Due to lockdown orders and social distancing efforts, many of us have had to start working from home in the past few weeks. For those who are used to an office environment and haven’t had to work remotely before, it can be a bit intimidating to make the switch to working remotely. How do you know what equipment you’ll need? If you live with others, how will you stay focused and not let your normal home life distract from your work?
While many of the specifics depend on your particular job, we wanted to offer some general tips that can help everyone get started with a productive and enjoyable at-home work environment. Check them out in the infographic below, or keep scrolling to read the tips in article form. We’re all in this together!
The first step is to set up your at-home workspace. This doesn’t mean you need to clear out an entire room to set up a new home office. All you really need is a distraction-free area that’s dedicated to work—try not to work in the same space that you use for recreation. Below are some tips for setting up your at-home workspace.
- Dedicate Some Space—Create a dedicated work space and keep it clean and free from distraction.
- Get Comfy—Set up an area that is comfortable, but not so comfy that you forget you need to work!
- Set the Tone—Depending on the type of work, set up a work/study music playlist that can play in the background.
- (Attempt to) Wrangle the Pets—Keep cats off your laptop if possible. If not possible, learn to type around them! (It’s an acquired skill.)
Once you’ve found a good workspace, the next step is to make sure you have everything you need to get your work done. This includes having a good internet connection, the right software, and plenty of drinks and snacks! Below are a few of the most important things to consider when gearing up to work from home.
- Check Your Internet Speed—It’s time to ditch the dial-up modem and throw it away along with those old shorts from junior high.
- Enter the Chat—Find a good team messaging app that can accommodate work discussion as well as leisurely chat among co-workers. Try not to spam too many emojis!
- Meet Virtually—Find a good video conference app to fill in for in-person work meetings. Just make sure your webcam doesn’t puck up anything embarrassing!
- Sustain Yourself—Be sure to have lots of snacks on hand, and stay hydrated (preferably with a drink that has a lid).
Find a Routine
As with most things in life, working from home will feel much more natural once you’ve established a routine. This of course doesn’t mean just blocking out 8 hours a day for nothing but work. Below are some things that you should include in your work routine to improve your mood and productivity.
- Move Your Body—Alternate between sitting and standing, and be sure to move around regularly to increase bloodflow.
- Get Some Air—Go outside for some fresh air and sun throughout the day. Think of it like a smoke break without the smoke.
- Take a Break—Be sure to take scheduled breaks in their entirety, and try your best not to think about work while on break!
- Communicate—Share your routine with other members of your household so they know when to leave you alone.
Working remotely means sending and receiving a lot of data between your computer and the internet. Without the usual IT infrastructure of your office to help protect your data, good personal cybersecurity practices become more important than ever before. Below are a few tips to get you started on the road to a more secure at-home workspace.
- Up Your Password Game—Make sure your passwords are both strong and unique. Use a password manager (such as LastPass) to help your brain out.
- Add Another Layer—When possible, use 2-factor authentication to add an extra layer of protection to your online accounts.
- Stay Updated—Now would be a good time to finally invest in good antivirus software and make sure your operating system and apps are all on the latest version.
- Know Who to Call—Cybersecurity can be tricky even for the most knowledgeable of us. It’s always a good idea to have an IT company you can call to help you out if you’re ever in doubt!