Today our news is dominated by the Coronavirus. Like so many of you, we have spent recent days and weeks learning about the virus (COVID-19) and how it’s impacting our world. For businesses, this means understanding how it affects our employees, customers, and communities. And then making the necessary adjustments to our work and operations.
For many, these adjustments have included temporarily closing doors or having employees work remotely. As of the writing of this blog, restaurants have gone to take out only, most major retailers have shut down their storefronts, schools are closed, and social distancing is the new way of life.
As we all try to find our new “normal”, and many are new to the idea of telecommuting, we have some suggestions to help make the transition easier and you most productive:
First things first, make sure you have a good Internet connection. You can’t do much without the ability to get online. If you struggle with a strong signal at home, work as close as possible to your router in order to get the best signal. You can also splurge on a “mesh” system which will help evenly distribute your WiFi signal and make it stronger in your home.
If you have a poor Internet connection and don’t want to spend extra money, there’s always the Hotspot option. Most wireless companies make it possible for you to connect your computer to your phone for Internet, by going into Settings on your device. Keep in mind, this is typically only available for a fixed period of time.
When working from home, you need a dedicated, private space, no matter how small. It should be quiet and limit distractions. Also, be sure to consider whether the chair you are using is comfortable enough to sit in for several hours at a time. And don’t worry if you don’t own all the standard office products you may typically have handy at your desk. Know that this is temporary; simply make the best of what you already have.
Do whatever possible to let in natural lighting in your newly developed workspace. Give yourself a clean area and try to keep it as organized and calming as possible. Light a candle, open the windows and get up from your chair once every hour.
And while you’re up and about, take a drink of water. It’s easy to forget to take important breaks, stay hydrated, and even eat when no one is knocking on your office door reminding you that you haven’t moved in hours.
Distractions happen. Especially when you’re not in your usual environment. Creating a daily to-do list can give you a roadmap to help you stay on task and be productive. Make sure to only include items which you have the time and resources to complete that day. This should be a very actionable list.
Also consider what time of the day you are most productive and work on your major tasks during that timeframe. Set yourself up for success. If you know you might get distracted, consider putting on noise-canceling headphones so you can drown out the noise around you.
If phone notifications are distracting to you, go on airplane mode for small amounts of time to ensure you stay focused and complete important tasks.
You don’t have to skip meetings now that you’re working from home. You simply need to employ the right technology and stay connected.
Thanks to a multitude of free meeting programs, virtually meeting has never been easier. To connect multiple people at one time, Zoom has become a popular choice for companies and is free for individuals.
For easy one-on-one conversations, there are also scores of free programs – like Apple’s FaceTime, Skype, Facebook’s Messenger, and Google Hangouts.
A pro-tip for those of you setting up a video meeting: find a place with a non-distracting background and good lighting. That could be as simple as not sitting with a window behind you as the brightness will cause the camera you’re using to over-expose for the window. Instead, turn around and be lit by the window.
As for instant messaging options, you can use WhatsApp, Apple iMessage, or Facebook’s Messenger. If you’re looking for dedicated networks more designed for business, Microsoft and Slack offer free programs as well.
Hackers will never let a crisis hamper their efforts. It’s especially important to remain vigilant and be on your toes at home, as you would in the office. Remember, think before you click.
There are 7 tips which cybersecurity experts agree you need to address no matter from where you’re working.
Let the dishes sit. Let the laundry pile. Do not let yourself become distracted with all of your household To Do’s. There will always be something that needs your attention. The dishes, the laundry, the dog, and now the kids. Remember, it will all still be there, later.
For many, this new season of telecommuting also includes having children home from school. Remember to be flexible with others, and with yourself. We’re all in this together.
When possible, save all of your solo work (that doesn’t involve others) for after business hours. Think about your increased productivity too, with no phones or email.
Do your best to focus on focusing. And then exhale. This too shall pass.
We, along with our fellow business partners, are closely following the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) – guidelines and recommendations on the steps we can take to help prevent the spread of the virus. On behalf of our entire team, we encourage you to take care of yourself, your family, & your community.
Jeana has been in the software industry for 13+ years specializing in ERP reporting solutions. She has decades of experience in creative content development and marketing and enjoys exercising, traveling & spending time with her husband & twin boys.
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