Being in the consulting world we have learned how to work almost anywhere, at a client site, in a delivery center, on a plane, or really anywhere there is power and internet connection. As for many folks now needing to work from home and this quickly becoming the new normal. I wanted to share what I found successful for working from home.
Create a distraction free environment – Working from home can be one of the harder environments to work from because of all the distractions of home life. Setup a home office with a dedicated space that is set apart from the other areas of your house like family room where your entertainment systems are and other spaces that might have distractions. Another important area to avoid is where you sleep, you need to be able to disconnect from work at night and give yourself the time to recharge.
Maintain Regular Hours – Maintaining regular is very important and can help separate home life from work life. For me I start my day at 8:30 AM and when I step into my office I feel like I am at work and focus on work related items.
Have a plan – The first activity I do in the morning is write down what I want to accomplish for the day and keep that list visible through the day. When I complete an activity I cross that off the list. This helps keep me focused and feels good to knock things off the list.
House Rules – Setup some ground rules with the people that you live with and have a way to signal with them things like when your on a call and times you shouldn’t be disturbed. Can even setup a busy light so that when it is on the people around you have a visual indication that you shouldn’t be disturbed.
Turn on video – Metaphorically and literally we need to be seen. There are great technologies for team collaboration and ways to have real time meetings with video. When your on these calls turn your video on. You will find that you will be more present in the meeting and gives other the ability to connect with you at a much better level than just hearing your voice. There is a lot of psychology in this and not going to dive into this but this is something very important for everyone to start doing.
Overcommunicate – This might be one of the most important things you can do. People have a tendency to wonder what your doing if your not communicating with them. You may be a hard worker, working tons of hours, and providing great value to your organization however unless your communicating these things they can easily overlooked. Also follow the principle that verbal communication is like vapor, it is great to have that verbal discussion but follow that up with something that is more concrete like sending out meeting notes and or a recap on action items you have. I find this especially useful as it keeps everyone on the same page and priorities aligned.
Socialize with coworkers – One of the first things that gets lost as people are working from home is that side conversation or someone overhearing someones trying to get help from someone when they might have a great solution for. Setup a structure that helps bridge this gap, I use MS Teams for this and has been very valuable tool. Even have setup some dedicated talking sessions daily in an open forum for anyone to talk about any subject.
Manage workload – There are going to be times that you have more things to do than time and vice versa. Don’t assume the person asking you for things knows if you start working on that next critical task they just dropped on your plate that the other priority items will extend out. They likely think that you are going to do that in addition to everything else you are working on. In addition if your work load starts decreasing ask for more, personally I find it impressive when resources knock task out and are eager to take more things on.
Spend some time outside – Don’t forget to get some outside time. Without the need to get out and drive to work and back you might start to get a little fatigued. Take a break from time to time and sit on your patio or just take a quick walk outside.
This is our time to really shine and show everyone that the work from home model can work. Use these guides and find what works for you and really show your clients and your organization they are getting even more value out of you while your working from home.
I may refine this article as we are in the #newnormal and we find better techniques and would like to know what things have helped you…. follow me at https://twitter.com/jmgress