Best Practices for Working From Home
Thousands of in-office workers have been experiencing their foray into the world of at-home work, as large and small businesses try to manage the threat of COVID-19 by asking their employees to work remotely. This has been a new experience for many people in Africa. Perhaps in the U.S and other European countries, it has not been very new. Employees used to have options depending on the type of job or business. This new work norm has been both rewarding and challenging for most people. In order to achieve your work targets one has to;
Stick to a schedule
One of the most wonderful things about working from home is that you get to enjoy the comfort of your home all day. It’s also one of the most dangerous things about working from home.
Consider beginning and ending work at the same time each day – the way you would if you were at the office. This will help you separate professional time and personal time – and make it easier to detach both emotionally and physically at the end of the day. You can even log your day and daily tasks if that helps you. During the day, give yourself some physical distance from your workspace by taking a lunch break – even if that means you’re sitting at your kitchen table or listening to a podcast for 30 minutes. I find this makes me feel more refreshed and ready to dive back in when I return to my desk.
Give yourself space
Don’t let your dining room table become the source for stacked papers, folders – or God forbid, a printer. A dedicated workspace (ideally one you where you can close the door) is a solid way to keep work and life separate – and ensure you’re not constantly reminded of your deadlines while sitting down for dinner. At the end of the day, close the door (if you can), walk away, and try not to return to your workspace until the following morning.
Look the part
When you work from home, appearing professional can be just as important as when you work in a traditional office. (Also, it’s 2020, and there’s simply no excuse for a poorly lit video conference with bad audio.)
When it comes to working from home, I often encourage people to “build” and not “set” boundaries – because it’s truly a process. If an emergency arises, you can, of course, make an exception, but try to limit your work to business hours only, even if that means having a template reply on-hand. One of my personal favorites: “I will be happy to look at this tomorrow with a fresh set of eyes!” Building boundaries can be even more important when you work from home, and your environment can often always “feel” like work.