Our colleague Sylvia Lubak is an expert when it comes to working from home as she’s been working remotely from Poland for quite some time. She decided to share with us 8 tips that help her make the most out of her home office.
First and foremost, make sure to have a strong and stable internet connection. Pick a spot in your house that provides you with peace and quiet, but is also not far away from the router.
Moreover, it is a great advantage if your company already uses cloud-based tools such as Zoom, Slack, Google Drive, and others. If not there are some free programs that can help you with storage, such as Google Drive, where your colleagues can have easy access.
Tools for internal communication are equally important. Some HR software already have built-in solutions for video interviews or quick chat messages. If not, you can use Slack, a free tool for chatting that also supports GIF format and allows you to upload documents and images. For video calls, there are plenty of great tools like Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom.
Make sure you have the support of a great IT team. Maybe you have inhouse experts or maybe your IT team is outsourced, but it’s important to stay in touch with them. They will probably suggest you download Team Viewer or similar options for remote access to a computer.
Prepare your workspace
Sylvia emphasizes the importance of a proper workstation. She likes it tidy with chargers, pens and other essentials always in the drawers. She likes to prepare her desk and tools every evening so that she can start her day smoothly. The important thing is to create your own working space the way it works for you. Decorate it with plants or hang motivational stickers on the wall. Separate the zones in your house that are for work and those that are for relaxing such as your couch or bed.
Dress for success
Dress as you would in the office. Sylvia mentions that this is very important to her. It is not so much about the actual outfit you wear but about the mindset. Dressing professional can help you bring your mind into a work mode. Usually, you have your morning routine and time commuting to work that will help you transit from a relaxed house atmosphere into a work environment. It’s a natural process. Working from home means you need to create conditions that will make this transition for you.
Sylvia finds it crucial to create a schedule that works for you. Plan your tasks, set daily and weekly goals and try to stick to them. But Sylvia also adds that you should remain flexible and available for ad hoc calls with your clients, candidates or other stakeholders. Working from home can be more flexible than the strict office hours, which means your schedule can follow your natural productivity rhythm more accurately. Keep in mind you still need to take other people’s schedule into consideration.
Motivation comes easier when you are in an environment that encourages it. But working from home can have plenty of distractions and although you do have external motivators such as deadlines, you must rely more heavily on your intrinsic motivation. Think what you love about your job. What drives you? Visualise the end result of each task or a project. In the end of a day you are the owner of your own day; your work is in your own hands. You have a chance to prove that you are mature, keen and able to work independently.
Video call = face to face
Don’t think that if people can see only your upper half that means you should be half prepared. Prepare for video calls as you would for face to face meetings. Remain professional and remove distractions. Keep your mobile phone on silent and restrain yourself from glancing at it when the meeting starts being boring. Make a small break before starting to speak each time. This way you are sure that the other person is done and if there are any delays due to network issues you will not overlap. If there are more people in the video call you might want to mute your sound if you are not talking. This way you can ensure that unwanted sounds from your background will not reach people on the other side of the call and that audio is clearer for the speaker.
Stay in touch with your boss and colleagues. Sylvia advises remaining engaged in order to feel like part of the team. Working in a close physical proximity with your colleagues spontaneously increases the communication and makes people bond, but when working remotely you might need to push it. Why not send your colleagues that funny meme? Or just give them a call and ask them how they are doing.
Take a break
When you feel your energy is dropping take a break; go for a walk or listen to your favourite song and dance. Then return to your schedule and follow your plan for the day. Breaks in the office come more spontaneously than you would think. Making a coffee, chatting with a colleague, or going outside for a smoke/fresh air are all small breaks that help your mind resting. It’s important to keep that in your home office as well. Do some light exercises or just change the environment for a bit. It will help you deal with mental fatigue and make you more focused.
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