Millions of people across the world work from home, supported by advanced audio/video technologies and business transcription services. The work-from-home strategy has suddenly gained enormous significance with the COVID-19 pandemic, leading more companies to rethink their policies and roll out work-from-home policies. Whether you are new to this strategy or have experience working remotely, there are many things you can do to maximize your efficiency and deliver results.
- Get organized, get dressed: You might sleep a little longer than usual, but otherwise, stick to your usual schedule and act as if you are in the office. Get up, get ready for work and log in promptly. Get organized, sit at a dedicated work desk, sit in an ergonomic, upright chair, and start off your working day. Dressing for the job is important especially if you have to take a video call. Freelance stylist Yvadney Davis says that when working from home you should dress as if a potential client could Skype you at any time (www.theguardian.com).
- Utilize the right technologies: Make sure that your work at home set-up allows you to maintain proper communication with the office. There are many tech tools that can help you work independently and collaboratively with your team. Tools like Skype, Zoom, Slack, FaceTime, and G-Suite enable instant communication and allow employees who work at home to reach out to coworkers and managers regularly. If you are working on a MacBook, a recent MacWorld article suggests that hooking up a second monitor to your Mac can improve your productivity significantly. This will allow you to use one display as a reference and do your actual work in the other.
- Create boundaries that signal you’re at work: Plan how you will balance your work and home life so that can meet organizational goals. Having a dedicated workspace where you can concentrate and setting boundaries in that area is necessary to let your family know that you’re at work. “Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand: ‘When the door is closed, pretend I’m not there,’” says Kristen Shockley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, in a recent BBC article. Importantly, you also have to resist the temptation to do household chores during working hours. Think: I’m at work.
- Take breaks: All companies have policies on tea and lunch break times. Take them. Step away from your computer, take a walk around your house, or go outside and get some fresh air. Studies show that sitting for long hours is bad for your health, so stretch your back and legs now and then.
- Pay attention to your well-being: If you live alone, social isolation and working from home could affect morale and productivity. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people who don’t relish working at home into isolation. The key to overcoming this is to talk to other people during breaks, whether on video or on the phone. Maintaining contact with people who are not colleagues can help you overcome loneliness and other difficult emotions at this stressful time, boost your morale and improve your productivity.
- Take security measures to ward off hacking: Reports say that working from home because of the COVID-19 outbreak has increased the potential for cyberattacks on virtual private networks that allow employee access to their organization’s files Follow your company’s security policies, restrict work on confidential material in public spaces, and encrypt the data attached to an email. It is vital for organizations to take steps to address the cybersecurity and privacy concerns that can occur as more and more Americans switch to teleworking and overcome threats to business operations.
- Attend video conferences and conference calls: If you are new to working from home, understand how video calling software works. Participating actively in video conferences and conference calls, including optional meetings, is important to make your presence felt.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eat healthy, stay hydrated and get adequate sleep. Exercise at home whenever you can. Stop office work at a reasonable time. Do everything you can to stay physically and mentally healthy as you work from home.
Working remotely can help you stay secure in these challenging times. Online conferencing and video and audio transcription services are available to help businesses in their task of managing their expanding remote work force.