Many businesses have asked staff to start working from home during the coronavirus outbreak. But, where to begin? What specific items need to be on your checklist?
Here are some ideas from Realize Information Technology, followed by links to in-depth articles on the web.
- Discuss a game plan. You don’t need to bring every detail. Allowing employees room to contribute increases their sense of being stakeholders. Also, they will usually think of things that did not occur to you!
- Set boundaries and allot time. People working from home for the first time need to avoid distractions. They also may struggle to keep their spirits up with reduced social interaction.
- Build lines of communication. Telephone numbers and email addresses are crucial. Make sure your master list is updated.
- Be optimistic. People overseas have already gone through this process, and reports indicate it typically took about two weeks for one healthy person—without underlying health issues—to recover. Note, at least one federal statement suggests the community-wide recovery could take longer.
- Be flexible. If one coping method does not work, just move on to something else. Don’t dwell on each frustration. Look for everything that succeeds, regardless of how small.
- Maintain customer focus. It’s normal to worry about your own situation. But please remember, your customers are just as much your focus as when you are at your normal place of business.
- Move around. Stand up, walk around, and stretch. This is even more important when you are temporarily in an unfamiliar and unexpected work pattern.
- Pandemic etiquette. There will probably be a need to physically drop things off or pick them up. Distribute etiquette tips to your staff that allow people to be friendly without touching or standing too close. Please don’t be offended if someone disinfects an envelope/package that you handled. Try using your sense of humor more often and your judgmental side less often.
- Wave hello and cheer others. In Italy, citizens whose apartments have balconies call out to neighbors to ask how they are doing. If you don’t have neighbors within waving distance, try getting on the internet to have online chats with old friends. Call people on the phone, and ask if they have a moment to chat. (Avoid negative topics.)
- Rest and replenish. Give yourself breaks, and maintain good sleep habits. Work the same number of hours as is normal for you. Don’t exhaust yourself.
- Wake up and repeat the cycle. As you prepare for the day, try to think of ways to tweak your at-home efforts. Don’t hesitate to tell yourself “You can do it!”, especially if you live alone.
- Ask us! Realize can advise your business on technical aspects of setting up employees to work remotely.
PC Mag: Working from Home (highlights)
1. Get Dressed
It might seem like a simple tip, but it’s a crucial one. Before coming to work for The Muse, I spent about eight months working from home when my full-time office job became a remote position with little warning. It was tempting to stay in my pajamas all day, but any day I gave into temptation was much slower to start and less productive overall.
2. Designate a Workspace or Home Office
One of the big challenges when it comes to working remotely is keeping your work and home lives separate. “For some people it becomes very blurry,” says Muse career coach Lynn Berger, who specializes in helping people navigate career transitions. If you never fully disconnect from work, your work productivity will suffer and your home life can take a hit as well.
3. Keep Clearly Defined Working Hours
Just as you designate and separate your physical workspace, you should be clear about when you’re working and when you’re not. You’ll get your best work done and be most ready to transition back to the office if you stick with your regular hours. Plus, if your role is collaborative, being on the same schedule as your coworkers makes everything much easier.
4. Build Transitions Into (and Out of) Work
Your morning commute not only gets you to work—from one physical location to another—but it also gives your brain time to prepare for work. Just because you’re not traveling doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carve out equivalent routines to help you ease into your workday.
5. Don’t Get Too Sucked in by the News—or Anything Else
Distraction is one of the big challenges facing people who work from home—especially people who aren’t used to it. “Your home is right in front of you,” Berger says. That means that whatever you’re usually thinking about getting home to after work is now with you. It’s human to get distracted. But you need to be wary of how much you let yourself get distracted.
—Regina Borsellino at PC Mag 20 tips working from home
Working From Home (Practical Guide For Teams)
Coronavirus work-from-home guide
MegaMeeting guide to working from home
Flexjobs article by Rachel Pelta
Flexjobs working from home during outbreak
Ten Things You Can Do To Survive with Your Conscience Still Intact
An uplifting and useful article by “Macaroni Kid”
HR Compliance (Zywave PDF)
Compliance Considerations for Employers.pdf
Feature photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash