If there’s one thing the world learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that a lot can be done remotely by employees working from home.
While packing up the office and heading home to work may seem like a dream come true, it can be an enormous change for many people – and can cause a lot of stress and challenges.
To best prepare yourself for this situation, here are tips for an effective transition to working from home:
8 Ways to Smoothly Transition Into Working From Home
1. Set Up a Home Office
Our brains do an amazing job at creating subconscious associations. For instance, when you crawl into bed your brain automatically prepares for sleep.
The same goes with your office – not that you want to go to sleep when you walk in but being there puts your brain into work mode.
You want to create that same environment at home as well. Get yourself set up with a home office including a proper chair to sit on and a desk to use as a workspace.
If you don’t have space in your home to dedicate one room to be an office, try to find a corner in a room where you will not be disturbed – preferably one where you can close the door.
2. Stick to Your Schedule
When you work from home, it can be easy to either get lost in your work for hours at a time or succumb to distractions such as phone calls or housework that needs to be done.
To help you transition effectively to work from home, it’s important to stick to your schedule. This means starting at the same time, taking breaks, and calling it quits when it’s the end of your workday.
This will help you maintain a good work-life balance while you are working at home while helping you maintain a steady level of productivity.
3. Employ Time Management Tools
Even if you are adhering to a schedule, you can definitely benefit from using some time management tools to keep you on track.
One popular time management technique is called the Pomodoro Technique, which breaks your productivity time into intervals:
- Set a timer for 25 minutes.
- Work on your task.
- End your work when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
- Take a short break (3-5 minutes) before continuing your work.
- Once you have four checkmarks, take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
- Reset your checkmarks and start over again.
It’s been shown that working in small increments and taking frequent breaks helps to increase focus and productivity – and make work tasks more manageable.
4. Manage Your Distractions
The first two tips sort of lend to this one which is managing your distractions while you are working.
If you can set up your office away from the regular day-to-day traffic of your household, and keep yourself on schedule, you will greatly reduce potential distractions and maintain a healthy focus on your work.
However, distractions can come in many forms and, without supervision by managers and team leads, it can easy to “quickly” check your social media or get pulled into a social phone conversation that takes you away from your work.
Try to manage these distractions by keeping your phone out of reach and letting friends and family know your working hours.
5. Take Advantage of Flexibility
So even though it’s important to maintain focus on your work and stick to a schedule, there’s no reason why you can’t take advantage of the flexibility of working from home.
For example, if your job can accommodate it, you can take your work with you to a cafe, library, or even the beach for a change of scenery.
Likewise, you can set your office up to have a standing desk or curl up on the couch with your computer every once and a while.
Because you don’t have the usual social distractions the workplace provides, it is important to break things up so working from home doesn’t become monotonous.
6. Stay in Touch With Your Team
Losing that social aspect of having co-workers around can make it hard for many people to smoothly transition to working from home.
Try to keep in touch with your co-workers either through text chat or video calls. If your managers don’t already, suggest having weekly meetings so everyone can get caught up and touch base regularly.
While you are working you can always keep a radio playing in the background to give you a sense of having others around – it may help you feel less lonely while you work from home.
7. Get Outside
Maybe you weren’t one for taking short walks on your lunch breaks at work but at least going to work put you into a different environment from home.
When you work from home, you are home all day. Spending all of your time in one place can significantly impact your mental health.
Make sure you are leaving your home at least once a day. This could be to run errands, go for a drive, or a short walk around your neighborhood.
8. Protect Your Work Equipment
Whether you are using company equipment or have purchased your own, you want to make sure it is protected in case of fire, disaster, or theft.
It’s possible that your home insurance policy may cover equipment up to a certain dollar amount so it’s important to check with your broker to see what the limit is – or if your home insurance will even cover anything business-related.
If not, you should consider getting business coverage to protect your equipment. From computers to desks to chairs, the cost of working from home can add up and you don’t want to be stuck replacing the items you purchased.
Speak to an insurance broker to learn more about your coverage options when it comes to protecting your business property when working from home.