so you are as ergonomic as possible, or it may mean moving to different parts of your home throughout the day. While I do have a home office, I sometimes like to mix it up and work at the kitchen table just for a change of scenery.
Get connected. Obviously, this is important from a technological perspective, but I am actually referring to actively engaging with your colleagues. While you may not be sitting at a table next to them or you can’t pop into their office around the corner, there are a lot of things you can do so you don’t feel isolated. We use tools like Slack or iMessage for writing to one another in real-time. Zoom and FaceTime enable you to see each other and interact as if you were meeting face to face. You can even try the old-fashioned telephone and give them a call!
WFH is not one-size fits all, and what works for one person, may not work for another. I’d love to hear your tactics for making WFH productive, comfortable and enjoyable.